Pursuit of Knowledge is the primary element in Waleed Mahdi’s immigration story to the United States. His journey started in Yemen during 1990s when he, as a high school student, developed the intellectual curiosity to critique Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis, which propagated tensions between Americans and Muslims in a post-Cold War world order, imagined through religiously homogenous civilizations.
Waleed was born in Taiz, Yemen. He spent the first twenty-five years of his life there. He had a rich life filled with close relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. He attended Taiz University, where he earned a degree in English Language and Literature and taught English for a few years. A Fulbright scholarship sponsored his Master’s program in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of New Mexico. Later on, he was admitted into the PhD program in American Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Waleed defines himself as a “transmigrant.” He maintains an Arab American transnational sense of belonging that embodies the possibility of moving beyond the U.S.-Arab/Muslim cultural divide. His research, teaching, and community outreach efforts emphasize this interconnectedness, which, he believes, constitutes a response to Huntington’s unprophetic claims.