Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Alia Kate

photo of Alia Kate

Alia Kate is a graduate of Oberlin College where she studied international Relations with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. She has lived and worked in half a dozen countries throughout the world and keeps returning to Morocco. In 2008, Alia founded Kantara, a fair-trade design business that specializes in Moroccan rugs. Over the years, she has worked directly with the same weaving cooperatives in rural Morocco and is committed to fostering economic development of the women artisans through ethical trade. Effective communication is at the core of this mission and Alia is aided by the fact that she speaks French, Spanish, and Arabic fluently, as well as some of the indigenous Amazigh Moroccan languages.

Through Kantara, Alia has presented at numerous conferences, produced rugs and content for exhibits run by galleries, museums, and schools, and has developed an arts and education curriculum that was inspired by YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Project.

Alia has cultivated a career that revolves around social innovation, international development, and experiential education. Some of her past experience includes managing the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership at Claremont McKenna College, launching the Social Innovation Program at Sequoyah High School, and working in advancement at Claremont Graduate University. In each of these capacities, Alia has engaged thought leaders in different sectors throughout Los Angeles and the global changemaker community. 

Alia was recently selected as an inaugural fellow in Coro’s Lead LA leadership and professional training program. She was a founding board member for CorpsAfrica, a nonprofit that recruits and places ambitious Africans in remote, low-income communities in their own countries. In Los Angeles, Alia has continued her civic service as a Trustee and treasurer for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Fulcrum Arts, which operates at the intersection of art and science. 

What Our Travelers Say

Her input was extremely vital. Her passion for Morocco and its people was evident in her presentations.

- Lynn L., Splendors of Morocco

Upcoming Tours

Splendors of Morocco

14 days | Starting at: $6,079
Oct 5, 2021 - Oct 18, 2021

From Imperial Cities to the Sahara
Tour Details ››