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Irshad Manji

Educator, Reformer & Founder, Moral Courage Project

Irshad Manji is the Founder and Director of the Moral Courage Project, which equips students to make values-based decisions. She has turned her journey as a religious reformer into teachings about professional leadership, informed by cutting-edge research from across the disciplines.

New York City, New York, USA

Presentations

The Power of Asking Questions – Out Loud
Irshad has transformed her personal journey into a riveting story that teaches all of us how to develop moral courage and confront the challenges we face – whether as students, professionals, parents, or citizens. Irshad Manji’s message is your wake-up call.

Shut up and be Diverse! (Not)
Diversity is a many-splendored thing. It can be the source of conviction or confusion. It can incite bigotry or inspire opportunity. By sharing examples from her own life and that of renowned historical figures, Irshad Manji shows us the key to embracing diversity.

The Future of Islam
Irshad offers key insights about a new generation of Muslims –  illuminating their challenges and opportunities. She also empowers non-Muslims to support reform in ways that bring out the better angels in all of us.

Confessions of a Muslim Reformer: Why I Fight for Women, Jews, Gays…and God
Irshad addresses the ideas in her internationally acclaimed film Faith Without Fear. With candour and humour, Irshad unearths the troubling cornerstones of mainstream Islam today.

Women as the Key to Reforming the Muslim World
In this inspiring presentation, Irshad illuminates the root problems and offers concrete solutions based on Islam itself. Starting with her personal journey and ending on recommendations for action, Irshad urges all of us — Muslim and non-Muslim — to become leaders in the struggle for universal human rights. Better yet, she shows us how.

Awards

2012
Association of Women Entrepreneurs | AWE Award for Independent Thinking
New York Society for Ethical Culture | Ethical Humanist Award

2010
Women’s International Film & Television Showcase | Visionary Award

2009
National Organization for Women | Susan B. Anthony Award

2006
World Economic Forum | Young Global Leader


  • Fantastic, sincere, memorable, humbling are some of the words to describe how I personally reacted. I think it was the reaction of many as well. I think it is fair to say that she touched everyone in the room with her story and presentation. She facilitated an excellent Q and A after her formal remarks. Exceeded expectations were comments I heard from others who helped to organize the session.

    - Canada School of Public Service
  • Our audiences demand a lot – courage, passion, integrity, intelligence, curiosity, humor, empathy, candor and celebrity. Irshad over-delivered on all scores. She proves you can have a mind, a spine, and tons of fun.

    - SMART TALK Women’s Lecture Series
  • During a Chicago blizzard, Irshad Manji managed to pack the auditorium. The campus is still buzzing about her visit. This is the university experience at its best.

    - Office of GLBT Concerns, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • She was riveting. Her personality and humor engaged the students immediately and left them with a desire to learn more.

    - Trinity High School, New York

Summary Profile

Irshad is a highly vocal advocate for a revival of critical thinking. Manji challenges traditional religious beliefs and refuses to back down under intense pressure. Her campaign for Islamic reform liberates women, respects minorities, promotes honest debate, and drives fundamentalists crazy. She insists on telling her personal story with passion and humor. Her inspiring message: any of us can change the world by daring to ask questions – out loud.

The New York Times calls Irshad Manji “Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare.” Oprah Winfrey has given her the first annual Chutzpah Award for “audacity, nerve, boldness and conviction” She takes both as a compliment.

Irshad Manji is a highly vocal advocate for a revival of critical thinking. Known as ijtihad in Islamic tradition, Manji challenges traditional religious beliefs and refuses to back down under intense pressure. Her campaign for Islamic reform liberates women, respects minorities, promotes honest debate, and drives fundamentalists crazy. She insists on telling her personal story with passion and humor. Her inspiring message: any of us can change the world by daring to ask questions – out loud.

Currently spearheading the Moral Courage Project at NYU, Manji is considered one of the world’s most provocative thinkers, with top-notch credentials, as well as an unwavering commitment to her audiences. Manji’s words transform underground hunger for change into above-the-ground phenomenon’s.

She brings an electric passion to all her presentations as she encourages audiences to get engaged in new ideas, critically review their belief systems and have the moral courage to stand up for those within and outside your defined community. She shares that freedom of thought and expression while being open to a challenge to your views makes for healthy communication and evolution. You can be thoughtful and faithful at the same time.

Direct in her approach and unafraid to ask questions, Manji delivers knock-out presentations that encourage lively and honest debate, and create conversations where none existed before.