A standup humanist

The British Humanist Association announces its new president:

Writer, broadcaster, and comedian Shappi Khorsandi will succeed physicist Jim Al-Khalili as the President of the British Humanist Association (BHA), it has been announced. The twelfth President in the BHA’s history, and the fourth woman to take the role, Shappi will begin her three-year term as President in January 2016.

Born to non-religious parents in Iran, Shappi and her family fled to Britain in her youth after her father, the poet Hadi Khorsandi, was targeted for assassination by Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime after writing a satirical piece about the Islamic Revolution. Growing up in England, Shappi’s childhood was marked by recurrent fears of her father being assassinated, and the family spent time under police protection. Sharing her father’s talent for humour, she began a successful career in stand-up comedy after graduating from Winchester with a degree in drama, and has made numerous appearances on TV and radio comedy shows, including Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and QI.

A humanist all her adult life, Shappi was most recently one of several contributors to Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young’s new children’s book What is Humanism?, a project that is in keeping with her personal priority of having humanism better understood by young people in particular.

Announcing Shappi’s appointment, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘It’s a great pleasure to welcome Shappi to the Presidency of the British Humanist Association. Our President must be able not just to communicate humanism clearly but to connect on an emotional level with those many people in Britain who have humanist beliefs but don’t know the word exists to describe them. As such a warm and accomplished broadcaster, not to mention an intimate commentator on the human experience in her standup and elsewhere, Shappi certainly has that ability in spades.’

Brilliant. I hadn’t heard of her before, and she sounds terrific. I think humor is a massively important part of humanism.

H/t Maureen

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