Reclaiming My Name

Reclaiming our identity through tolerance and acceptance. It’s tolerating others for their differences and accepting that those differences don’t make a person any less human… or those differences don’t mean some people have fewer rights than others…

Mohamed Hammoud describes his move to Canada and taking on a western name, and his journey to reclaiming his own name.

It starts with a spark, ignites a desire to learn, and a passion to lead. This is how Mohamed Hammoud wakes up every day, with the passion to inspire others, to enable them to discover their passion to do what they love and evolve into a better version of themselves.


Mohamed Hammoud
Mohamed Hammoud
Mohamed Hammoud is a dedicated and driven community leader who believes that diversity is a fact, and inclusion is a choice: this is why he strives to break down taboos and misconceptions by using emotional intelligence to shift the landscape and create a positive impact. As an executive with a London-based tech company and a private consultant in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, Mohamed is a multilingual facilitator and engaging keynote and TEDx speaker, media commentator, and community activist. Mohamed is committed to progressive community-building and has served in various capacities as a board member to different not-for-profits and community organizations. He has recently been appointed as Chief Learning Officer with New Canadian Media in an advisory teaching and mentoring role leading NCM’s efforts to diversify the pool of candidates of journalists capable of working in Canadian newsrooms. A contributor to various media outlets, including the CBC and the London Free Press, and an award-winning Toastmaster, Mohamed recently gave a TEDx Talk about identity at the Awake and Aware TEDx Conference in Traverse City, Michigan. Working tirelessly to advocate a message of community inclusion through acceptance and diversity, Mohamed brings his ambition and drive for making positive changes to the Canadian multicultural community.

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  1. Mohamed — Thank you for telling your story. As I heard your plea toward the end of your talk to “build bridges, not walls,” I was reminded of lines from the book Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta, an Australian aborigines of mixed heritage. It is one of the most challenging books I’ve ever read because Yunkaporta is trying to explain aboriginal thinking – which has only an oral tradition – through the written word. One of the points he makes, and this speaks directly to our challenge is very clear:

    “All Law-breaking comes from the first evil thought, that original sin of placing yourself above the land or above other people.” That thought is “the most destructive idea in existence: I am greater than you; you are less than me. This is the source of all human misery.”

    He makes the point that even his people who know this truth will occasionally slip into its grasp. But they emerge from it.

    This thought is the root of all bigotry, racism, and prejudice. It is also the root of our ongoing destruction of nature, of other animals, our rape of natural resources, and ultimately the potential destruction of our planet: “I am better than you.”

    I relate this passage because it explains how we are battling something that is as old as the first humans. It is our tendency as a species. If you know history, you see that this belief “is the source of all human misery.”

    I am not yet to the point in the book that is revealed through its subtitle, but I am looking forward to it. In the meantime, three words come to mind that challenge that original sin: “I am not.” I am not greater than you. More to come.

    Thank you, my friend.

  2. Thank you so much for your passionate and inspired call to become awake and aware of hard truths, of the opportunity to transcend bigotry and hate, to find common ground in our shared humanity, our commitment to peace, freedom, happiness, acceptance, compassion, generosity-the interconnected nature of our existence together (and I would add- with the natural world,) Mohamed. I have been reading the book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Isabel Wilkenson. I’m learning disturbing truths about American history that I never learned in history classes or in my graduate studies in political science at The Ohio State University. I highly recommend this book. Thank you, again. I stand with you, willing to see you as a multi-dimensional, multi-gifted/talented human being sharing his vision, passions, and gifts with our world. I honor your courageous work.

  3. Mac, if truth be told, if I could do this talk again, I would lean more towards inviting towards more acceptance than tolerance, so I think we are more on the same wave length than you think. That being said, when I spoke about this two years ago, the message then, as much as today, is to invite others to at least be open to tolerating the perspectives of others, if we cannot be more accepting, than let us not close the door to beginning to understand one another, and if that commonality is found through tolerance, than perhaps it can pave the way towards acceptance.

    As for being a guest on your show, I would be honoured. Please do not hesitate to connect further and you can always reach me directly by email [email protected]. Stay blessed.

  4. Thanks, Mohamed.

    We see these two perspectives a little bit differently, though I believe we value them at the same level. I was wrestling with the difference between tolerance and acceptance and ended up (of course) writing about it:

    It’s a bit strong, reflecting my obsession with how words create ideas, not just the other way around. Also (what an ego!), here’s the link to the back2different podcast, which so far features three of the Friendship Bench gang:

    I would appreciate the opportunity to have you appear in an episode soon. Please let me know if that holds interest for you.

    Be good. And well.

    [email protected]