Dalia Mogahed ’97

Dalia Mogahed '972011 Forward under 40 Award Honoree

UW Major: Chemical Engineering
Age: 35 | Arlington, Virginia
Senior Analyst and Executive Director,
Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; Director, Abu Dhabi Gallup Center

Dalia Mogahed is a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she leads the analysis of an unprecedented survey of Muslims worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe. She is also the Founding Director of the newly established Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. With John L. Esposito, she co-authored the groundbreaking book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.

In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, making her the first Muslim American woman to hold a position of this seniority. In this role, Mogahed joined other American leaders in offering recommendations to the U.S. president on how faith-based organizations can best work with government to solve society’s toughest challenges. Mogahed was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. engagement with Muslim communities, and serves on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council. She also joined Madeleine Albright and Dennis Ross as a leading voice in the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project. This small group of American leaders, which included senior government, military, and business decision makers, produced a consensus report with key policy recommendations on improving America’s relationship with Muslims globally, many of which were later adopted by the Obama Administration.

Mogahed also serves on the boards of Freedom House, Women in International Security, Soliya, and she is a non-resident fellow at Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy at the American University of Beirut. Arabian Business magazine recognized her as the most influential Arab woman in the world, and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre included Mogahed in their list of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world. She was also awarded the Arab World’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award by Ashoka.

In her role as a Gallup scientist, Mogahed is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. Her analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, the Harvard International Review, and many other academic and popular journals. Her audiences have included heads of state, parliamentarians from around the world, and religious leaders from every faith.

In her own words

What was your favorite class?

I majored in chemical engineering with a humanities focus in Arabic. I loved my Arabic classes. But my favorite class was Sketching 101. I found it invigorating to completely switch the side of the brain I use in engineering.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Always know the difference between the mission and the means. This means that the mission is what we attach to and focus on, but the means, the vehicle, will keep changing, and that is okay.

What is your favorite quote?

“Better a little which is well done than a great deal imperfectly.” —Plato

What was your first job?

I worked at TCBY when I was in high school.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Jamoca almond fudge

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