Irshad Manji is Founder of the Moral Courage Project.

She is the winner of Oprah's first annual award
for "nerve, conviction and boldness." 
The New York Times describes Prof. Manji as “Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare.” A Muslim who openly stands for the dignity of women and minorities, she has founded the award-winning Moral Courage Project.

The University of Southern California is where Irshad and her team teach “moral courage,” which means doing the right thing in the face of your fears. It’s a leadership practice that applies not just to students, but also to educators, entrepreneurs and executives.

Irshad discovered her mission through a deeply personal journey. In 2004, she wrote The Trouble with Islam Today, an open letter to fellow Muslims about why religious reform is more necessary than ever. It became an international bestseller.

In 2008, Irshad turned the book into an Emmy-nominated PBS film, Faith Without Fear. And in 2011, she published Allah, Liberty & Love, which shows how Islam can be modernized for our time, the most pluralistic era in human history.

Along the way, Irshad drew key lessons in morally courageous leadership. For example, when do you step up for the sake of honesty? When do you step back for the sake of humility? Combining her reflections with cutting-edge research, she realized that moral courage is needed by anyone who seeks to have impact.

Now, Irshad is writing her third book: a provocative new take on diversity that will make us all re-think how we see one another and ourselves.

Irshad’s work earns high distinction in both the business and humanitarian realms. The World Economic Forum has selected her as a Young Global Leader. More recently, she won the Tom Lantos Award for Human Rights and Justice, named after the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

African by birth, Canadian by citizenship, American by immersion and universal by reach, Irshad inspires fresh perspectives on success, leadership, inclusion and integrity.

Irshad speaks about a teachable moment in her life. Click above to watch.