Sophie Scott
Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Former mechanical engineer and social advocate


Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese diaspora author, broadcaster and award-winning social activist. A former mechanical engineer, Yassmin has published four books with Penguin Random House, including two middle grade novels, You Must Be Layla and Listen, Layla. Yassmin has been the recipient of artist residencies and fellowships from the Australia Council, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Hedgebrook, Virginia Centre for Creative Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Centre for the Arts, RUPERT in Lithuania and more.

In 2020, Yassmin co-wrote the sold-out immersive theatre production at London’s Kensington Palace, United Queendom. Yasmin's commentary and reviews have appeared in TIME, The Guardian, Australian Review of Books, The New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, Vogue and more.

Her critically acclaimed essays have also been widely published, including the bestselling It's Not About The Burqa and The New Daughters of Africa. Yassmin currently sits on the Trustee Board of the London Library, previously serving on the Boards of the Queensland Museum, ChildFund Australia and the domestic violence prevention organisation, OurWatch.


  • She has been awarded numerous awards for her advocacy, including the Young Voltaire Award for Free Speech and Queensland Young Australian of the Year
  • Her internationally acclaimed TED talk, What does my headscarf mean to you, has been viewed over 2.5 million times and was chosen as one of TED’s top ten ideas in 2015
  • Her book Listen, Layla was named ‘Notable Book’ by The Children’s Book Council of Australia, and 2022 Honour Book for Children’s Africana Book of the Year by Howard University

The speaker talks about:

With over a decade of governance experience across sectors, Yassmin’s work is informed by both theory and experience. She uses a surprising way to challenge us all to look beyond our initial perceptions. Yassmin is a speaker on the topics of unconscious bias and leadership. Through her work and her thought-provoking talks, Yassmin is on a mission to make diversity the norm across the world through empowerment, empathy, and the power of stories.

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