This is a story about a pair of unlikely partners.
One, Dalia Mogahed, is a Muslim policy analyst who advised President Barack Obama in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The other, Judy Carter, is a Jewish comic and author who teaches people to make use of humor in public speaking.
Their introduction might sound like the setup to a corny joke.
JUDY CARTER: Dalia and I meet in the weirdest place for a Jew and a Muslim to meet or even be – Omaha, Nebraska. We’re both speaking at this conference. I’m speaking on how to use humor to decrease stress and just being funny. And Dalia’s doing a presentation on the Arab Uprising. And when I see her at the cocktail party, I’m so excited to talk to her, because she’s the most interesting person in the room, she’s the only one wearing a Muslim head covering.
DALIA MOGAHED: Within the first 30 seconds of meeting me, she said, “You know, I’m really excited to hear you speak because I’ve never heard a Muslim woman speak before. I guess I just associate you guys with being submissive and silent.”
CARTER: I take my foot out of my mouth and I tell her that I’m so excited to hear her presentation, because I want to hear her story. But that’s not what happened, because her presentation was all these Powerpoint graphs and all these numbers and charts. So I go back to California and I get a call from Dalia who is in Cairo and she tells me that she was unhappy with her speech and she wants my help.
We’re going to stop there. This is a story best heard, not read. So if your interest is piqued, click on the audio player above to listen to the story. (If you can’t listen, you can also click the “Transcript” link on the lower-right-hand side of the player to read the exchange.)
After you listen to the story, you might be curious to see Carter and Mogahed in action. Take a look: