Ayad Akhtar

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, in Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Ayad Akhtar

Richard Haass

Western Muslim Identity

About the Topic

Patron Event

About the Speaker

Dr. Richard Haass is currently serving his twelfth year as president of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2013, he served as chair of the multi-party negotiations in Northern Ireland that provided the foundation for the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. He received the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award for these efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution.

From January 2001 to June 2003, Dr. Haass was director of policy planning for the State Department, where he served as a principal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. He also served as U.S. coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan and as U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process. Dr. Haass received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award for his service.

In addition to other extensive government experience, Dr. Haass has been vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a public policy lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and is a Rhodes Scholar.

Ayad Akhtar is an author, playwright, screenwriter, and actor. His work addresses issues of Muslim identity and assimilation. His stage play, “Disgraced”, first premiered at the American Theater Company in Chicago, and then at Lincoln Center in New York in 2012. “Disgraced” won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and is currently playing at New York’s Lyceum Theater. “Invisible Hand” was staged played at the New York Theatre Workshop from November 2014-January 2015. A third play, "The Who and the What", was performed at the Claire Tow Theater this past summer.

Mr. Akhtar is the author of the novel American Dervis (which has been published in over twenty languages worldwide. He appeared in the 2011 HBO movie Too Big to Fail, based on the best-selling book of the same title. He also starred in and wrote The War Within, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival. The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay and an International Press Academy Satellite Award for Best Drama.

Mr. Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities.