Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Global and Comparative African Diaspora History at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He explores the making of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds from the early modern period to the present. Selected as The Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year, his latest book, Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery Across the Indian Ocean, was published by Oxford University Press.
Of East Indian and Peruvian descent, he studied political economy and ethnography at the University of Michigan and the School of Oriental and African Studies before graduating from the London School of Economics and Political Science and receiving his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University under the direction of Eric Foner.
Ali has been a Fulbright Professor of History and Anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, and a Library Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. He also holds an appointment in the French Ministry of Education as Inspector of the International Baccalaureate in History and Geography in the U.S., France, Ireland, South Africa, and China. Locally, he co-directs a community-based initiative in the Warnersville area of Greensboro–Community Play!/All Stars–a series of free cultural events, classes, and workshops that promote learning and development through performance and play.
He has served on the Board of Directors of the All Stars Project, a constellation of developmental youth programs involving over 10,000 young people from poor and working-class neighborhoods in nearly a dozen cities in the U.S. and overseas, and currently serves on the board of directors of IndependentVoting.org, a national strategy and leadership training center for non-partisan electoral reform, and the Cone Health Foundation, which invests in affordable and effective healthcare programs across Guilford County, North Carolina. Ali has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, PBS, Al Jazeera, Black Network Television, and Huffpost Live. His most recent TEDx talk is entitled “Race: A Function of Power.”