October 2016 News & Notes
Annual AEP Forum Review
Essay Contests, Outreach and more
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The 2016 AEP Forum “A Beacon of Hope: Emir Abdelkader – Yesterday’s Muslim Hero Matters Today” was held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 24. Diverse voices explored how Emir Abdelkader’s “lived faith" can serve as a model for confronting challenges, reconciling differences, creating healthy diversity and fostering respectful engagement with and between Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Each year the Abdelkader Global Leaderhips Prize essay contests are open to high school and college students across the U.S. During the annual AEP Forum, 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.


United States College Awards
1st Place - Noureen Choudhary - $1,500
Villanova University, PA

”Despite the bleakness of today’s combative world clouded by senseless hate, violence, and misunderstanding, the Emir teaches us that we can illuminate this void of darkness with the bright light of integrity, knowledge, and communication…Spreading awareness of his legacy can influence areas of education, politics, globalization, and human rights.”
2nd Place - Rebecca Alcock - $1,000
University of Wisconsin, Madison

“Education projects like AEP bring awareness to important pieces of history that are otherwise uncelebrated in mainstream media, curriculum, and society. I am hopeful that I can bring an educated perspective to future conversations on current events, racism, prejudice, and heroism – even when those conversations aren’t always comfortable or easy. I look forward to sharing Abdelkader’s story for years to come and encouraging those I reach to have a more global perspective."
United States High School Awards
1st Place - Daud Shad - $1,000
Mountain Lakes School, Mountain Lakes, NJ

“During peace, Abdelkader was a pious and simple man who found comfort in scholarship and altruism. During war, Abdelkader was a powerful and revolutionary leader who treated the defeated well and accepted defeat well. During imprisonment, Abdelkader was a civil and generous captive who proved racism wrong and set an example for all. During exile, Abdelkader was a morally courageous and compassionate citizen who protected persecuted Christians and lived for God, not for worldly gains.”
2nd Place - Mohammed Rawwas - $500
Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, IA

“As a symbol of admirable morality and perseverance, Abdelkader is remembered for his dedication to human rights, remarkable ability to unify, tenacious work ethic, and inspirational leadership skills.”
Iowa High School Awards
1st Place - Victoria Miller - $1,000
Decorah High School

“Abdelkader’s life-long journey revealed a connection between Christianity and Islam…I believe people like the emir inspire change. His stories of the challenges he faced and the battles he overcame displayed courage, perseverance, and faith to fight for what is right.”

2nd Place - Madison McCabe - $500
Decorah High School

“From Abdelkader’s love and faith in God came his love and faith in his fellow human.”
Elkader (Iowa) High School Award

Samantha Wiedner - $300
“Abd el-Kader is proof that having differences does not mean having problems, but rather having an opportunity to learn.”


Free Online AEP Curriculum and Educational Tools
"TOLERANCE AND ACCEPTANCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY" (6-12 grade classrooms) Consultants Marcia Powell and Karla Duff introduced this new curriculum with interactive components. On October 6, they presented it to educators at the Iowa Council for Social Studies Conference in Des Moines.
HARVARD PLURALISM PROJECT CASE STUDIES (high school & college) Consultant Tamar Miller introduced "Rumors in Damascus” (Abdelkader and ethical leadership) plus companion case studies “A Young Imam in the American Midwest” (Mother Mosque); and “The House on 6th Street.”
ISLAMIC NETWORKS GROUP in San Jose, CA (high school & college) Content Director Ameena Jandali introduced interactive curriculum for Commander of the Faithful: The Life & Times of Emir Abdelkader by John Kiser.
2017 ABDELKADER GLOBAL LEADERSHIP PRIZE ESSAY CONTEST (high school & college) Kathy Garms launched the contest and shared about students’ enthusiasm for this unique and important historical narrative typically not taught in the U.S. AEP is building a youth component to share their voices.

AUTHOR JOHN KISER discussed the Abdelkader Story as a "preventative pill" that changes hearts and minds (apparent in student essays) as it moderates Islamophobia in non-Muslims and may avert radicalization in young Muslims unfamiliar with their own traditions. He stated Americans need to be informed to counter the growing demonization of all Muslims and added that Abdelkader embodied the four cardinal virtues needed for moral progress in the world, enunciated by Thomas Aquinas: Wisdom, Moral Courage, Justice and Self Control.
DR. BORISLAVA MANOJLOVIC, Adjunct Professor and Director of Research Projects, Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy and International Relations, reported the Abdelkader Fellow program features an individual with scholarly credentials and good standing within the Muslim world. The Fellow will introduce Muslim leaders around the world to Abdelkader as a role model for the kind of “lived” Islam that needs to be recovered for its youth. Similar models from Muslim countries will create a renewal of Islam drawing on present and past figures who embody intellectual openness, compassion, courage and self-control (the great jihad).
DR. RAPHAEL DANZIGER, Washington DC, is a well-known Middle Eastern scholar and Israeli admirer of Emir Abdelkader. "AEP is doing holy work," he remarked. He deeply appreciates the universality of Abdelkader's open spirit and courage, and whose many supporters during his struggle included Jews. Danziger, author of Abd Al Qadir and the Algerians (Princeton University PhD research topic), discussed his experiences and journey toward discovering the Emir’s life story.
MARK DANNER, Washington DC, is a national security analyst and international consultant on Middle East and Islamic Affairs. He stated, “Abdelkader’s example is vital for study and emulation because it is one that engages both faith and reason…that thirst for the infinite meaning of life common to all men, thrusts the sincere man of any faith into a relentless curiosity to know reality and to see the "other" as good.” 

STATE OF AEP WITH VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE by AEP Co-founders John Kiser and Kathy Garms.

2015 COLLEGE ESSAY WINNER Mandy Conrad, 2015 college essay winner and doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of Iowa, shared how her experience with the Abdelkader essay contest continues to affect her life and career in a positive manner.
MOTHER MOSQUE TOUR The AEP Forum concluded with a tour of The Mother Mosque and Cedar Rapids Islamic Center, led by Salma Igram of CedarGraphics.
ELKADER TOUR WITH SIDE TRIP TO MISSISSIPPI RIVER Visitors to the AEP Forum toured Elkader where they were greeted by Mayor Josh Pope and community members. Mayor Pope had recently returned from Algeria where he participated in the Abdelkader Award Program.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS! The AEP Board of Directors appreciates the generous support of: Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Algerian Embassy-DC, GGI-FILAHA, Shuttleworth and Ingersoll Law Firm, William and Mary Greve Foundation, CedarGraphics, Go Cedar Rapids Visitor Bureau, Inter-Religious Council of Linn County, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and Diversity Focus.

Enter Now...
2017 Adelkader Global Leadership Prize "Essay Contest"
Explore models of ethical leadership, moral courage, humanitarian conduct
ATTN: High School and College students across the United States
Abdelkader Education Project for contest details

Coming Soon...
2017 Adelkader Global Leadership Prize "Video Contest"
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 or contact   
Abdelkader Education Project
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Abdelkader Education Project · Edgewood Ave · Elkader, IA 52043 · USA

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