Keynote and Guest Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: MOHAMEDOU OULD SLAHI

Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a writer, human rights activist and former Guantánamo prisoner. He was born in Rosso, Mauritania, the ninth of twelve children of a camel herder. His family moved to the capital of Nouakchott when he was a child, where he attended school and earned a scholarship to study electrical engineering at Gerhard-Mercator University in Duisburg, Germany. In 2001, he was living and working in his home country of Mauritania when he was detained and renditioned to Jordan, beginning an ordeal that he would chronicle in his internationally-bestselling Guantánamo Diary. The manuscript, which he wrote in his isolation cell in the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, remained classified for almost eight years and was finally released, with substantial redactions, in 2013. It was first published in the United States and United Kingdom in January, 2015, and has since been published in twenty-five languages. After fifteen years of detention, Mohamedou was released on 17th October 2016 to Mauritania. The following year he published a “restored edition” of Guantánamo Diary, filling in the US government’s redactions, and in February 2021 his first novel, The Actual True Story of Ahmed and Zarga, was published by Ohio University Press.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ANDY WORTHINGTON

Andy Worthington is an independent journalist and human rights activist, widely acknowledged as an expert on Guantánamo. His book The Guantánamo Files, telling the stories of the men held at Guantánamo, was published by Pluto Press in 2007, and he has published over 2,000 articles about Guantánamo on his website andyworthington.co.uk. He is the co-director of the 2009 documentary ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’, and the co-founder (with the U.S. attorney Tom Wilner) of the Close Guantánamo campaign, established in 2012, and (with the activist Joanne MacInnes) of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, established in 2014, which contributed to securing the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, in 2015. He was the lead author of a UN report on secret detention in 2010, and a media partner for WikiLeaks’ release of classified military files from Guantánamo in 2011. He has also written for the New York Times, the Guardian and Al-Jazeera, and in 2013 was short-listed for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.


GUEST SPEAKER: MANSOOR ADAYFI

Mansoor Adayfi is a writer, human rights activist and former Guantánamo prisoner. A Yemeni citizen, he was held at Guantánamo for 14 years, from 2002 until his resettlement in Serbia in 2016. In August 2021, his Guantánamo memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo, was published by Hachette Books. He has also written for the New York Times, and in 2019 he won the Richard J. Margolis Award for non-fiction writers of social justice journalism.

 

 

 


GUEST SPEAKER: ANTONIO AIELLO

Antonio Aiello is a writer, editor, and storyteller. As former content director for PEN America, he developed written and multimedia content at the intersection of free expression advocacy and the literary arts to give voice to issues of social justice and writers in peril around the world. This included producing mini-documentaries, founding and editing a magazine of international literary translations, developing graphic narratives, and directing the PEN America multimedia archive in collaboration with Princeton University. He has partnered with Mansoor Adayfi on several projects including Adayfi’s memoir, DON’T FORGET US HERE: LOST AND FOUND AT GUANTÁNAMO published by Hachette August 17, 2021; graphic narratives for GUANTANAMO VOICES and THE NIB; articles and essays; and the television series, FROM GUANTÁNAMO, WITH LOVE, which he and Adayfi are developing as Fellows in the Sundance Institute’s Episodic TV Lab.