Laila El-Haddad is an award-winning Palestinian writer, social activist and public speaker who frequently lectures on the situation in Gaza, the intersection of food and politics, and contemporary Islam.
She is the author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between and, co-author of the critically acclaimed The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey. She is also a policy advisor with al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.
Through her work as a writer and documentarian, she provides much-needed insight into the human experience of the region. She was recently featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode ‘Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza’ as his guide in the Gaza Strip.
From 2003 to 2007, El-Haddad was the Gaza correspondent for the Al Jazeera English website and a regular contributor to the BBC World Service. During this time, she co-directed two Gaza-based documentaries, including The Tunnel Trade.
A graduate of Duke University and the Harvard Kennedy School, she is a recipient of the Clinton Scholarship, as well as the Inspiration for Hope and the Literary Leadership Awards. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents from Gaza, she currently lives in Clarksville, Maryland with her husband and their three children. You’ll frequently find her poking around people’s kitchens, in a forest, or on a basketball court.