Transcending Boundaries. Exemplifying Virtue.

“What the Abdelkader Education Project offers is much more than an essay prize. It offers students a chance to engage with a narrative of history not often discussed in Western classrooms, and one that is crucial to develop a comprehension of the many variegated ways that the “West” intersects with the “East” and vice-versa. Especially today – in a time where mistrust, ignorance, and violence abounds – Emir Abdelkader’s legacy provides a useful model for how global relationships might be rethought and restructured to better suit us all.”
- Brandon Jennings, 2012 Essay Winner

Reviving the story of Abd el-Kader: A leader for all times.

Emir Abd el-Kader was…

  • a man of civility, compassion, zest for learning, moral courage, self-restraint;
  • a famous nineteenth-century Arab Muslim scholar-soldier-statesman and humanitarian;
  • admired by President Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Pope Pius IX, French generals and former prisoners;

The emir was respected from the Missouri Territory to Moscow to Mecca. 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.”


The Abd el-Kader Education Project…

  • seeks to renew public awareness of a great personality who possessed many needed qualities in short supply today;
  • provides learning tools and curriculum materials to help educators incorporate Abd el-Kader’s story and his example in today’s classroom.

The initial spark for the Abd el-Kader Project came in the form of a biography written by John W. Kiser. Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader sensitively combines the political, historical and ethical dimensions of Abd el-Kader’s life.

Why did President Lincoln honor Abd el-Kader?

Why was a town in Iowa named after Abd el-Kader?

Different Voices on Abd el-Kader’s Importance Today…

Emir Abdelkader’s strong moral character has had the most effect on my life. Reading about his life has helped me come to see Muslims in a whole new light, and I only wish that I could show others my new perspective as well.

- Bob Spielbauer, 2011 Elkader High School essay winner

Though much of the Western world did not respect or understand Muslim culture, there was something different about the Emir. He sits high in the ranks of a rare, dying breed of men – men with the courage to risk everything in order to gain everything. Even though he lost battles – indeed, even lost the war for Algerian independence – Abd el-Kader won a greater and more timeless war. He fought a struggle to capture the world’s hearts and minds, and emerged decisively victorious.

- Cole Crawford, Dubuque (1st Place, 2011 Essay Contest)

… 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

A fascinating figure, Abd el-Kader was a man of God who put his religion into practice and served as a bridge between the European and Islamic worlds. We have much to learn from his life.

- Susan Eisenhower, author of Mrs. Ike

[Abd el-Kader]’s real value for interfaith dialogue is that he is a devoutly conservative Muslim. In a way, this is who we should be negotiating with.

- David McAllister-Wilson, President, John Wesley Seminary

Abd el-Kader lived by a chivalric code steeped in the Arab concept of honor [in] a time when Arab warriors embodied the noblest attributes of knighthood: courage, compassion and restraint.

- Steve Simon, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Muslims and non-Muslims alike need to be reminded of the courage, compassion and intellect of Emir Abd el-Kader. His conduct in war, in prison and in exile represent the true concept of jihad [which] provides Muslims with a much-needed antidote to the toxic false jihads of today dominated by anger, violence and politics.

- Hassan bin Talal, Prince of Jordan

Emir Abd el-Kader’s Seal