Dalia Mogahed

Mogahed was born in Cairo, Egypt, and was just 4 years old when her family immigrated to the United States. Her upbringing was very traditional, and being a good student was priority number one. Yet, by the time she was 17, in addition to her studies, activism had captured her heart. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, with a minor in Arabic, from the University of Wisconsin. After college, she joined Procter & Gamble as a marketing products researcher and then went on to receive her MBA at the University of Pittsburgh.

Today, Mogahed has married her background in the hard sciences and her skills as a problem solver. She is director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), where she heads the organization’s pioneering studies and thought leadership programs. ISPU envisions an America where Muslims can thrive, and in Mogahed’s work there, she keeps her finger on the pulse of Muslim communities in the public square and across the globe. She is also president and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, an executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in Muslim societies in the Middle East.

In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and she has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding our country’s engagement with Muslim communities. With John L. Esposito, she co-authored the 2008 book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. Based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews representing 1.3 billion Muslims who live in more than 35 predominantly Muslim countries, it is one of the largest, most comprehensive studies of its kind. And in 2016, Mogahed’s TED talk was named one of the top talks that year. It is no wonder she is frequently called on as an expert commentator for media outlets and forums worldwide.

In these polarizing times, Dalia Mogahed remains undeterred. She skewers myths and long-held stereotypes, she counters negative perceptions of her faith, and she asks us to join her in choosing empathy over prejudice.