TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2016
Presented by: Dr. Omar Ali

Dr. Omar Ali will share about the power of play as critical to our personal development and growth; it is also a way of connecting to other people. As fundraisers, we build and deepen relationships with diverse constituents and donors. Learning to become better improvisers helps us be even better at connecting with others. There is enormous power in “Yes, and …” — that is, the theater technique of affirming or acknowledging what others say and do and creatively building on these. If all the world is a stage, as Shakespeare wrote, then we will all do well to learn how to perform (a kind of code switching) instead of acting solely on our emotional responses to people and situations.

Dr. Omar AliOmar H. Ali is Interim Dean of Lloyd International Honors College at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and The Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year. He is a historian and ethnographer of the African Diaspora who explores the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds from the early modern period to the present. The author of four books, his latest is Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery Across the Indian Ocean, published by Oxford University Press, he serves on the advisory board of the Journal of Global Slavery, published by Brill. Ali is of East Indian and Peruvian background. He studied political economy and cultural anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the School of Oriental and African Studies before graduating from the London School of Economics and Political Science and receiving his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University under the direction of Eric Foner. Ali has been a Fulbright professor of history and anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, a visiting professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, and a Library Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. With colleagues at UNCG he founded the Islamic Studies Research Network, an educational research network to promote awareness and understanding of Islamic history and culture; additionally, he co-directs a community-based educational initiative for people of all ages in the Warnersville area of Greensboro, N.C.–Community Play!/All Stars–a series of free cultural events, classes, and workshops that promote learning and development through performance and play. He serves on the Board of Directors of the All Stars Project, a constellation of developmental youth programs involving over 10,000 young people from poor and working-class neighborhoods across the nation, and IndependentVoting.org, a national strategy and leadership training center for non-partisan electoral reform. Ali has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, PBS, Al Jazeera, Black Network Television, and Huffpost Live. His most recent TEDx talk is entitled “Race: A Function of Power.”