Aakif Ahmad Kazi
Elinor Aishah Holland
Dr. Abd al-Hakim Jackson
Imam Zaid Shakir
Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli
Jihad Saleh Williams
Aakif Kazi Ahmad is a Fellow at Search for Common Ground USA, consulting with the Project on U.S.-Muslim Engagement, a major national initiative led by distinguished leaders across the U.S. to re-shape U.S foreign policy towards the Muslim world. He is also co-founder of Convergence, a U.S-based firm supporting national and international leaders in developing consensus-based solutions to issues of national and international policy. Previously, he was Managing Director of The Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB), providing best practices research, decision support tools, and executive education to a membership of the world's leading corporations and not-for-profit institutions. With CEB for the past twelve years, Mr. Ahmad was elected in 2002 to the firm's Policy Committee, which recognizes the firm’s top 40 leaders for their contribution and leadership. During his tenure he led sales organizations across Europe and North America and served as a member of the Executive Committee for Global Sales & Marketing. Mr. Ahmad is currently completing his Executive M.B.A from the Kellogg School of Management. He completed his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1996, earning his B.A. in an interdisciplinary program combining the study of philosophy, political science and economics. Mr. Ahmad is a Pioneer and Underwriter for Unity Productions Foundation. He serves on the Board of Directors for Muslim Advocates, a national organization providing leadership through legal advocacy, policy engagement and civic education. He serves on the Board of Directors for Muslim Public Service Network, a national organization supporting civic engagement among Muslim-American college undergraduates. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for 1Well, an organization promoting social venture capitalism within the U.S. to support life-sustaining projects in high need areas of the world.
Amer Ahmad is the Deputy State Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for the State of Ohio Treasury. Appointed by Treasurer Kevin L. Boyce, Amer has direct responsibility for state investments, debt issuances and custodial relationships for the State of Ohio. In addition to overseeing all operational functions of the Ohio Treasury, Amer is responsible for managing over $11 billion in state investments, including a large long-term fixed income portfolio and over $2.5 billion in a short-term liquidity portfolio; a $7 billion local government investment pool and over $150 billion in custodial assets for Ohio’s five pension systems. Amer’s team also manages over $9 billion in state debt obligations and collects over $16 billion per year in revenue on behalf of the state.
Prior to becoming a public servant, Amer was a Vice President at William Blair & Company, LLC , a middle-market investment banking firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. At William Blair, Amer worked in the Corporate Finance Department for seven years, in both the Consumer/Retail Group and the Financial Sponsors Group. Amer has also served as an advisor to the President of Estonia and worked at Wasserstein Perella & Co. in both New York and Tokyo.
Amer received his Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and his Bachelors degree in Political Science from Columbia University. As a college senior, Amer was a semi-finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.
Amer, an Ohio native, lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Samar Kaukab Ahmad, a graduate of the Ohio State University for both her law school and undergraduate degrees. Together they have two daughters.
Haaris Ahmad is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and social activist.
Haaris is the founder and president of iLEARNED Online, LLC an online tutoring company focused on K-12 education (www.ilearnedonline.com). He is also the co-founder and president of FindLocums, LLC, an online matching service for healthcare professional staffing (www.findlocums.com). As a strategic partner and representative for several healthcare information technology, operational, and consulting firms, Haaris is also working on multiple initiatives with various healthcare professionals and groups that are in the early stages.
Networking and sharing experience are important to Haaris; therefore, Haaris takes a keen interest in advising other entrepreneurs wherever helpful. Haaris co-founded the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM) and is the current president of the Board of Trustees. He also serves on the board of the Michigan Muslim Bar Association and Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan. In addition to his other activities, he has made many print and media appearances as well (30 Days, Arabs, Muslim and Islam, CNN, New York Times, WSJ, NPR, ABC, NBC, FOX) and he has consulted on media projects in various roles. Along with all of the other activities he is engaged in, Haaris is a practicing attorney in the areas of litigation, municipal/governmental policy, contracts, and real estate. He lives in Michigan with his wife Shirin Khan and his three daughters, Imani, Nia, and Jazaa.
Safir Ahmed currently serves as the Executive Director of the Zaytuna Institute in Berkeley, California, where he previously also served as the Editor in the Publications Department. Safir is also an independent book editor who has edited books on social and political issues. Among the authors he has edited are George Lakoff, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of DailyKos, the largest political blog in the nation, and Glenn Greenwald, who blogs at Salon.com.
Safir has an extensive background in media and politics, having spent 20 years as a journalist at both daily newspapers and as editor-in-chief of alternative weeklies and city magazines, as well as online news magazines. He has been an editorial consultant for news and public affairs web sites and has run writing workshops for faculty at California State University. He also served as Communications Director for a U.S. Senate candidate as well as for state Senators.
Shakil is a Managing Director at Citigroup. He joined in 2007 as the new Global Head of Quantitative Strategies, as well as Global Co-head of Electronic Trading. The first role covers both proprietary trading and hedge funds, while the second role includes the firm’s various electronic market-making businesses around the world, algorithmic trading, and various other areas. He spent thirteen years running the main proprietary trading businesses at Morgan Stanley, reporting directly to the president of the firm. He retired from day to day responsibilities in 2006 and become a Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley. After a year of retirement, when his former boss Vikram Pandit became CEO of Citigroup, he was sufficiently tempted by the big challenge that he decided to go back to work and join up with his former boss.
Shakil has a Ph.D., an M.Phil and an M.S. from Yale University in Computer Science. He also holds a Bachelor's in Computer Science with high distinction from the University of California, Berkeley.
Wajahat Ali is an American Muslim of Pakistani descent. His play, "The Domestic Crusaders [www.domesticcrusaders.com], is the first major play about the American Muslim experience originally premiering at the Thrust Stage of the Tony award winning Berkeley Repertory Theater to universal acclaim in 2005 and making its New York premiere on 9-11-09 at the world famous Nuyorican Theater.
He was honored as an "An Influential Muslim American Artist" by the State Department and invited to their Annual Ramadan dinner. He was also recently honored as a "Muslim Leader of Tomorrow" for his journalism work and invited to participate in the "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow" conference in Doha, Qatar. He is the recipient of Muslim Public Affairs Council's prestigious "Emerging Muslim American Artist" recognition of 2009.
He is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Counterpunch and Chowk.
His first short story, "Ramadan Blues," was published in January 2009 in the anthology "Pow Wow" published by Perseus/De Capo Press.
His first movie, "Ms. Judgments," was a finalist for the prestigious LinkTV Muslim American Film Contest.
His blog, "Goatmilk: An Intellectual Playground" (goatmilk.wordpress.com), is ranked in the top 7% of all political blogs and recently rated "Great" by blogged.com.
He is an Associate Editor of Altmuslim.com, the leading American Muslim online magazine; and a contributing editor to the award winning Illume Magazine (http://www.illumemagazine.org/).
He will be opening his Law office in May 2009.
Shahed Amanullah is an online journalist who is active in articulating the voice of American Muslims. As editor-in-chief of altmuslim.com, an online newsmagazine covering issues related to Islam in the West, Shahed writes and speaks regularly about the challenges and opportunities facing Islam in America. His work and writings have been featured in Newsweek, San Jose Mercury News, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC News, National Public Radio, Belief Net, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Voice of America. His television appearances include "Nightline with Ted Koppel", CNN Headline News, the "Today Show", and "Hannity & Colmes". Shahed is also the founder of Halalfire Media LLC (http://www.halalfire.com), a network of Islamic-themed websites with over 6 million annual visitors.
Hazami Barmada, is an independent consultant and contractor in Public and Cultural Diplomacy and Inter-religious Relations. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of issues revolving around citizen diplomacy, civic engagement, communications, community and leadership development, cultural relations and International affairs. Barmada consults with a diverse array of profit and not-for-profit organizations, private corporations and institutions.
Barmada plays a visible and active role in grassroots and community organizing promoting collaborations within interfaith and intercultural communities. She is the Founding President and Director of the Progressive Muslim Network (PMN), an apolitical organization that hosts an array of social, educational and volunteer initiatives that aims to promote intra/interfaith understanding and dialogue in the DC vicinity. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals, the 9/11 Unity Walk, and is an active member of Muslim Women in the Arts and the Network of Arab American Professionals. Barmada is an International Advisory Board member and Arab/Muslim world Liaison for the High Cloud Foundation.
Barmada earned degrees from Rhodes College in Anthropology and Sociology with a concentration in intercultural relations with Arab and Muslim communities. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public and Social Policy from Georgetown University.
Baseemah Bashir, MA, SPHR, is a Consulting Human Resources Manager, at The Beanstalk Consulting Group, with expertise in an array of HR functions including Training & Development, Performance Management, Employee Relations, Strategic Staffing and Retention. Ms. Bashir is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), both professional certifications granted by the Human Resources Certification Institute, which is associated with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Ms. Bashir has at her fingertips the pulse of current market trends in diversity and its effects in the corporate environment. In previous roles, she has held titles ranging from HR Generalist to Corporate HR Manager and National Recruiter within the insurance/financial services, consulting, retail/entertainment, and non-profit industries. She has worked for such notable organizations as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Blockbuster Video, INROADS, Amerada Hess Corporation, Bloomberg, Washington Group International and MetLife.
Ms. Bashir has served as the Chair of the Alumni Board of the New York City chapter of INROADS. She was responsible for creating and fostering avenues for mentoring of alumni to grow and develop professionally, build networks, and participate in corporate and community service projects. Ms. Bashir received a B.A. degree, cum laude, in social anthropology from Binghamton University and an M.A. degree in cultural theory anthropology from the New School for Social Research. As part of her thesis, she completed anthropological fieldwork in Ghana and Senegal, West Africa. She is a member of the Speaker's Bureau for Voices of Diversity and has served as a member of Howard University's Career Services Advisory Council in Washington, DC.
Fu’ad Butt is a Corporate Vice President for New York Life Insurance (NYL) Company. Fu’ad works for the Corporate Information Department (CID) which is NYL’s enterprise Information Technology group. He began his current position in 2003 after working with NYL’s International subsidiary. Fu’ad manages a team Business Account Managers who interface with different NYL lines of business to represent their future IT needs by reviewing long range business strategies. Fu’ad also manages a team responsible for executing marketing campaigns to NYL’s existing customers and future prospects. This team also coordinates the distribution of Sales Leads to NYL’s 10,000 domestic US agents.
Fu’ad joined NYL’s Corporate Information Department in 1998 as an Assistant Vice President responsible for creating an internal consulting unit designed to perform formal business case analyses on large IT projects. After successfully launching this team, Fu’ad worked with NYL’s International subsidiary from 1999 until 2003. During that time, Fu’ad was part of team responsible for leveraging intellectual capital in existing Asian markets to help start new operations – Fu’ad worked extensively in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and India.
Prior to joining NYL, Fu’ad worked for PNC Financial. From 1993 to 1995 Fu’ad worked on rotational assignments including Product Management, Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Customer Service. From 1995 to 1998 Fu’ad worked on special projects directly for the Chief Information Officer of PNC.
Fu’ad is a firm believer in continuing education. He is a 2009 graduate of Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development (PLD). In 2003, Fu’ad completed his Certificate of Professional Development from UPenn’s Wharton Business School. Fu’ad graduated from Virginia Tech with two bachelors degrees, in Finance and Economics. He then went on to receive his Masters in International Business from the Moore School of Business at University of South Carolina.
Fu’ad is involved in a number of volunteer efforts, including serving as the Chairperson of the Career Advancement Program (CAP) at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey. Fu'ad is on the Advisory Board for CAMP Philadelphia and is also on the Board of Directors for theMLink.com
Edible Arrangements is the industry leader of high quality, artistically designed fresh fruit arrangements. The 2009 recipient of the International Franchise Association’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Mr. Farid is responsible for setting the company's strategic direction and for the licensing of new franchises across the United States and internationally.
Mr. Farid launched the first Edible Arrangements® store in 1999 in East Haven, Connecticut, inspired by the convergence of three trends: Americans' growing consumption of fresh fruit, the robust growth in the specialty food market and the increasing dollars Americans were spending on gifts. For the past four years, Edible Arrangements® has been named one of America’s fastest-growing privately held businesses in America by Inc. magazine and one of the top franchise systems in Entrepreneur Annual Franchise 500® magazine.
The first Edible Arrangements® franchise opened in 2001 in Waltham, Massachusetts. In nine short years, Edible Arrangements ® has grown to over 800 stores located throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and opening soon in other international markets. Mr. Farid's involvement with franchisees has been very hands on. He still spends time in the corporate store in North Haven, Connecticut every week and travels the country visiting franchise locations to stay in regular contact with customers, the day-to-day realities of running a retail store and the marketplace's changing demands
In 2006, Mr. Farid also launched Frutation by Edible Arrangements®. Frutation® is an all natural fruit station that targets consumers’ who want a fresh and delicious treat on the go. The menu includes a variety of choices that are made fresh right in front of the customer, such as Fruithy® (fresh fruit smoothies), fresh juices, fruit salads, Frusala® (spiced fruit salads), fruit sundaes and chocolate dipped fruit.
Mr. Farid's entrepreneurial experience began in the late 1980s, when with a $5,000 cash advance from his parents, he purchased a local flower shop at age 17. Within two years, Mr. Farid was operating four highly successful stores.
Mr. Farid was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the U.S. at age 11. In addition to operating his three companies, Mr. Farid founded the Salma K Farid Academy, Foundation and Welfare Center. The Academy is a not-for-profit learning and community center for Muslims and others to provide support for those in need. Mr. Farid is also a member of Deen, Inc. New Haven, which aims to revitalize the inner-city neighborhood.
Suhail Farooqui is chief executive officer of Zarca Interactive. Prior to his current role, Suhail served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer for five years. Earlier, Suhail worked at MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR) where in a series of assignments he oversaw the deployment of Business Intelligence solutions and led the development of innovative solution for real-time alerts.
Suhail started his career in the research division of Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) where he worked as an associate research scientist. His findings in the areas of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Microgravity have been published in refereed journals. He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York and spent three years as a graduate student at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Tina Monshipour Foster is a human rights attorney based in New York City. She is the founder and Executive Director of the International Justice Network ("IJNetwork"), a legal advocacy organization working to protect human rights and promote justice around the globe. Ms. Foster has led IJNetwork's groundbreaking legal cases on behalf foreign nationals who have been illegally detained abroad as part of US-led counterrorism efforts. In April 2009, Ms. Foster won the first legal ruling from a US Court granting detainees held without charge by the US government at Bagram, Afghanistan the right to challenge their detention in US courts. The case, Maqaleh v. Gates, was the first of its kind on behalf of a foreign detainee held in U.S. custody outside of the United States or Guantanamo.
Ms. Foster also works closely with indigenous grassroots NGOs on IJNetwork's various human rights and rule of law projects in Asia and Africa. Through her work in Afghanistan, Yemen, Bahrain, the Philippines, and elsewhere, she has brought the plight of her clients and other victims of torture and illegal detention to the attention of the media, heads of state, members of parliament, representatives of the United Nations, and other foreign officials. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities, bar associations, and law firms throughout and her work has been featured in major national and international media outlets. In addition to her work with IJNetwork, Ms. Foster also currently serves as Litigation Strategy consultant to Yale Law School's National Litigation Project by facilitating collaborative efforts among human rights and civil liberties advocates nationwide. Ms. Foster builds upon the Lowenstein Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic's advocacy on behalf of individual clients who have been denied fundamental rights as a result of over-reaching national security policies.
Shabeena Gilani is currently a Vice-President at HSBC Securities (USA) and has extensive experience in investment banking technology. She joined HSBC in 2008 and is currently managing a foreign exchange e-commerce technology team. Prior to her current role she spent nearly seventeen years at JPMorgan Chase and was responsible for various foreign exchange trading systems. Shabeena started her career as a software developer at Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino, California before joining Chase Manhattan Bank in 1991.
Shabeena received her MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City. She lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and three children.Shabeena received her MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City. She lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and three children.
Elinor Aishah Holland holds a degree in Religious Studies from Temple University and studied Arabic at the University of Pennsylvania. Her passion and enthusiasm for calligraphy began during a visit to Istanbul as a teenager and has not ceased for many years. As a free lance lettering artist in Roman and Arabic scripts, her work includes all aspects of involvement with the art, including exhibiting, teaching, doing commercial and commission work. She has been a student of Master Calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya for many years, and travels to Turkey for additional tutelage as often as possible. Ms. Holland has also studied with top teachers in the Western tradition as well, and continues to further her craft and knowledge of calligraphy and related book arts and illumination at every opportunity. She teaches, presents and exhibits throughout the US and Canada. Clients include the Smithsonian Institute, The NY Public Library, Clinton Global Initiative, NY Society of Scribes, Long Island University. She resides with her family in the suburbs of New York City.
Dr. Karen Hunt-Ahmed is Assistant Professor of Finance and Management at DePaul University. Before receiving her Ph.D. from The University of Chicago, she worked in the banking sector in Chicago and for Shuaa Capital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her research interests include Islamic finance, globalization moral beliefs and business practice, ethical investing and the sociocultural implications of business practice. She is working on a book entitled: The “Business” of Culture: Morality and Practice in Islamic Finance. She is currently teaching Islamic Finance and Business Ethics at DePaul University’s College of Commerce, and is also on the advisory committee of DePaul’s Center for Financial Services. She is currently working with partners to establish the Chicago Islamic Microfinance Project.
Dr. Hunt-Ahmed received her BA and MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She lived in Dubai for many years and has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Pakistan, Africa and Europe. Her interests include karate and playing squash.
Rashad Hussain was appointed the Deputy Associate Counsel to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, in January 2009. Mr. Hussain recently served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to that, he was as a Law Clerk to Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hussain served as a legislative assistant on the House Judiciary Committee, where he reviewed legislation such as the USA Patriot Act. Mr. Hussain earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his Master's degree in Public Administration and in Arabic & Islamic Studies from Harvard University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Hussain's varied academic interests in international affairs, law, and security have been integral to his multifaceted approach to contemporary legal and public policy issues.
Mir Imran founded InCube Ventures and InCube Laboratories to focus on his passions: creating medical device solutions that change the standard of care in critical healthcare markets. Mir began his career as a med-tech entrepreneur in the late 1970’s, and has founded over 20 companies since those early days. Over the decades, he has become one of the world’s most successful inventors, entrepreneurs and investors in healthcare.
Mir now holds more than 200 issued patents – and is perhaps most well known for his pioneering contributions to the first FDA-approved Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. However Mir has invented a number of breakthrough devices that set new standards of care for their industries. Highlights include the world’s first EEG monitors, Trans-Urethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) procedures, embolic protection devices, ultrasound imaging and a host of other innovations that he commercialized through successful business ventures.
As an entrepreneur, Mir has founded over 20 medical device companies, including: Vidamed (acquired by Medtronic), Physiometrix (IPO 1996), Cardiac Pathways (IPO 1996), Advanced Cytomextrix (acquired by Oncotech 1997), Percusurge (acquired by Medtronic 2001), Reflow, Inc. (acquired 1999), Safeview (acquired by L3 2006) Intrapace ( founded 2001), Spinal Modulation (founded 2005) and Zonare (founded 1999).
As an investor, Mir serves as the Life Science Venture Partner for DFJ ePlanet, where he has led 9 investments in a range of promising ventures around the globe. In addition to his venture capital activities, Mir is an active angel investor, with a portfolio based around both medical and pharmaceutical ventures. Mir currently holds board seats with Bodymedia, Cardiovasc, Intrapace, Egeen International, Spinal Modulation, ZARS and Zonare.
Mir holds an MS in Bio-Engineering and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers, where he spent three years as a Research Specialist. Mir Imran is being inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni at an awards dinner and reception on May 2, 2009.
Zafar Iqbal is the Director of Product Management for E*TRADE Financial, where he is responsible for the strategy, development and delivery of a portfolio of products and channels to support the global Service and Sales organizations.
Prior to E*TRADE, Zafar worked as a consultant at clients including Citibank and Deutsche Bank where he was involved in the development and launch of first generation online banking, brokerage and mobile payments platforms in the US, Latin America and Asia. Zafar started his career in Public Accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he completed his CPA. He has a Bachelors degree in Accounting from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School (Ross) with an emphasis in Finance and Corporate Strategy.
Sherman (Abd al-Hakim) Jackson, a native of Philadelphia, received his Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in Oriental Studies –Islamic Near East in 1990. Presently, he is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Visiting Professor of Law, and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan. From 1987-89, he served as Executive Director for the Center of Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr. Jackson has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University and Wayne State University. In addition to numerous articles on Islamic law, theology and history, he is author of Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihâb al-Dîn al-Qarâfî (E.J. Brill, 1996), On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abû Hâmid al-Ghazâlî’s Faysal al-Tafriqa (Oxford, 2002) and, most recently, the controversial Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Towards the Third Resurrection (Oxford, 2005).
Dr. Jackson is co-founder of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), a primary instructor at its programs, and a member of its Board of Trustees. Dr. Jackson is also a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America, past president of the Sharî‘ah Scholars’ Association of North America (SSANA) and a past trustee of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). He is a sought-after speaker and has lectured throughout the US and in numerous countries abroad.
Working with IMAN since 2003, Asad had been able to create spaces that bring together thousands of leaders, artists, and community members to collectively celebrate and engage in diverse and creative artistic expression through IMAN's Community Cafe, Takin' it to the Streets festival, and Arts and Leadership Retreat. These spaces also allow for community members to utilize the arts as a tool for cross-cultural communication, civic engagement and social change.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Asad has created, curated, and presented original productions across many genres of music, theater, visual art, and dance. Asad also DJs under the moniker, Man-o-Wax and has played at venues and events across the country blending soulful and funky music from all over the world. One of Asad's more recent projects is Turntable Dhikr, a fusion of traditional and contemporary music from dedicated to the Most High with the DJ and turntables as the foundation.
Asad's fusion of art and social change through innovative mediums has been recognized through out the country, especially in the Hip Hop Community. He holds a position on the National Office of the Hip Hop Congress, and is member of the Universal Zulu Nation. Asad hopes to use his experience and holistic approach to social justice in working with communities across the globe.
Aly Kassam-Remtulla is a Rhodes Scholar who advises non-profit organizations and foundations on strategy, board development and foundation relations. Recent clients include Human Rights Watch, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Childrens Investment Fund Foundation. Until 2007, Aly was a Program Officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the ten largest philanthropic organizations in the United States. While at MacArthur he made more than $60 million in direct grants.
In addition to his experience in philanthropy, Aly has worked for an investment bank, executive search firm, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, and on a political campaign for U.S. Senate. He is also on the National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the world’s largest public interest law firm, and a newly elected member of the Board of the Oxford University Society, an association representing Oxford’s 150,000 alumni. He serves on several other boards including the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University and QuestBridge, a non-profit organization that helps low-income students attend elite colleges.
Born in Kenya and raised in Canada, Aly has a bachelor’s degree with Honors and with Distinction from Stanford University. At Balliol College, Oxford University he obtained a master’s degree in Refugee Studies and an MBA. He is currently a doctoral student in higher education at Oxford, and a Visiting Scholar at both Columbia and New York University. He has been featured in BusinessWeek, Chicago Tribune, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the South Asian Philanthropy Project.
Sumaya Kazi, 26, is an internationally recognized innovator, leader, and award-winning entrepreneur. She serves as the Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief at The CulturalConnect, an online media publishing company dedicated to young professionals around the world. For her passion and success around her entrepreneurial endeavors, Sumaya has been recognized by BusinessWeek as one of America's "Best Young Entrepreneurs," CNN as a "Young Person Who Rocks," and by ColorLines Magazine as an "Innovator to Watch." She was also spotlighted by Newsweek Magazine in a cover story on Islam In America as an "American Dreamer" and was recently honored to join Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus in a 'Meeting of the Minds.' She frequently keynotes at universities and business conferences around the world on topics of entrepreneurship and bridging the non-profit community with other industries.
In her spare time, Sumaya works full-time as Senior Social Media Manager for the Global Communications group at Sun Microsystems. Additionally, she serves as a high school entrepreneur mentor for BUILD.org, a social venture that empowers under-resourced students to excel in education and succeed professionally. Sumaya graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in marketing and strategic planning. She is a Bangladeshi-American residing in San Francisco.
Saeed Khan teaches Islamic and Middle East and History, Islamic Civilizations and History of Islamic Political Thought. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy, and has taught at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan and at Eastern Michigan University. In addition, he is the Founder and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding: a Michigan-based Think Tank promoting the study and analysis of US social and domestic policy. With areas of focus including US policy, globalization, Middle East and Islamic Studies, as well as genomics and bioethics, Mr. Khan has been a contributor to several media agencies, such as C-Span, NPR, Voice of America and the National Press Club, as well as newspapers and other outlets, and is also a consultant on Islamic and Middle East affairs for the BBC. In addition, he has served as consultant to the US-Arab Economic Forum.
His current research focuses on Muslim identity politics, especially among Muslim youth, in the United States and in Great Britain. He also examines the creation of new Muslim spaces in society as an alternative to existing Muslim institutions such as mosques and Islamic schools.
His study on the “Impact of the Iraq Crisis upon the Interaction of Detroit’s Iraqi Religious Communities” as part of the Harvard Pluralism Project has received international attention. He serves as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of State and the Government of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Khan is currently completing his PhD in History at Wayne State University, from where he holds a Masters Degree in Near East Studies. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Medieval Literature from University of Michigan (1989) and a Law Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School (1992). He is Treasurer of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists and a member of the Middle East Studies Association and the American Academy of Religion.
Suhail Khan is a political and government affairs consultant with experience serving on Capitol Hill, the Executive Branch including the White House, political campaigns, and on the boards of various advocacy organizations.
Suhail served as Policy Director and Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA). After the 2000 elections, he aided the White House Office of Public Liaison in the President’s outreach to the conservative, think-tank, military & veteran and Asian-American communities.
From 2002 to 2009, Suhail served at the U.S. Department of Transportation in various capacities. For his leadership in the passage of the Administration’s $284 Billion Surface Reauthorization Legislation (SAFETEA-LU), Suhail was awarded the Secretary’s Team Award in 2005. He was awarded the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2007. Suhail also successfully served as a Presidential E.O. Project Champion for the Georgia 411 Connector where the Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in October, 2008.
Suhail serves on the Board of the American Conservative Union, the Indian American Republican Council, the Muslim Public Service Network and the Islamic Free Market Institute. Suhail is a Senior Fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding at the Institute for Global Engagement, an organization dedicated to promoting religious freedom. Suhail has been instrumental in organizing educational forums, seminars, receptions and conferences on issues ranging from political participation, national defense, faith, and religious freedom.
Farhana Khera is the president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and educational organization dedicated to promoting freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of faith. Prior to joining Muslim Advocates in 2005, Ms. Khera was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution. She worked for six years for Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, where she advised the Senator on civil rights and civil liberties, including the USA PATRIOT Act, racial and religious profiling, and other issues raised by the government’s anti-terrorism policies since September 11, 2001.
Prior to the Senate, Ms. Khera was an associate with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson and prior to that, with the law firm of Ross, Dixon & Masback, where her work as the lead associate on several pro bono employment discrimination cases resulted in the firm being honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
In 2008, Ms. Khera was honored by the Auburn Theological Seminary with its Lives of Commitment Award, along with former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Barbara Friedman. The Minority Bar Coalition of San Francisco awarded Ms. Khera with its Unity Award in 2008. She has also been recognized by Islamica Magazine as one of “10 Young Muslim Visionaries,” for leadership, innovative approaches and “a level of success that bodes well for America.”
Ms. Khera received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her J.D. from Cornell Law School.
Kate Kroeger oversees the grants AJWS makes to over 400 community-based human rights and development organizations in 36 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. She joined AJWS in October of 2004 to manage the grants portfolio in South Asia, which includes NGOs working on long term development as well as relief and recovery after the Indian Ocean tsunami, and subsequently held the position of Associate Director from 2005 to 2007.
Prior to working with AJWS, Kate was the Senior Manager of the NetAid World Schoolhouse, now an initiative of Mercy Corps, which encompassed community-based organizations focusing on education in 14 different countries throughout the developing world.
Kate also spent several years in India (1997-2001), working with local and international organizations in community development. She was an Aga Khan Foundation fellow in Rajasthan and spent two years in Maharashtra with Prasad Chikitsa, an international NGO.
Previously, Kate worked for the Office of Population Affairs, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, and in the House of Representatives as a congressional intern, where she focused on U.S. foreign policy in Asia and the Pacific.
Kate holds a B.A. in North American Studies and Asian Religions from McGill University in Montreal, where she was a McConnell Fellow; a Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics; and a Masters in Management of International Public Service Organizations from New York University, where she was a Robert F. Wagner Public Service Scholar.
In addition to her work at AJWS, Kate has been a Fellow at the Aspen Institute and The American Assembly’s Next Generation Project, and is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Kate is fluent in both French and Hindi.
Alexander Kronemer, co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation is a frequent writer and lecturer on religious diversity, Islamic awareness and cross-cultural communication. He has a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University.
Mr. Kronemer has published essays in numerous newspapers and journals, including the Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post.
He’s lectured to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Harvard, Nike, Aetna, and Disney.
He has appeared as a CNN commentator on several occasions, including during CNN’s historic live coverage of the Hajj in 1998
In 2000, Mr. Kronemer served a one-year appointment at the Bureau of Human Rights in the U.S. State Department focusing on U.S. foreign policy and Islam.
Mr. Kronemer is the Executive Producer of Unity Productions Foundation, including the films: Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, A Prince Among Slaves: The True Story of an African Prince Enslaved in the American South, Allah Made Me Funny: The Official Muslim Comedy Tour, On a Wing and a Prayer: An American Muslim Learns to Fly, Talking through Walls: How the Struggle to Build a Mosque United a Community, and the forthcoming film, Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think (working title).
Nadia Roumani is the Director of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, a faith-based leadership training and civic engagement program that strengthens young leaders in the Muslim community working towards the full participation of Americans in public life. AMCLI is housed at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, and works in partnership with Georgetown’s Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
In addition to her work with AMCLI, Nadia is the consultant program officer for the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program, and the Principal of Roumani Consulting LLC. Nadia consults regularly for several international organizations, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. Among others, she has consulted for the World Bank, UNDP, Ashoka-Innovators for the Public, Oxfam America, the Brookings Institution, the Four Freedoms Fund, the Carnegie Corporation, the Rothschild Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Nadia was the interim director for the Women Leaders Intercultural Forum, and a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, where she co-founded the Global Policy Innovations Program. Between 2000 and 2004, Nadia was the Assistant Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a project directed by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and a junior associate in Stiglitz’s office at the World Bank from 1999-2000.
Nadia is the President of the Board of Directors of the Muslim Public Service Network; a Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy; and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Nadia received her master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and her bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from Stanford University.
Imran is currently a managing director at Starwood Hotels & Resorts specifically involved with W brand. W is Starwood’s luxury boutique brand. Imran is responsible for setting up and facilitating operational strategy for these hotels while delivering a flawless experience to guests, associates, and shareholders. Prior to W, Imran was instrumental in Starwood's undertaking to become a world class sales organization as a director of sales strategy. He led a multitude of sales initiatives surrounding the sales process to streamline and optimize them. Imran is a highly motivated and dedicated individual who can set direction for individuals and teams to achieve their full potential. Imran is best known amongst his peers for thinking “outside of the box”.
Imran has a very extensive background. This background can be attributed to his time spent with GE Energy in Six Sigma and E-business as well as his experience in the United States Army, where he was deployed overseas for part of 2003 and 2004. He completed his undergraduate studies at University at Albany in Biology and Computer Science in 2000. Later in 2006 he completed his MBA in Hospitality Management from Cornell University . His professional and academic backgrounds, along with his sincere interest in helping others and strong inter-personal skills have enhanced his sensitivity to a diverse range of cultures. In his free time Imran can be found playing an active role in social forums as well as working with several non-profit organizations by volunteering his time.
Imam Zaid Shakir is amongst the most respected and influential Islamic scholars in the West. As an American Muslim who came of age during the civil rights struggles, he has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty issues and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work.
Born in Berkeley, California, he accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force. He obtained a BA with honors in International Relations at American University in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he led a successful campaign for disinvestment from South Africa, and co-founded a local Islamic center, Masjid al-Huda.
Archana Sahgal is Director of The Civic Engagement Fund for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), a funders’ collaborative designed to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations serving Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. Prior to the Fund, she directed the Color of Democracy Fund, an initiative of the Progressive Era Project, and was a Fellow at The San Francisco Foundation. Before entering the philanthropic sector, Archana served as a law clerk with the Equal Justice Society, National Voting Rights Institute, the King Hall Immigration Detention Project, and the Asian Law Caucus and as a research assistant to Bill Ong Hing and Cruz Reynoso. Prior to law school, Archana worked in Washington , DC at M&R Strategic Services, a government relations firm, and with EMILY’s List and at Clinton/Gore ’96 in Los Angeles . Archana received her J.D. from University of California at Davis School of Law and B.A. from Claremont McKenna College . She also sits on the Board of Directors of Californians for Justice and the Advisory Board of the Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education at the Asian Law Caucus. She is a member of the California State Bar.
Rubina thrives on being a catalyst between creative forces. She sees her life, spontaneous and considered, as her artistic medium. Always exploring, Rubina lives from the inside out and follows her soul around.
The desire for diverse creative experiences led Rubina to the freelancer’s life in New York where she organizes programs in the cultural, civic and non-profit arenas. She been a part of events ranging from Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Yonkers, the Millennium Development Goals Awards at the UN General Assembly, and the award-winning Floating Pool and Beach at Brooklyn Bridge Park. She launched the South Asian International Film Festival in 2004, and has worked in various capacities on countless other music, film, and art events.
Rubina has written for RAVE SQ, a South Asian lifestyle magazine and appeared in the PBS Documentary "Prayer in America." Contracted by the Village Voice, Rubina is presently curating the video exhibit at the Obie Awards reception.
Rubina spent the winter of 2005 in a tent at a relief camp providing aid to earthquake refugees in the NWFP, Pakistan. While there, she shot footage on the politics of altruism. In the mountains of Azad Kashmir she funded shelters for the village Khwaas. Naming her group of private donors "American Friends of Khwaas," she spoke of their concern for the victims on the local radio station. Upon her return, she spoke along with Sir Ben Kingsley at the Relief International fundraiser in New York City.
Rubina has Bachelor's degrees in Philosophy and Writing-Intensive English and a Law degree from Marquette University. She grew up in a conservative Muslim immigrant community in the Midwest. She has a keen interest in the development of personal and artistic identity, in the Islamic emphasis on tolerance and “ijtehad” (scriptural interpretation,) and in the challenges and opportunities of her generation’s place in history.
Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as her Senior Adviser for women’s empowerment. In this capacity, she highlighted the importance of Women’s Empowerment as an element of U.S. foreign policy and designed programs to implement that goal. As part of her portfolio, she spearheaded the efforts of the Secretary’s Women Leaders’ Working Group comprised of nearly forty foreign ministers and heads of state. The Women Leaders’ Working Group was focused on women’s empowerment through four specific areas: political participation; economic empowerment; education; and issues relating to justice for women. In her multifaceted outreach efforts on behalf of the Secretary of State, she was especially focused on engaging women of the Muslim world.
Prior to this, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli most recently served as the Secretary’s Senior Adviser on United Nations reform. She engaged the UN Secretary General and Secretariat as well as other UN member states on UN reform efforts. From 2003 to 2005 Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations at the National Security Council. Prior to that she was Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where she was the founding Director of the South Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Institute. From 1993 to 1995 she was a senior fellow at the Center of International Studies at Princeton University. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was appointed Alternate United States Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs serving from 1990 to 1993. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli also served as Director of Political Military Affairs and then as Director of Near East and South Asian Affairs from 1984 to 1989 with the National Security Council staff. From 1982 to 1984, Tahir-Kheli was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.
During her career of service, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was Head of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2001; she was appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and she served on the Presidential Commission on Public Service from 1992 to 1993.
Ambassador Tahir-Kheli has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jihad Saleh Williams is a Legislative Assistant in the United States Congress. His policy coverage focuses on education and homeland security. Along with his policy duties, Jihad is the Program & Outreach Coordinator for the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association (CMSA). He is often an invited speaker at public forums or media programs focused on the Muslim American community. Jihad's areas of specialization are Muslim youth and young professional civic engagement; the influence of Muslim Americans in public affairs institutions; and Inter- and Intra-faith dialogue.
Jihad is an advocate of Muslim organizations that positively impact the lives of all Americans through civic education, community activism, and political participation for social justice. As an Alumnus of the Muslim Public Service Network's (MPSN) Washington D.C. Fellowship Program, Jihad continues to serve as a Curriculum Adviser. MPSN's curriculum and networking events develops Fellows’ abilities to effectively engage governmental, public affairs, and political institutions within the United States. Jihad is also a member-adviser in the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) network that promotes pluralism, civic engagement, and inter-faith dialogue through leadership development and intra-faith professional networking.
Jihad has earned Masters degrees from Stanford University School of Education and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. He is a past recipient of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute Fellowship at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Jihad is a native of Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA for undergraduate studies and then taught special education for several years at an inner-city high school prior to graduate studies. Jihad has earned Masters degrees from Stanford University School of Education and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. He is a past recipient of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute Fellowship at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Jihad is a native of Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA for undergraduate studies and then taught special education for several years at an inner-city high school prior to graduate studies.
Amira oversaw and managed its development from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Her training and international experience in art collection and evaluation, publishing, literary translation and linguistics, real estate management and construction, together with her legal expertise, were crucial in creating a new, iconoclastic arts institution on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manhattan. The Dahesh Museum’s currently traveling exhibitions and programs are bridging the cultural gap between East and West, providing thus a neutral forum for international dialogue in a language accepted by all—Art.
Functioning as Project Manager on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Ms. Zahid put the fledgling museum on solid footing. It was incorporated in 1987, and opened its doors in 1995 to critical acclaim. Over the years, Ms. Zahid oversaw its expansion, relocation and subsequent renovation to the former IBM Art Gallery in Manhattan, where the Museum was housed from 2002 to 2007.
Amira is also a spokesperson for the 10-day Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas festival to be held in June 2009 in New York City. The festival is co-sponsored and organized by Asia Society, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the NYU Dialogues project.
Shireen Zaman is the Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership. At Vital Voices, she manages a multi-country program focusing on the development of public-private partnerships and corporate responsibility initiatives to support women’s progress in the region. This program focuses especially on family violence, women’s health and economic development. She also works on supporting the MENA Businesswomen’s Network, whose goal is to increase the number of women in business, increase the value of their businesses, advance the role of women in society, and promote a regional culture of women's entrepreneurship across the MENA region. Shireen has also worked on developing programs focusing on women’s role in peace building in Israel/Palestine and a transnational program focusing on women’s rights in the region.
She completed her Masters degree at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC in 2006 where she focused on democracy issues and the Muslim World. Shireen has worked with the Office of Iraq Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State where she focused on Iraqi women and civil society development. She also worked with the international non-profit Women Waging Peace. Shireen has lived in Egypt, where she attended the Arabic Language Institute at the American University based in Cairo and worked with the Transnational Broadcast Studies journal there. She holds a B.A. in Human Development from Boston College. She completed her Masters degree at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC in 2006 where she focused on democracy issues and the Muslim World. Shireen has worked with the Office of Iraq Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State where she focused on Iraqi women and civil society development. She also worked with the international non-profit Women Waging Peace. Shireen has lived in Egypt, where she attended the Arabic Language Institute at the American University based in Cairo and worked with the Transnational Broadcast Studies journal there. She holds a B.A. in Human Development from Boston College.