Digital Dissedents: An evening with David Wolman

No one predicted Egypt’s revolution. But two and half years before there was anything called the “Arab Spring,” David Wolman went to Cairo to write a feature story for Wired about tech-savvy dissidents protesting against the regime.

Those same Egyptian activists, led by a soft-spoken civil engineer named Ahmed Maher, went on to play a central role in organizing the revolution that began on January 25, 2011. Wolman kept close tabs on the group, filing a handful of stories during those tense 18 days. Then, on February 10, hours before the world learned that Mubarak had finally been forced out, Wolman received a text message from Maher: “Mubarak will go now. LOL.” Realizing that he had a unique perspective and access, he returned to Egypt last March to research and write “The Instigators”: a definitive account of the revolution and the lead-up to it, and of the people who planned and orchestrated what may prove to be one of the most important uprisings of the 21st century.

“The Instigators,” is “riveting,” says The Atlantic–a dramatic behind-the-scenes tale that sheds new light on the Arab Spring, including the secret collaboration between Maher and Google executive Wael Ghonim–five months before the revolution.

Soon after the revolution, David was featured in this FRONTLINE special, “Revolution in Egypt.” He has also recently returned from another trip to Cairo in October, where he reconnected with Maher, who was nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, and is now advising activists organizing Occupy Wall Street protests

Wolman’s new book, out this February, is called The End of Money and it fleshes out the larger story of a social innovation tool used by Mercy Corps and other INGOs — mobile banking. Going without cash for a year, Wolman studies visionaries, advocates and methods, including mobile banking in third world countries.

David Wolman is an author and award-winning journalist. He is a contributing editor for Wired, and he has written for a variety of publications, including Outside, Mother Jones, Newsweek,Discover, Forbes, and Salon. A former Fulbright journalism fellow in Japan and a graduate of Stanford University’s journalism program, he now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a recipient of the 2011 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. David has also published two works of nonfiction, A Left-Hand Turn Around the World, (Da Capo Press, 2005), and Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email (HarperCollins, 2008).

 From Wikipedia:

David Wolman is an American author and journalist. He is a contributing editor at Wired, and has also written for publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Discover, National Geographic Traveler, New Scientist and Outside.

Fulbright Journalism Fellow, Sapporo, Japan, 2003

Oregon Arts Commission, Individual Artist Fellowship, 2011

Society of Environmental Journalists, third place, Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market, 2011

National Magazine Awards, finalist, Digital Media Reporting, 2012

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