2016 AEP Forum

7th Annual Abdelkader Education Project (AEP) Forum

A Beacon of Hope: Emir Abdelkader

Yesterday’s Muslim Hero Matters Today

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 (9:00-3:00pm)

Location: Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA

9:00-1:00pm – SEMINARS AND NETWORK LUNCH (pre-registration required)

AEP 2015 Forum

8:15-9:00am Registration & Refreshments
9:00-9:30am Welcome & Introductions
9:30-11:00am ABDELKADER: A Model for Global Education & Outreach – Concurrent Seminars

Track #1 – Global Education: Teaching Tolerance, Civility, and Understanding

Examine new educational tools, methods, curriculum, and decision-based case studies designed for the classroom to inspire students, engage educators, and all who are interested. Discover how Emir Abdelkader’s life story of ethical leadership, civility, and understanding transcends culture and faith traditions to enhance global education for today.

  • Marcia Powell/Karla Duff – AEP Curriculum: Tolerance & Acceptance and more – grades 5-12, IA
  • Tamar Miller, Consultant – Harvard Pluralism Project Case Study: Ethical Leadership – high school/college, MA
  • Ameena Jandali – Islamic Networks Group: Abdelkader Curriculum – high school/college, CA
  • Kathy Garms – Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize Essay Contests – high school/college, IA
  • Mark Rhodes – Decorah High School History Teacher & Abdelkader Essay Advocate, IA

Track #2 – Outreach: The Human Face of Islam – Emir Abdelkader

Explore cultural expectations, perspectives, and strategies that promote healthy diversity in the work place. Distinguished guests will address Abdelkader’s values that inspire relevant and important dialog for building respect and understanding in a civil society. It is designed for people in business, human resources, government, law enforcement, faith-based organizations, plus curious, engaged citizens.

  • John W. Kiser – AEP co-founder, writer and a pioneer who introduced advanced Russian technology and know-how to the United States during the 1980’s and early nineties, challenging many stereotypes about dealing with Communist Russia. After selling his business and spending a year in France in 1995, he wrote two books about the French-Algerian love hate relationship that festers today: The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith Love and Terror in Algeria, (St. Martin’s Press 2002), and Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader – A Story of True Jihad (Monkfish Books 2008). His launch of Commander in Elkader Iowa led to the founding of the Abdelkader Education Project in 2009 with Kathy Garms. His books open new horizons for readers who only know about Muslims from the media. John has degrees from University of North Carolina (history), Columbia University (European history) and University of Chicago (business) and an honorary diploma from the Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Science. He is a member of the board of directors of The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (DC), Religions for Peace (NYC) and Faith and Culture Center (Nashville). He is also the Chairman of the Board of the William and Mary Greve Foundation, a private family foundation (NYC). An adjunct instructor at Marine Corps University in Quantico VA and contributor to the Marine Corps Gazette, John also raises pigs on his farm in The Piedmont.
  • Raphael Danziger, Ph.D. – Abdelkader scholar and author in Washington DC, joined AIPAC in 1990 as Director of Research and Information, and in 1992 became Editor-in-Chief of AIPAC’s biweekly newsletter, Near East Report. He is Senior Research Advisor at AIPAC’s Policy and Government Affairs department and Near East Report’s Editor-in-Chief Emeritus. During the 1980s he was a foreign policy analyst at the American Jewish Congress. Previously, he taught modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Haifa in Israel, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Danziger was a visiting fellow at Princeton University and a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs at the Hudson Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton, M.A. from University of Washington, and B.A. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published a book on Emir Abdelkader, “Abd al-Qadir And The Algerians”, and many articles on the Middle East and North Africa, and his op-eds have appeared in the New York Times and other leading newspapers. He has lectured extensively on the Middle East, and was interviewed on the PBS MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour and other news programs.
  • Mark Danner – Through his company Locus Strategic Insights, Mark provides business risk management services to internat’l companies seeking to invest in the housing/infrastructure sector in Egypt. He is actively engaged in building a culture of engagement with Muslims and the Islamic world through various collaborative initiatives. Mark has served as risk management and security expert for Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Security and Business Continuity group in NYC, and with US Government Executive Branch, where he specialized in Middle East political affairs, international science and technology programs, and protection of US critical national infrastructures. Mark was born in Morocco and is the third generation to begin his professional career in North Africa. He received his Master’s Degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and pursued Arabic language and Islamic studies in Cairo, Egypt. Mark is a leader in the international Catholic lay movement (Communion and Liberation) that has led such bridge building initiatives as the Cairo Encounter cultural festival, and is organizing the 2018 New York Encounter cultural festival which will present reflections on the prophet Abraham by representatives of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.


Participants of morning seminars will gather to recap discussions and open Q&A with presenters.

Noon-1:00pm NETWORK LUNCH ON-SITE (pre-registration required)


JOIN IN CELEBRATING AND HONORING the Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contest winners. College and high school students will be awarded prizes and share what they discovered about Abdelkader’s life story and its impact on their own lives. A cross-section of inspiring voices of all ages from across the U.S. and beyond will also recall Emir Abdelkader’s legacy with significance for today’s global society. Discussions and networking opportunities follow the program. Details to follow.


Mother Mosque Tour (4-5:00pm)

Post-AEP Forum Dinner (5:30-7:30pm)


Just 90 minutes north of Cedar Rapids on Hwy 13. A group tour is being arranged, please indicate on the registration form if you would like to participate. You are also encouraged to explore Elkader anytime on your own, it is charming in every season! Details TBA.