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Ten Ted Talks by Arabs and Arab-Americans to Inform and Inspire

Published: November 11, 2019

Every once in a while, I will run into a Ted Talk on YouTube that will inevitably lead to another and another. A few hours later, I will emerge thoughtful, full of questions, and inspired. My most recent encounter with YouTube led me on a quest to find Ted Talks by Arabs and Arab-Americans. Here are ten Ted Talks that I particularly enjoyed:

“I Love America” - Amer Zahr speaks about growing up Arab in Philadelphia, portrayals of Arabs on the news, and his love for America despite its occasional mistreatment of Arabs.


“3 Lessons on Success from an Arab Businesswoman” - Leila Hoteit speaks about lessons she learned from her experience as an Arab scholar, businesswoman, and mother.


“I Got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One” - Maysoon Zayid speaks about how her family helped her to overcome the challenges of cerebral palsy, her journey to becoming a comedian, and the representation of people with disabilities in entertainment. 


“How I'm using LEGO to teach Arabic” - Ghada Wali speaks about the power of graphic design in political revolution, the decline of Arabic script, and how she sought to change representation of Arabic script in literature through her lego graphic design project.


“The Track of Your Life” - Ibrahim Safwat talks about his journey to finding his passion for running, and how, through his company Cairo Runners, he empowered his fellow Egyptians to achieve more by running.


“Go Against the Flow” - Samar Karama speaks about how she was stereotyped because she wore the hijab, and about the steps she took to empower other women to dress as they pleased.


“What Almost Dying Taught Me About Living” - Writer Suleika Jaouad speaks about her recovery from leukemia, the steps she took to restart her life, and what it really means to be well.


“When It Comes to Laughter, We Are All Alike” - Ahmed Ahmed talks about the difficulties of having his name, meeting Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Robert DeNiro, and how his father inspired him to become a comedian.


“The Muslim on the Airplane” - Amal Kassir talks about the power of asking for a name, what life is like as an Arab-American Muslim, and invites us to bridge fear to satisfy our curiousities.


“Arabic Language: My Home Away from Home” - Dr. Hanada Taha Thomure shares her thoughts on how to make the Arabic language easier for yourself, how Arabic is for the everyday, not just special occasions, and how the language became her home away from home in her time abroad.


We hope that you also enjoy these ten Ted Talks! Thank you for reading, and see you next time!