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Wali Shah

Discipline: Storytelling
Homebase: Mississauga
Languages: English

Wali is an advocate for issues such as inclusion, leadership, bullying prevention, and mental health. 15 years old, and labelled at-risk, a teacher introduced him to poetry. Since then, it became an avenue for Wali to share his story. Being Muslim, being an immigrant, and being a teenager wasn't easy, but with the right mentors and a coping strategy, it became easier. Now, Wali speaks about the power of mentorship & self-expression. He's one of the faces of Bell Let's Talk, WE Day, and RBC's Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. He's even performed for President Barack Obama.


I heard Wali share his keynote presentation at an event dedicated to healthy relationships and masculinity, and the first thing I thought was, "he would be perfect for our Orientation Week". Wali is not only a great story-teller and compelling performer, he's an incredible person. Wali brings an amazing amount of energy and honesty to his performances that will leave you wanting more and more. Anthony Massi, Director of Operations, Wilfred Laurier University
Inspiring and engaging youth can be challenging through COVID19, however Wali managed to connect with our youth virtually in a way few could and empower them to lean into the learning of the Youth Aspire Summit Conference. We look forward to bringing him back to our summit when we are all together again in person Akosua Alagaratnam, Executive Director, First Work | Ontario's Youth Employment Network
We had the pleasure of hosting Wali Shah for two sessions in the fall. Both presentations were very well received by students and staff. Wali is a gifted presenter who uses his words and poetry to bring important issues to light. The writing workshops he did after the events were brilliant! His ability to connect with kids and get them to open up and share their narratives through poetry was impressive. Throughout the planning process, he was extremely flexible and responsive to our board's needs. He is a dynamic speaker and I look forward to continuing to work with him for future board events! Shazia Sheikh, Peel District School Board

Performances & Workshops

Rhythm & Poetry

Grade Suitability: K-12
Duration: 45-60 mins.
Capacity: 500
Tech Requirements: Wireless Mic, Projector, Sound System, Zooms/Meets/Teams for virtual
Fee Range: $545-$995 (Includes ArtStarts' fee. Additional fees apply for remote districts.)

Lower Mainland
Fraser Valley & Howe Sound
Vancouver Island Lower
Vancouver Island Mid
Vancouver Island North

In his keynote, Wali shares poetry and stories pertaining to contemporary social issues. Wali writes on, and speaks to, what matters to students and teachers right now. This powerful and informative keynote stems from Wali's personal narrative growing up as a minority, and dealing with bullying, anxiety, and depression as a student. Themes include: Mental Wellness, Toxic Masculinity, Diversity and Inclusion, Leadership, and Asian Heritage. This show is intended for grades 4-12. Wali shifts this talk depending on his audience, to a focus about embracing leadership and setting an example & asking good questions for senior grades, and listening intently and following good examples for junior grades. Poetry performance pieces are shared throughout the presentation, and are based on relevant and timely issues such as: BLM, COVID-19, and the use of social media. The presentation is followed up with an opportunity for Q & A.

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