Ahmed Alwani is Founder and President of Fairfax University of America and Publisher of New Lines magazine.
Alwani spent his early childhood in Baghdad and Cairo, later earning a degree in mechanical engineering from King Saud University in Riyadh. He came to the U.S. at age 21 and later started a successful real estate investment business. A child of Iraqi immigrants who instilled in him a belief in the transformative power of education, Alwani earned success over three decades as an engineer and entrepreneur, which made him determined to give back to the country that welcomed his parents.
With this in mind, Alwani founded the university, a small school that is open to all but caters primarily to recent immigrants. In 2019, expanding on his mission to promote the pursuit of knowledge, he founded the New Lines Institute, which strives to illuminate the multilayered reality of geopolitics by elevating the voices of a diverse set of writers and thinkers and searching beyond conventional narratives. It was named one of the world’s best new think tanks by the University of Pennsylvania. Its experts have testified before Congress and briefed officials at the United Nations and throughout the U.S. government.
New Lines magazine launched in October 2020. Praised early on as “The New Yorker of the Middle East,” it has since expanded its coverage around the globe and across the United States.
Alwani serves on the board of the interfaith Washington Theological Consortium and is vice president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which was co-founded by his father in 1981 to promote educational advancement in Muslim societies and communities. He has served on the advisory board of the U.S. military’s Africa Command and has frequently met with political and military leaders to advise on sound policies. He met the commanding generals of Fort Jackson, Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Base Andrews as well as then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his staff numerous times during the Iraq War to consult on U.S. policy. He has also served as a member of the higher education committee of the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission and on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. He also has had senior-level positions in various education enterprises and businesses.
His extensive experience meeting with officials convinced him of the need for establishing a think tank that centers authentic voices and emphasizes local contexts. The magazine is a product of that vision.
Alwani holds a master’s degree in engineering from George Washington University and a Ph.D. in human resources from Virginia Tech. He lives with his wife and five children in Northern Virginia.