Ayaan Hirsi Ali Keynote Speaker

  • Research fellow at the Hoover Institution
  • Former member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006
  • Founder of the AHA Foundation to protect and defend the rights of women in the US from harmful traditional practices

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Biography

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and founder of the AHA Foundation. She served as a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006.

She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1969. As a young child, she was subjected to female genital mutilation. As she grew up, she embraced Islam and strove to live as a devout Muslim. But she began to question aspects of her faith. One day, while listening to a sermon on the many way’s women should be obedient to their husbands, she couldn’t resist asking, “Must our husbands obey us too?”

In 1992, Ayaan fled to the Netherlands to escape a forced marriage. There she was given asylum, and in time citizenship. She quickly learned Dutch and was able to study at the University of Leiden, earning her M.A. in political science. Working as a translator for Somali immigrants, she saw first-hand the inconsistencies between liberal, Western society and tribal, Muslim cultures.

From 2003 to 2006, Ayaan served as an elected member of the Dutch Parliament. While in Parliament, she focused on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of Muslim women.

In 2004, Ayaan gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin, a radical Muslim, left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh’s chest.

In 2006, Ayaan had to resign from parliament when the then Dutch minister for Immigration decided to revoke her citizenship, arguing that Ayaan had misled the authorities at the time of her asylum application. However, the Dutch courts confirmed that Ayaan was indeed a legitimate Dutch citizen, leading to the fall of the government. Disillusioned with the Netherlands, she subsequently moved to the United States.

In 2007, Ayaan founded the AHA Foundation to protect and defend the rights of women in the US from harmful traditional practices. Today, the Foundation is the leading organization working to end honor violence that shames, hurts, or kills thousands of women and girls in the U.S. each year, and puts millions more at risk.

Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, she was a Fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at The Harvard Kennedy School, and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2005, one of the Glamour Heroes of 2005 and Reader’s Digest‘s European of the Year for 2005. She is the best-selling author of Infidel (2007) and Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (2015). In 2017, Hoover Press published her booklet The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It. Her most recent book Prey was published by Harper Collins in 2020.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Speaking Topics

  • Infidel:

Leaving Islam and charting my own course.

  • The Opportunity and Consequence of Human Rights:

A reminder of what really matters.

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Videos of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The West Is Running Out of Time. Here's What Needs to Happen Now | Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The West Is Running Out of Time. Here's What Needs to Happen Now | Ayaan Hirsi Ali
PANEL DISCUSSION | Jordan Peterson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, John Anderson, Os Guinness
PANEL DISCUSSION | Jordan Peterson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, John Anderson, Os Guinness
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali sits down with Andrew Bolt to discuss the Israel-Hamas war
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali sits down with Andrew Bolt to discuss the Israel-Hamas war
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: We are going through a moment of crisis
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: We are going through a moment of crisis
Hamas is just like ISIS, and they're using Palestinians as cannon fodder: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Hamas is just like ISIS, and they're using Palestinians as cannon fodder: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Articles, Media & Podcasts

Books by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Prey
Prey: Immigration, Israel and the Erosion of Women's Rights
The Challenge of Dawa
The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It
Heretic
Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now
Nomad
Infidel: From Islam to America

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