November 2012 News Bulletin

Elkader, IA (photo: Claire Wright)

ABDELKADER GLOBAL LEADERSHIP PRIZE
ESSAY CONTESTS – SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS

High school and college students throughout the U.S. are invited to participate in essay contests that reflect on the contemporary meaning of the life of Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883). He was an Arab Muslim hero from Algeria admired by President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX and countless others of different nationalities, religions, and social classes. Abdelkader’s life is an inspiring legacy of ethical leadership, civility, moral courage and cross-cultural and interfaith understanding. Upon his death in 1883, The New York Times eulogized, “The nobility of his character won him the admiration of the world…He was one of the few great men of the century.” Today, Emir Abdelkader is remembered as an esteemed humanitarian, statesman, military leader, and religious scholar who respected all cultures and faiths.

What began as a contest for Iowa students in 2009 has grown throughout the U.S. as awareness of the relevance of studying about this man of great character has spread.

Essay Scholarship Prizes are offered with support from The Principal Financial Group:

  • 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 students (1st Place = $1,500; 2nd Place = $1,000)
Students are invited to compete for scholarships and enter a journey of discovery connecting cultures across centuries. Participants will:
  • Read the biography, Commander of the Faithful…The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883) by John W. Kiser. Information about Abdelkader and the author can be found at www.truejihad.com.
  • Examine Abdelkader’s life of struggle during peace, war, imprisonment, and exile.
  • Write a 1000-1200 word essay to broaden perspectives on historical, civic, global, cultural and interfaith awareness addressing points as listed on the AEP website.
Deadline for Essay Submissions: March 15, 2013
Contest details can be found on the AEP website.

Questions? Contact Kathy Garms, Project Director, at abdelkaderproject@gmail.com.

ABDELKADER STORY TO DES MOINES AREA
Drake University – The Comparison Project hosted John Kiser’s visit to central Iowa mid-November to tell about Emir Abdelkader and his relevance for today’s global society. Kiser’s public presentations included:

1) “Abdelkader, Iowa and Our World Today” at the Des Moines Public Library sponsored by the DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred Iowa International Center Dialogue Series.

2) “Muslim Footprints in Iowa: The Story of Emir Abdelkader” at Iowa State University (Ames) sponsored by the Niagara Foundation of Iowa, Society of Peace and Dialog, and Committee on Lectures.

3) “Loss and Suffering with Dignity: Abdelkader’s Jihad with France” at Drake University sponsored by The Comparison Project.

4) “Do we need to understand Jihad?” at Simpson College sponsored by their Religious Life Community Interfaith program, designed to provide opportunities for students to learn about various faith communities.

FRANCE TO HOST INTERNATIONAL ABDELKADER CELEBRATION
John Kiser and Kathy Garms are invited to France to celebrate Abdelkader’s life and significance for today with scholars and researchers from around the world. The City of Lyon and Alawi sufi organization are sponsoring the event to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the liberation of Emir Abdelkader (October 16th, 1852). It includes a two-day conference on the Saone River celebrating the route Abdelkader took on his way to Marseilles after being liberated by Napoleon III following five years of imprisonment. The French sponsors want to learn more about the Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests in the U.S. and how to adapt for French youth.

EMIR’S STORY GETS MORE EXPOSURE
Cambridge High School in Massachusetts and Boston College will include the Abdelkader story in their curriculum thanks to the dedicated work of AEP colleague Tamar Miller.

Eastern Mennonite College students in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will learn about the Abdelkader story and Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests from John Kiser on November 28.

Great Lakes Educator Conference hosted by Iowa Council for Social Studies was held in Des Moines recently where the Abdelkader Education Project was presented by Kathy Garms to educators from several states. Interest was shown in presenting AEP at other conferences.

Sister Cities International in Washington DC hosted the Midwest Regional SCI Conference “Diversity in Action” in Cincinnati in October. The Abdelkader Education Project and Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize national essay contests were introduced during the “Creating Global Classrooms” session.

Kinza Academy, California-based Muslim Home Schooling Association has contracted John Kiser to abridge Commander of the Faithful…The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader for 8-12 year olds.

Elsa Marston’s book about Emir Abdelkader and the French colonial experience for the young adult market will soon go to print.

Post-Doctoral Abdelkader Fellowship is now offered to researchers who can demonstrate how their chosen subject relates to the life of Emir Abdelkader as a model of moral leadership, learning, statesmanship, honor on the battlefield, and openness to all faiths. See University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture offers Abdelkader Fellowship.

Fetzer Foundation in Kalamazoo, Michigan. John Kiser has written a “white paper” on the relevance of Abdelkader’s life to matters of governance—focusing on themes of empathy and forgiveness.

AEP SUPPORT
THANK YOU TO PFG
We extend our continued gratitude to our founding sponsor, the Principal Financial Group for their farsighted early and stalwart support for the Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize. The essay contest began in Iowa and is now offered nationally.

WAYS TO SUPPORT THE ABDELKADER EDUCATION PROJECT
Sponsoring Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize (AGLP) essay contests demonstrates your company or foundation’s commitment to our shared future to globally savvy teachers and social and political leaders around the country and around the world. In addition, youth are our leaders of tomorrow and investing in their global education is crucial for a better understanding of the world around them.

Contact Kathy Garms at abdelkaderproject@gmail.com regarding questions about the project, to discuss how you can sponsor an Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize award or to discuss how you can support the Abdelkader Education Project in other ways. Become a “Friend of Abdelkader.”

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