We share, translate and promote ideas that foster critical thinking, civil rights, science, pluralism, and more to ultimately bring to life a modern, pluralistic Middle East, led by the people of the region.

Ideas Beyond Borders develops and implements international programs to empower individuals with knowledge often suppressed by authoritarian regimes and dictatorships. By encouraging youth and young adults to think critically about topics ranging from civil rights to science and reason, IBB is laying the groundwork for people to retain their cultural identities while questioning the status quo, pushing back against extremist hate and violence, and finding their own unique voice. 

Most anti-extremism and counter-terror organizations address individuals at the end of the spectrum - converted extremists that are ideologically primed to commit acts of hate and violence. Ideas Beyond Borders empowers individuals before extremism has taken root by providing ideological alternatives and fresh information. 


Refugee & Social Entrepreneur

Born in Babylon, Raised in Baghdad, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar experienced the villainy of extremism and authoritarian regimes firsthand. He survived the Iraq Civil War, the murder of his brother, and several kidnapping attempts before becoming a refugee in the United States in 2013. ​

A practitioner of countering extremism and misinformation on an international scale, he's traveled to conferences and spoken on campuses across the globe on his experiences working to create an alternative positive change in the region. He founded the organization Ideas Beyond Borders, a non-profit dedicated to empowering people across the globe with access to new ideas and fresh perspectives. 

Faisal received the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” from President Barack Obama and is a Fellow at the Elevate Prize Foundation.

The Middle East is the opposite of Las Vegas - what happens in the Middle East doesn't stay in the Middle East.

                            - Faisal Saeed Al Mutar



Omar Mohammed


Historian and Author of the

Mosul Eye

Natalie Khazaal

Georgia Institute of Technology

Expert on Disenfranchisement, Media and Languages in the Arab World

Laith Al-Shawaf


Professor of Psychology &

Content Advisor

Merete Riisager


Former Danish Minister of Education

Anthony Amore

Copley Research LLC

Author & Security/Investigations Expert

Cynthia Schneider

Georgetown University

Former US Ambassador to the Netherlands

Jeffrey Flier

Harvard University

Former Dean of Harvard 

Medical School

Bob Pearson


Marketing and Communications Guru

Aaron Louis


Director of Audio Visual at the New York Museum of Modern Art

Michael Trollan
Sapient Razorfish

Technology Expert

Sam Vaghar

Social Entrepreneur & Executive Director

Vinicius Fortuna
Google Jigsaw

Censorship and digital security expert


Faisal Saeed AlMutar
President & Founder

Ideas Beyond Borders

Sam Hershey

Chairman of the Board

Attorney at White & Case

Melissa Chen

Board Member 
Edtior at 
Spectator USA

Steven Pinker

Board Member

Professor at Harvard University

Dan Johnson

Board Member

CEO & Chairman of AFS

Ideas Matter. 

Ideas Change the World. 

Professor Steven Pinker

Harvard University Professor & Author of Enlightenment Now 

Ideas Beyond Borders Advisory Board Member


Working to be an agent of change in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

Our programs bring together leading education and human rights initiatives to counter extremism and its violent outcomes. We have an emphasis on making the inaccessible, accessible to MENA youth across the globe. This includes forming curricula on global human rights, translating articles and literature on critical thinking, self-help, mental health, women's rights, & more, and working closely with youth and partners in the region to make sure their voices are heard and their needs are met. 

We're empowering youth across the region to use critical thinking skills to engage in lively, spirited discussion on controversial and often banned topics. Our theory of change relies on the fact that there is a hunger for knowledge that dictatorships and extremist, authoritarian rulers cannot stamp out. Feeding this hunger with inspiring and empowering perspectives on the human spirit, perseverance, scientific thought, and our shared human values can limit extremist's recruitment efforts, and in turn make the world a better, brighter place. 


Our programs rely on you. We need involved, impassioned community members and donors to help us succeed.