October 2015 News Bulletin
Sixth Annual AEP Forum

Elkader, Iowa USA
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Students Honored at 6th Annual AEP Forum

Elkader's historic Opera House was host to a variety of leaders from across the world for the 6th annual Abdelkader Education Project (AEP) Forum that highlighted “Why Emir Abdelkader Matters in Today’s World.” Students and professionals came together for a unique blend of education, business and culture to explore how Emir Abdelkader’s life story serves as a model for reconciling differences while fostering cultural literacy and respectful engagement with and within cultures.

Each year AEP offers Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests where students share insightful and impassioned thoughts that clearly reflect the impact of
 their study about Emir Abdelkader with relevance for their own lives and our global society. (2015-2016 essay contests to be launched soon!) The 2014-2015 scholarship award winners follow with quotes from their essays.
1st place Fatima Tayebi - Wayne State University - $1,500
“Emir Abdelkader has given me hope that we can once again prove to the world that Islam is not about violence and bloodshed, rather it is based on the peace and universal morals that he practiced throughout his life.”
2nd place Mandy Conrad - University of Iowa - $1,000
“The Emir’s struggle to exemplify Islamic principles not only impacted the lives of fellow Muslims, but also impacted global warfare tactics…His diplomacy was used as an instrument to reverse destruction and was also used as a blueprint for inter-religious negotiations.”
1st place James Wendt - Naperville, IL - $1,000
“Beyond the inspirational nature of his actions, Abdelkader’s tenants should function as a blueprint for human interactions. Abdelkader was a revolutionary. His transcendent and progressive views about religion, about human rights, and about where the two converge still inspire.”
2nd place Jonathan Carrillo-Lopez - Trevor G. Browne HS, Phoenix, AZ - $500
“History has demonstrated that a jihad is within all of us, a fight for rights, equality, or reform, but it is one’s purpose which decides if his or her footprints fossilize in the sands of time, awakening hope for the successive generations to call for jihad. I desire to be a positive change in the world, a jihadist like Abd el-Kader, for unity among men.”
1st place Connor Freeman - Decorah - $1,000
“It is important to acknowledge that the standards of one’s language or culture cannot be forcibly imposed upon those of another, if productive cooperation is to be achieved. Common ground must be sought, and in this there can be no greater model than Abd el-Kader.”
2nd place Hannah Gaffney - Manchester - $500
“Emir Abdelkader inspires me to work towards better cultural understanding and living a holier life. Abdelkader may have been one man, but his morals and beliefs earned him the respect of many, and the life he lived will positively influence the world forever.”
During the AEP Forum afternoon program at the Opera House, AEP co-founders John Kiser and Kathy Garms highlighted the Elkader-based AEP’s outreach and collaborations with visions for the future. Algerian businessman Abdelmalek Sahraoui, presented a new program “On the Footsteps of the Emir” based in Mascara and shared his intent to collaborate with the Abdelkader Education Project.
The Ambassador of Algeria in Washington, H.E. Madjid Bouguerra, delivered the keynote address: "We, in Algeria, feel special affinity for Elkader, named for our "George Washington" namely Emir Abdelkader, the founder of the Algerian State, and with whose citizens we have for many years, built a strong relationship made of friendship, respect, good will and pride. That relationship stands today, as a symbol of the excellent relations which exist between Algeria and the United States, that are characterized by trust, mutual respect, shared values and healthy and fruitful cooperation. 
We praise the wonderful work done by the Abdelkader Education Project (AEP) and its Executive Director Kathy Garms, through educational and cultural projects, in order to strengthen and deepen the friendship and cooperation between the Sister Cities of Elkader and Mascara and between Algeria and the US. I reiterate my full support and that of the Algerian Embassy to AEP and call on all to extend support to AEP."
Keystone Area Education Agency was site of the new AEP Forum morning session with opening remarks by David Hamod, CEO/President, National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce in DC.

AEP's "Education Programs and Outreach" was facilitated by Ann Schodde, AEP Board Member (Des Moines). Presenters for curriculum relevant to Abdelkader’s values included: Tamar Miller of Harvard Pluralism Project’s ‘Ethical Leadership’ case study, MA; Ameena Jandali of Islamic Networks Group in CA; Marcia Powell and Karla Duff, Professional Development Educators in Iowa, and John Kiser, VA.

"Business Opportunities with Algeria" was facilitated by AEP Board Member Chuck Montgomery (Des Moines) and included: Algerian Ambassador Madjid Bouguerra; Dr. Ismael Chikhoune, CEO/President, US Algeria Business Council, DC; Abdelmalek Sahraoui, CEO Promo-invest, Algeria; Dr. Belgacem Haba, AEP Board Member, CA; Dr. Chiang Chee Wee, President, Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmar, IA; and Kathy Hill, Int’l Trade Office Team Leader/Marketing Manager, Iowa Economic Development, Des Moines.
Highlighting the festivities was the 20-member Algerian delegation that included businessmen, professors, journalists and Bedouin musical ensemble from Mascara that performed Andalusian music.

Other media coverage of the pre-AEP Forum School Assembly (Des Moines Register) and AEP Forum programs can be found on our website under "AEP in the News." Pictures and more information are available on the Abdelkader Education Project Facebook page.

Thank you for your participation and support. 

Together we can make a difference in our world.

ABDELKADER EDUCATION PROJECT (AEP) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes cultural literacy and respectful engagement between all people through education and outreach drawing on Emir Abdelkader's life story and values – courage, integrity, intellect, humility and compassion – that transcend culture and faith traditions.

AEP DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRAM FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES are available. Becoming a sponsor demonstrates commitment to education in building cultural understanding and providing global perspectives for educators and students as well as business, social and political leaders of all faiths and cultures. To donate and learn more, please visit our website.  
Abdelkader Education Project
Kathy Garms, Executive Director
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