November 2015 News Bulletin
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Announcing...Student Essay Contests

2015-2016 Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize 

So just what is all this talk about essay contests you ask? Simple: The essay contests ask students to evaluate the significance of Emir Abdelkader's life and his struggles during peace, war, imprisonment, and exile in light of current events in America and the world.
“The Abdelkader Education Project (AEP) offers much more than an essay contest. It offers students a chance to engage in a narrative of history not often discussed in Western classrooms, and one that is crucial to develop a comprehension of the many variegated ways that the "West" intersects with the "East" and vice-versa. Especially today - in a time where mistrust, ignorance, and violence abound - Abdelkader's legacy provides a useful model for how global relationships might be rethought and restructured to better suit us all."
Brandon Jennings, Iowa City
Who can participate? Students enrolled at high schools and colleges in the United States, including exchange students.
Why participate? This global education initiative presents important history with lessons for today that inspire cultural understanding and respectful engagement between all people. Learn about the Middle East and Islamic culture through the legacy of humanitarian Emir Abdelkader. His powerful and non-threatening example of Islamic leadership in compassion and highest moral values counters stereotypes and inspires learning about cultural literacy, civility, tolerance, and understanding. Explore models of ethical leadership, moral courage, and humanitarian conduct.
Essay information and details can be found on the AEP website.
Educators are encouraged to sign-up to mentor student(s) and students are encouraged to sign-up now to participate. Essays must be submitted by April 15, 2016. Check often for updates on the AEP website and Facebook.

Essay Scholarship Awards 
Iowa High School students (1st Place $1,000; 2nd Place $500)
U.S. High School students (1st Place $1,000; 2nd Place $500)
U.S. College/University students (1st Place $1,500; 2nd Place $1,000)
“Now more than ever, it is necessary that we curtail the violent, essentialist, and exclusionary rhetoric promulgated towards peoples of different faiths and backgrounds. Globalization and advance in technology have shrunk the world; cultural and religious differences are inescapable and ubiquitous. If we cannot reform our jingoistic attitudes towards ourselves and others, if we cannot articulate a new politics that recognizes and celebrates difference, we are certain to make the same mistakes our fathers and fore-fathers have made before us. Only by learning lessons from our shared history, from men like Abd el-Kader, can we hope to move towards a happier, more prosperous future.” Brandon Jennings
“In Emir Abdelkader, I found a counter example for many of the beliefs about Islam that are a part of the political and social discourse of our nation. Abdelkader was undeniably Muslim. However, his Islam was one where people were dedicated to their communities. It was one where people were charitable, hospitable, humble, and wise.” Ben Bernatz
“One of the most profound impacts I experienced in my exploration of the legacy of Abd el-Kader: I learned that dogma is a trap. A society cannot grow if one does not possess the courage to “go against the tide.” In the case of Abd el-Kader, he confronted centuries of traditions that were inaccurately represented as Islamically-supported. Had he retreated from this challenge, far more people would have suffered, thousands of Christians would have died, and the interfaith bridge that he constructed may not be in existence today…Emir Abd el-Kader possessed the qualities of an international ambassador of humbleness. He was a pious Muslim who consistently sought to enhance his knowledge and improve his observance of Islam. He demonstrated that humility, modesty, and decreased importance of the self are forerunners of respectful interactions and global harmony. As I move forward, I hope to embrace many of the same characteristics that Abd el-Kader embodied when he put his ego aside to strive for an egalitarian, global community that embraced diversity while challenging dogmatic traditions.” Mandy Conrad
“For me, learning about Abdelkader’s life, his virtues, and his heroism was enlightening. Not only is Abdelkader’s a story worth reading, his is one that remains relevant today. Abdelkader was a revolutionary. His transcendent, progressive views about religion, human rights, and where the two converge still inspire…Our global community is sick. Genocide and rape are commonly-used weapons in many parts of the world, yet many claim that all is fair in war. Bombs shake the ground beneath both Palestine and Israel, yet neither party recognizes the solidarity they share in their struggles. At home, police brutality threatens the sanctity of all lives, yet people ignore the screams of those who are hurting. Many of us could stand to learn from Abdelkader’s preachings and practices during his time on Earth. Abdelkader spoke of not only loving thy neighbor, but understanding her and empathizing with her. We need to remember and to channel Abdelkader.” ~ James Wendt
ABDELKADER EDUCATION PROJECT (AEP) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes cultural literacy, civility, 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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