… Such is the history of the man for whom our town is named. A scholar, a philosopher, a lover of liberty; a champion of his religion, a born leader of men, a great soldier; a capable administrator, a persuasive orator; a chivalrous opponent; the selection was well made, and with those pioneers of seventy years ago, we do honor The Shiek.
Class of 1915, Elkader (Iowa) High School
Each year, the Abdelkader Education Project hosts students, educators, community organizers, and other distinguished guests from across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond who travel to Elkader to take part in the city-wide event. The Forum, typically spanning two days, is put together to honor the winning students of the annual AEP essay competition in addition to commemorate the legacy of Elkader’s Muslim namesake: the widely-aclaimed Algerian statesman, scholar, and warrior, Emir Abdelkader.
The launch in Elkader of John Kiser’s book Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader produced a local essay contest to revive the memory of Elkader’s Algerian namesake. The contest, now in it’s fifth year, has state-wide and national participation and is in the process of reaching out to French students in Lyon and to friends and supporters in Algeria.
The Abdelkader Education Project promotes cultural literacy while reviving important lost history with relevance for today. Through “person-to-person diplomacy”, the Forum a unique opportunity to discover the unusual and exciting ways in which our own personal, local, and even national history is deeply intertwined across cultures, oceans, and languages.
From Elkader to Mascara to Lyon and beyond, join us this upcoming September for the next AEP Forum!
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Special thanks to our sponsors: Principal Financial Group, Embassy of Algeria in Washington DC, Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Opera House Players, and Friends of Abdelkader for their continued support.