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Amanda Lindhout

Kidnap Survivor, Bestselling Author and Humanitarian.

As Founder and Executive Director of The Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF), Amanda Lindhout has gained international acclaim for her work supporting development and aid in Somalia – the country where she once spent 460 days as a hostage. Her award-winning humanitarian work has provided aid and education to over 300,000 people living in the war-torn country. Amanda’s story of survival in the face of lost hope illustrates the remarkable strength of the human spirit.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Presentations

Freedom In Forgiveness
As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, she began to travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she travelled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.
Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives “wife lessons” from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.
Vivid and suspenseful, hers is the searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity. A captivating, unforgettable speaker, Lindhout alights on the positive and leaves the audience with a fuller understanding of the freedom we can all experience when we choose to embrace compassion. What emerges is a celebration of resilience — a powerful portrait of the strength of the human spirit.

Can and She Will: Women’s Empowerment in Somalia and Beyond
Amanda Lindhout’s experience as a hostage in Somalia has given her a unique perspective on the depravations caused by war and the oppressive conditions forced upon women. Amazingly, Lindhout emerged after 15 months as a hostage with a vision of how she could create sustainable change in the world’s poorest country, the place where she had lost her freedom. Quickly gaining a name for herself as a humanitarian, she now works tirelessly on women’s rights issues and empowers women in Somalia through educational and micro finance programs she founded. In this sweeping talk, Lindhout shares the stories of several extraordinary women — women who represent the future leaders of their countries — and brings us to the heart of a new global wave of women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship.

The Roots of Radicalization: An Inside Look at How Extremist Groups Exploit Poverty and Oppression, and How Education Can Build Peace
Amanda Lindhout’s extraordinary experience being held hostage for 460 days by teenage militants in Somalia has given her an inside look at how international terrorist groups are recruiting and radicalizing young men in Africa. Lindhout’s chilling discoveries about the structure and motivations of these groups, including the incredible power of the internet to disseminate terrorist propaganda, are a timely resource for anyone seeking to understand the complicated world we live in. She shares her belief that poverty and oppression are contributing factors in the phenomenon of child soldiers and presents a powerful message about the important role that education plays in countering youth recruitment.

The Imperative of Forgiveness
This powerful and intimate 3 hour workshop leads participants on a deep exploration into the healing potential of forgiveness. Go deeper into the exploration of forgiveness, why it is important and what clear steps you can take toward having more of it in your life. Amanda will uncover the costs of not forgiving along with showing the amazing power of compassion in our hearts and in the world. Most important perhaps, participants engage in an eclectic mix of multicultural forgiveness practises from which to begin healing. Join New York Times bestselling author, speaker, humanitarian, and activist Amanda Lindhout as she contrasts the immeasurable costs of anger and resentment with the transformative powers of forgiveness and compassion to heal hearts and the world.

Awards

2014
Libris Award
Doctor of Laws, honouris causa from the University of Lethbridge

2012
Red Deer Women of Excellence Award in Human Services

  • She was PHENOMENAL...you could hear a pin drop in the room this morning. I'm proud to say that Ottawa did not disappoint...she ended her keynote with a standing ovation from all 300 people in attendance. It was truly a pleasure, for me personally, to have met Amanda. While I may never completely understand what she endured during her captivity, I can say that her story has left an indescribable mark on my life and will never forget her message.

    - Marketing & Events Coordinator, Salvation Army
  • Amanda Lindhout is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the honour of hearing speak. Her groundbreaking peace building work in Somalia is made all the more extraordinary by her willingness to work alongside former extremists and exemplifies the true meaning of forgiveness. Her message of peace deserves to be heard by all.


    - Google Ideas' Against Violent Extremism Network
  • She was amazing, spectacular, lovely, uplifting, articulate...the list goes on and on. She is in my humble opinion the best speaker we have ever had! Not sure how or if we will ever be able to top her.

    - Atlantic Psychiatric Conference
  • Amanda is an inspiring speaker with a message that is absolutely vital for our times.


    - Eckhart Tolle Best-selling author of The Power of Now
  • She was amazing as promised- the room of 1500 was silent- you could have heard a pin drop- she has an amazing story and its told in such an authentic manner- Wow- thank you so much for helping make this happen for us
    - President & CEO YMCA of Greater San Antonio
  • Amanda is an inspiration! Her messages of hope, forgiveness, peace and reconciliation are an example for us all.

    - President of the United Nations Association in Canada
  • Amanda is someone to look up to. Someone who instils a sense of hope and goodness in humanity.

    - PCMA 2013 Attendee

Summary Profile

In 2008, Amanda Lindhout traveled to Somalia as a freelance journalist to research a story on the millions of people affected by two decades of war, drought, and famine. Kidnapped by teenage criminals outside of the capital city, Mogadishu, Amanda spent 460 days enduring unimaginable hardships as a hostage in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Following her release in November 2009, she became an unlikely and passionate advocate for the people of Somalia. Four months after returning home, Amanda founded the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF) to ignite leadership in Somalia through education and economic initiatives which the GEF creates, funds and implements. Since the GEF’s inception, Amanda has raised millions of dollars to support development and aid in the war-torn country reaching over 300,000 people. She captured international headlines again when she returned to Somalia to lead famine relief efforts in 2011.

Amanda advises international governments, global leaders, non-profit organizations, and policy makers on the importance of using education to counter the radicalization of youth and provide insight into the interrelated issues of poverty and violence against women. Her work has attracted the likes of President Bill Clinton who invited her to speak in Washington about her organization’s work.

Amanda has been featured in publications including Vogue’s September Issue, O Magazine, ELLE, The New York Time Magazine and The Globe and Mail and appeared on Dateline NBCThe Today ShowAnderson Cooper 360, CNN, Sanjay Gupta MD, NBC Nightly News, BBC, MSNBC, CBC’s The National, Radio Canada International, and a variety of other TV and radio programs both domestic and international.

Amanda’s memoir,  A House In The Sky, is a New York Times bestseller and is slated for development as a major motion picture with Annapurna Pictures. Oscar nominated actress Rooney Mara is set to produce and star in the film.

RT @CurtainsAreOpen: We Day Atlantic http://t.co/DhfI8OuFi6 @AmandaLindhout @weday @TELUS (Dec 19)
RT @SwenBooks: Top 10 Books of 2014 | A House in the Sky @AmandaLindhout http://t.co/JdfmPg5Y94 (Dec 18)
RT @ScribnerBooks: Gifts For The Dream Chasers & Changemakers http://t.co/U7OflqQs9e http://t.co/caBCvZzDoO @AdamBraun @AmandaLindhout @opp… (Dec 13)