(Valen Levinson, Adam) Adam Valen Levinson is a multimedia backpack journalist and travel writer whose work focuses on human stories in conflict areas. His work has appeared in numerous outlets, including VICE, the Paris Review, Al Jazeera, and Haaretz. He is currently a PhD candidate at Yale University, studying humor as a key to cultural understanding. He is the author of The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear and Love in the Modern Middle East (W.W. Norton and Company). Armed only with college Arabic and restless curiosity, Adam Valen Levinson set out to “learn about the world 9/11 made us fear.” While politicians and media eagerly stoke the flames of Islamophobia, Valen Levinson crosses borders with abundant humor and humanity. Seeking common ground everywhere, he finds that people who pray differently often laugh the same. And as a young man bar mitzvahed at twenty-one (instead of the usual thirteen), he slowly learns how childish it is to live by decisions and distinctions born of fear.