Born in Turkey with Kurdish roots, Özlem Sara Cekic was one of the first women with a Muslim immigrant background to be elected to the Danish Parliament, where she served from 2007 to 2015.

Why you should listen

During her time as a member of Folketing, the Danish Parliament, Özlem Cekic's inbox was inundated with hate mail and threats. She first responded by deleting the emails, but then she started replying and inviting those who had sent her abusive messages to meet and engage in dialogue. She calls it #dialoguecoffee, as the meetings generally happen over coffee, and usually at the home of the person who wrote the message. She has met neo-Nazis, racists and religious extremists as she works to try to understand the origin of the hate, find a common language and develop a toolkit for building bridges.

Özlem Cekic’s TED talk

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