Selamawi Asgedom

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Selamawi Asgedom
Born (1979-09-29) 29 September 1979 (age 38)
Adi Wahla, Ethiopia
Occupation Public speaker

Selamawi Asgedom Tigrinya Amharic: ሰላማዊ ሃእለአብ አስገዶም; born in Adi Wahla, Ethiopia on 29 September 1979)[1] or Mawi Asgedom for short, is an author, public speaker, and a refugee of Ethiopian and Eritrean origin.[2]


Mawi Asgedom is a refugee turned Harvard graduate who has written eight books and inspired teenagers across the world with his motivational speeches and his online leadership classes.

Mawi was born in northern Ethiopia, in the province of Tigray. For about two years of his childhood, he was separated from his father and mother, Halieab and Tsege, when he had to flee to Sudan to avoid the war in Ethiopia. Mawi was seven years old when he and his family arrived in the U.S. in 1983, sponsored by World Relief. They had spent them previous three years in a refugee camp in Sudan. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Illinois. He played on his high school basketball team and ran track,the best in his league. He graduated with top honors from Harvard University, receiving a degree in American history and giving the commencement address at his graduation in 1999.[2][3] Since graduating from Harvard, Mawi has dedicated himself to uplifting teenagers. He is the bestselling author of Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard and The Code: The 5 Secrets of Teen Success.

Mawi has spoken to over 1,000,000 students in more than forty states and trained educators at The Harvard School of Education, The Midwest Principal's Center and many international conferences. Mawi has also created a suite of online leadership courses and founded Mental Karate, a leadership system used to inspire students.

His autobiography, Of Beetles and Angels was selected by Springfield, Pennsylvania as their community book, and 2,378 people read it there.[4] Day-time television host Oprah Winfrey named her interview of Mr. Asgedom as one of her 20 Unforgettable Moments in October 2005.[5]

Of Beetles and Angels was chosen by the Waukegan High School staff to be read during advisory. Waukegan High School also named their Monday advisory Lesson Plan "Mawi Mondays" and the students do different activities related to Mawi. Of Beetles and Angels was also chosen as the first-ever Evanston, Illinois, citywide reading program with events planned throughout the 2007–2008 school year. Mr. Asgedom visited with middle school readers throughout the year. Mawi's memoir was also read by the city of Philadelphia including Hatboro-Horsham High School as part of the 'One Book, One School' program

Asgedom's wife gave birth to a boy, Sawyer Tewolde Asgedom, after attending Barack Obama's Presidential Acceptance speech on 4 November 2008.

After five years and over ten drafts, Asgedom released in 2010 book one of a fantasy series set in East Africa. Mawi's fantasy book, called The Third Harmony, is available only at and features the story of three teenagers who save the world against impossible odds.[3] Mawi is now working on book two: The Map of Legends.[3]


  1. ^ "Mawi's FAQ's". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  2. ^ a b Asgedom, Mawi (September 2002) [2001]. Dave Berger, ed. Of Beetles & Angels. New York: Megan Timgley Books. ISBN 0-316-82620-0. 
  3. ^ a b c Asgedom, Selamawi (28 February 2007). The Code: The 5 Secrets of Teen Success, Q&A (Speech). Kennett Middle School, Landenberg, Pennsylvania. 
  4. ^ "Google cache of community flyer for event" (PDF). Archived from the original on 28 June 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  5. ^ "Unforgettable! Coming to America". 20th Anniversary Celebration! About Oprah from the October 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 

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