Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize

A Hero for Humanity


Essay / Podcast Contest

Deadline: March 15, 2020


Who can participate? Students enrolled at U.S. high schools and colleges, including home school students and exchange students.

Why participate? This global education initiative features important history with lessons for today. Learn about the Middle East and Islamic culture through the legacy of humanitarian Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883). His powerful and non-threatening example of Islamic leadership in compassion and highest moral values counters stereotypes and inspires learning about cultural literacy, civility, tolerance, and understanding.

Sign up today to participate. Explore models of ethical leadership, moral courage and humanitarian conduct. Submissions are due by March 15, 2020.

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To share or print our poster, click here.


Scholarship Awards

High School Students (1 st Place $1,000; 2 nd Place $750; 3 rd Place $500)
College Students (1 st Place $1,500; 2 nd Place $1,000; 3 rd Place $750)


Why is Emir Abdelkader important today? Abdelkader’s legacy serves as a model of cultural and religious diversity, harmony and respectful engagement. He was a freedom fighter whose ethical leadership, statesmanship and moral courage continue to inspire across the globe today. Respected from Missouri to Moscow to Mecca, Abdelkader was an Arab Muslim hero from Algeria and known as a courageous humanitarian, scholar, statesman, and warrior. He was admired by President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX and countless Muslims and non-Muslims from many nationalities, religions, and social classes. In 1846, an Iowa settlement was named in his honor. In 1860, he saved thousands of Christians in Damascus; and 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.” Emir Abdelkader is remembered as an esteemed humanitarian, ethical military leader and religious scholar, and a founding spirit of the International Red Cross. His relevance for our global society today transcends culture and faith traditions.


Contest Guidelines and Procedures

1) Educators: Become a mentor to guide one or more students or an entire class to encourage discussions. Ideal for AP, G/T and independent study students. Note: $300 will be awarded to the educator who mentors the most student entries that meet all qualifications. Click here to sign up.

2) Students: Identify your mentor for guidance then sign-up to participate. Final deadline for entries is March 15, 2020.

3) Read, Research & Examine: Abdelkader’s life of struggle during peace, war, imprisonment, and exile. Resources include but are not limited to… Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883) by John W. Kiser; The Compassionate Warrior by Elsa Marston; Emir Abdelkader: Hero and Saint of Islam by Ahmed Bouyerdene and more.

4) Choose One Format. Write an essay or produce a podcast interview script as your entry.

5) Topic for Entry: Reflect on Abdelkader’s life and address how his legacy can be applied today. What stands out in the Emir’s life as relevant to you in living your own life and what is relevant to our global society today?

6) Essay / Podcast Interview Script Requirements:

  • 1200-1500 words
  • Microsoft Word
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • Times New Roman/12 pt.
  • First/Last Name on each page
  • Please review judges’ Rubric

7) Submit Your Entry: by email to contests@abdelkaderproject.org

8) Submission Deadline: on or before March 15, 2020.


Questions? Please contact contests@abdelkaderproject.org.