Wordfest Presents Ali Velshi

Wordfest Presents Ali Velshi

Wordfest Presents Ali Velshi

Hosted by Zain Velji

Jun 03 @ 7 PM - 8:15 PM MT $30
The Grand
608 1 St SW
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What could be more timely than an in-depth conversation about democracy with Ali Velshi, MSNBC's Chief Correspondent, and Calgary political strategist (and exemplary host) Zain Velji? We're thrilled to be presenting one of the world's leading broadcast journalists, as he celebrates the launch of his newest (and most personal) book, Small Acts of Courage: A Legacy of Endurance and the Fight for Democracy. The 7PM MT show includes the opportunity to meet Velshi and get your book signed. Limited copies of his previous books will also be available for purchase before and after the show, with proceeds going toward Wordfest's Youth Program. This event is assigned seating, so you can relax and focus on getting a libation and a book.

Thank you to Raincoast Books for bringing this important voice to Calgary. (Special bonus: More than 300 Calgary high-school students will be spending the morning with Ali Velshi as part of Wordfest Youth, which fuels teen literacy and is supported by donors like you. Learn more here.)

About Small Acts of Courage: A Legacy of Endurance and the Fight for Democracy 

A captivating family history that illustrates how small actions can have an outsized political impact.

Small acts of courage matter. Sometimes, they change the world. Our history books are filled with the stories of those who fought for democracy and freedom – for idealism itself – against all odds, from Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. These iconic struggles for social change illustrate the importance of engagement and activism and offer a template for the battles we are fighting today. This difficult decision would change the trajectory of his family history forever. From childhood, Velshi’s grandfather was imbued with an ethos of public service and social justice, and a belief in absolute equality among all people – ideals that his children carried forward as they escaped apartheid, emigrating to Kenya and ultimately Canada and the United States.

In Small Acts of Courage, Velshi taps into 125 years of family history to advocate for social justice as a living, breathing experience – a way of life more than an ideology. With rich detail and vivid prose, he relates the stories of regular people who made a lasting commitment to fight for change, even when success seemed impossible. This heartfelt exploration of how we can breathe new life into the principles of pluralistic democracy is an urgent call to action – for progress to be possible, we must all do whatever we can to make a difference.

About Ali Velshi

Ali Velshi is an award-winning journalist, host of Velshi, Chief Correspondent for MSNBC, and a weekly economics contributor to NPR’s Here and Now. He has covered multiple U.S. Midterm and Presidential elections and significant news stories around the globe, including extensive reporting from Ukraine and across Central and Eastern Europe during the Russian invasion, the Syrian refugee crisis from Turkey and Jordan, the Iran Nuclear Deal in Tehran, the Greek debt crisis in Athens, and the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. He hosts the Velshi Banned Book Club on MSNBC, and the Velshi Banned Book Club podcast. Velshi is known for his immersive on-the-ground reporting and his interactive discussions with small groups, which form part of his ongoing series, Velshi Across America. He previously worked as an anchor and correspondent for Al Jazeera America and CNN.

Born in Nairobi and raised in Toronto, Velshi holds a degree in Religion and an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Queen's University. He serves on the boards of the National Constitution Center, the Chicago History Museum, the X-Prize Foundation, and the Philadelphia Citizen. Velshi is the author of Gimme My Money Back and The Trump Indictments, co-author of How to Speak Money and the upcoming Open Space (2025). Velshi has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards and is the recipient of two National Headliner Awards and a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award.

About Host Zain Velji

Zain Velji is Partner and VP Strategy for Northweather, a digital-first marketing agency that works with companies, non-profits, and political campaigns. He is also the host of the award-winning podcast The Strategists, where he dissects political strategy and public affairs issues of the day. A frequent public speaker and regular political commentator, Velji appears frequently on CBC Radio and Television, CTV, and Bell Media. In addition, he chairs the board of the YMCA Calgary and serves on the boards of the Canadian Children Book Centre, The Samara Centre for Democracy, and Pillar 9. Velji was named one of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 under 40, was awarded the Horizon Alumni Award by the University of Alberta and was a recipient of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal for his community service. He lives in Calgary with his family.

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