About the Plenary

Prof. Irshad Manji

Irshad Manji is the winner of Oprah's first-ever "Chutzpah Award" for boldness. A Muslim who openly stands for the dignity of women and minorities, she has founded the award-winning Moral Courage Project, based at the University of Southern California.

"Moral Courage" means doing the right thing in the face of your fears. It's a skill that empowers individuals to cooperate across differences - difference not only of race, culture and gender identity but also of ideology, viewpoint and values.

Prof. Manji's forthcoming book, "Don't Label Me," calls for moving beyond the labels that distort and diminish human beings. She shows how each of us can develop our moral courage muscle to outwit our own brain. The brain reacts defensively whenever we're disagreed with, but if we don't learn to transcend that initial, fearful impulse, then what hope is there for healing polarization, fostering trust, and earning the wider support that's needed for sustainable change.

By cultivating a habit of moral courage, Prof. Manji argues that we can replace "dishonest diversity" - labels - with "honest diversity" - relationships that honor the individuality of people and the reality of different perspectives within any group.

Get ready for a provocative take on diversity that will inspire all of us to rethink how we view each other - and ourselves.

Credit: Moral Courage Project