Palestinian comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid to speak at RootsTech 2022

Palestinian comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech 2022, FamilySearch announced in a blog post Wednesday, Feb. 9. 

She was a full-time on-air contributor to “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has also appeared on Oprah Winfrey Network’s “In Deep Shift,” “60 Minutes” and ABC News. She is the cofounder and co-executive producer of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and the Muslim Funny Fest.

Born with cerebral palsy and a disability advocate, Zayid had the most viewed TED Talk of 2014 and was named one of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC. She is also a strong ally to minority communities. 

She will share her story of connection on the RootsTech main stage March 3-5. The three-day global family history celebration is being held entirely online for the second consecutive year and is free to the public.

Zayid is the sixth speaker RootsTech has announced from its diverse lineup, following the announcements of Food Network’s Molly Yeh, African boxing champion Azumah Nelson, Argentine singer Diego Torres, actor Matthew Modine and French baker Apollonia Poilâne

She was born and raised in New Jersey. Every summer, she and her sisters would go to their grandparents’ village in Palestine, with no TV, no cellphones and no internet. Summer after summer, she grew connected to her family’s Middle Eastern roots, started developing her storytelling talent, and learned the value of equality and connection across cultures.

“Knowing my ancestors’ tales and their stories helps me better understand my own,” Zayid said in the blog post. “Knowing what they went through and where I am now … doesn’t just inform who I am, but it’s a constant reminder of how incredible this world is and how much potential one person has to change the entire universe.

“If you don’t know where you came from, you’ll never know where you’re going.”

RootsTech 2022 will follow the same virtual model as the 2021 event, with international keynote speakers and a mix of on-demand, livestream and interactive sessions where participants can connect with each other, ask questions and learn from experts.

Register for RootsTech 2022 at

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