Mokhtar
Alkhanshali

Details

Biography

Historian, community organizer, and coffee innovator, Mokhtar Alkhanshali envisions a world where industry empowers rather than exploits, uplifts rather than represses. Growing up between Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Yemen, Mokhtar comes from an ancient lineage of coffee farmers, that traces back to when the world’s first coffee was cultivated in his home province of Ibb over five centuries ago.

Beginning as a community organizer in San Francisco, Mokhtar both led and contributed to programs and initiatives involving Yemeni, Muslim and Arab Communities. He’s worked with the ACLU, Asian Law Caucus, and the Council on American Islamic Relations on civil rights and community civic engagement. Mokhtar was a key activist involved in passing the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance which sought to end the the San Francisco Police Departments’s agreement with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which unjustly targeted, profiled, and harassed Muslim and Arab communities in San Francisco.

In 2013, Mokhtar began focusing on his family’s roots as coffee farmers in Yemen. Seeking to reverse Yemen’s nearly lost art of coffee cultivation, he founded Port of Mokha. Combining his knowledge of specialty coffee production, progressive infrastructure strategy, and community organizing, Mokhtar has helped to reverse the declining quality of Yemeni coffee and re-establish it as the one of industries' most treasured origins. His work has been profiled in GQ, FastCompany, Vanity Fair, and New York Times, among others.

Acclaimed author Dave Eggers’ best-selling book, The Monk of Mokha, traces Mokhtar’s journey as a social entrepreneur and his harrowing escape from war-torn Yemen with his first coffee samples. Mokhtar strives to empower coffee farmers with the knowledge and tools to bring about radical improvements in the quality of their coffees and lives.

Testimonials

Praise for Mokhtar’s story as told in The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers:

“Exquisitely interesting… This is about the human capacity to dream — here, there, everywhere.”
— Gabriel Thompson, San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A cracking tale of intrigue and bravery… A gripping, triumphant adventure story.”
— Paul Constant, Los Angeles Times

“Remarkable… offers hope in the age of Trump… Ends as a kind of breathless thriller as Mokhtar braves militia roadblocks, kidnappings and multiple mortal dangers.”
— Tim Adams, The Guardian

A vibrant depiction of courage and passion, interwoven with a detailed history of Yemeni coffee and a timely exploration of Muslim American identity.”
— David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly

“The Monk of Mokha is not merely about ‘coming to America,’ it is a thrilling chronicle of one man’s coming-and-going between two beloved homelands—a brilliant mirror on the global community we have become.”
— Marie Arana, author of American Chica and Bolivar: American Liberator

“In telling Mokhtar’s story with such clarity, honesty, and humor, Eggers allows readers to consider Yemen and Yemenis – long invisible, side-lined, or maligned in the American imagination – in their wonderful and complicated fullness.”
— Alia Malek, author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria and A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories
 

Speeches

Social Entrepreneurship
How business can uplift economies and change lives. Mokhtar’s story of social entrepreneurship and creating a human-centered business.

Coffee Sustainability
How coffee’s roots hold the key to it’s future. Mono-culture's devastating effects on coffee economies and how coffee’s roots hold the solution.

Food sustainability
How food is produced, distributed and consumed in the modern era is not sustainable. How do we develop new systems to create a more equitable world.

The History of Coffee
Coffee history from Ethiopia to Yemen to Europe to the world. How coffee changed and continues to change the world.

The Shortest Distance Between Two People is a Cup of Coffee
How the world's most beloved beverage can bridge the divide.

Mokhtar's Story
The exhilarating true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped by civil war.

Media