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Global Reads: What Strange Paradise

December 6, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am EST

Aga Khan Foundation Canada is pleased to invite you to join our monthly book club series: Global Reads.

Join us in December for a lively discussion with award-winning author and journalist Omar El Akkad. We will explore his novel, What Strange Paradise, which delves into the complex topic of forced migration from the points of view of two children.

The discussion will be led by Rema Jamous Imseis, UNHCR Representative to Canada.

In Global Reads, we explore a recent literary work focused on international affairs, policy, or practice—with an emphasis on innovation, new voices, and diverse perspectives. Notable leaders and thinkers from international affairs, global development, and allied sectors facilitate lively and inclusive discussions, providing a structure for collaborative interpretation, learning, and growth.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session as well as connect with other attendees during the session.

Join Global Reads to:

  • Forge new connections with likeminded, globally focused thinkers
  • Encounter inspiring, challenging, and unconventional ideas
  • Gain a fresh perspective on your work
  • Reignite your professional development goals

Additional Information for Attendees

  1. In-person / Virtual Ticket: When you register, please indicate whether you will attend in person at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat (199 Sussex Drive, Ottawa) or online (Zoom) by selecting the relevant ticket option for each session.
  2. Refreshments: In-person attendees are welcome to arrive before 10:00 am ET to network and enjoy light refreshments.

Questions? Please contact [email protected]


Omar El Akkad, Author

Omar El Akkad is an author and journalist. He was born in Egypt, grew up in Qatar, moved to Canada as a teenager and now lives in the United States. The start of his journalism career coincided with the start of the war on terror, and over the following decade, he reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and many other locations around the world. His work earned a National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists. His fiction and non-fiction writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, GQ, and many other newspapers and magazines. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than ten other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 novels that changed our world. His new novel, What Strange Paradise, was released in July 2021 and won the Giller Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. It was also named the best book of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and several other publications.

Rema Jamous Imseis, UNHCR Representative in Canada

Ms. Rema Jamous Imseis is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative to Canada. She formerly served as Deputy Director of the UNHCR Bureau for the Middle East and North Africa, covering operations in North Africa, Yemen, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and Israel. Previously, she served as Head of the United Nations Regional Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Middle East and North Africa. She has been with the United Nations since 2003 and has held a variety of positions in political, legal, and humanitarian affairs. Prior to joining the UN, she served as Legal Counsel to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and worked as a litigator in Toronto. Previous work experience includes consultancies and academic research in human rights, judicial independence, and the rule of law.

With welcoming remarks from Khalil Z. Shariff, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada



December 6, 2022
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Event Tags:


Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat
199 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 1K6 Canada


Aga Khan Foundation Canada