Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mawi Asgedom  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: 1976 in Adi Wahla, Ethiopia


Illinois Connection

Asgedom grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mawi Asgedom was born Selamawi Haileab Asgedom. He is an author and a successful inspirational speaker for students, community groups, and businesses.Mawi was a refugee of Ethiopian. For about two years of his childhood, he was separated from his father and 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 the previous three years in a refugee camp in Sudan. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Illinois. He graduated with top honors from Harvard University, receiving a degree in American history and giving the commencement address at his graduation in 1999. 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''.He is a very popular speaking guest at middle and high schools. He has spoken to over 500,000 students in more than thirty states. He has trained educators at The Harvard School of Education, The Midwest Principal's Center and many teaching conferences. Mawi is also the founder of ''Mental Karate'', an organization that helps youth take positive action.Oprah Winfrey named her interview of Mr. Asgedom as one of her 20 Unforgettable Moments in October 2005.He has developed a suite of online student courses to increase student efficacy and achievement.He has created a professional development program for educators to put Growth Mindset into action to inspire student achievement called Powerful Educator.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''Body of Work''' *Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 2006 '''''Of Beetles and Angels''''' *2013 ILLINOIS READS Book