Unity Project to host Salam Al-Marayati, president of Muslim Public Affairs Council, on April 22

Salam Al-Marayati

The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy is welcoming Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, to campus for a midday fireside chat about the challenges facing the Muslim and Arab communities in America and around the globe. Al-Marayati and Samar Ali, Unity Project co-chair, will explore the shared experiences of Muslim and Arab Americans and the ongoing crisis in Gaza in a timely and insightful conversation at noon on Monday, April 22, at the John Seigenthaler Center. This in-person event is limited to Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff members; you must register using your Vanderbilt email address.

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About Salam Al-Marayati

Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is nationally recognized for his commitment to improving public understanding of Islam and policies affecting American Muslims. He is an adjunct faculty member at Bayan Claremont and an expert on Islam in the West, Muslim reform movements, human rights, democracy, national security and Middle East politics. Salam has spoken at the White House and Capitol Hill and represented the U.S. at international human rights and religious freedom conferences. His writings have appeared in every major national news publication (including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times). Salam was co-chair of the Interfaith Coalition to Heal Los Angeles, which formed after the 1992 Los Angeles uprisings.

About Samar Ali

Samar Ali, research professor of political science and of law, focuses her research initiatives on positive compromise by promoting conflict-resolution best practices among people, communities and nations that are experiencing polarization because of the connection between violence and labeling. Ali, a co-chair of the Unity Project, has 14 years of experience in international relations and legal practice.

She began her legal career as a law clerk to the late Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr., JD’60, of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Then, she clerked for Justice Edwin Cameron during his tenure on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. In 2007, she joined Hogan Lovell US in Washington, D.C., helping to establish the firm’s Middle Eastern practice in the United Arab Emirates.

She was named a White House Fellow in President Barack Obama’s administration. During her fellowship, she worked closely with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on counterterrorism measures, gaining experience with bilateral negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government. Later, she joined former President Jimmy Carter as part of an international delegation observing Egypt’s 2012 presidential election.

Specializing in the intersection of national security, economic development and human rights, Ali is a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Winrock International board member and a White House Fellows IMPACT Award recipient. She is an adviser to the Aspen Institute’s initiative, “Who Is Us: A Project on American Identity,” and was recently appointed a New Pluralist Fellow.