2015 Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests are open to high school and college students across the U.S. with monetary scholarship awards and honors presented at both levels. Read, reflect and write an essay that is timely and relevant for today’s troubled world. Find contest details on the Abdelkader Education Project website. Essays must be submitted before April 15, 2015.  In the words of Ben Bernatz, past essay winner, “In Emir Abdelkader, I found a counter example for many of the beliefs about Islam that are a part of the political and social discourse of our nation. Abdelkader was undeniably Muslim. However, his Islam was one where people were dedicated to their communities. It was one where people were charitable, hospitable, humble, and wise.”
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday…September 19, 2015
2015 Abdelkader Education Project Forum (7th Annual) – Elkader, IA USA
R. Vincent Taylor of Chicago consults with large companies on design and operation of commercial and legal functions. He serves on the board of the Student Conservation Association and is recently retired from the senior ranks of Accenture, a Fortune 500 global consulting firm. He has worked across the globe, experiencing different cultures and varying approaches to resolving differences and achieving success through collaboration and teamwork. Vince is a lawyer and accountant by education and practice, and a graduate of Duke Law School and Lemoyne College. 
Chuck Montgomery of Des Moines is Senior Managing Attorney for MidAmerican Energy Company (a Berkshire Hathaway company) and serves on the board of PYXERA Global, a national NGO that conducts global engagement and development projects in more than 90 countries. He has been one of the leaders of Center for Citizen Diplomacy’s involvement in the Arab Fellowship Program, a partnership with Young Arab Leaders, Business for Diplomatic Action and others in hosting young Arab business people in the U.S. Chuck is on the board of CultureAll and a graduate of University of Iowa Law School. 
Dr. Belgacem Haba of Saratoga, CA joined Google Data Center Platform as senior staff in 2013. Prior, he was VP and Senior Fellow at Tessera; co-founded Silicon Pipe, Inc., a high-speed interconnect start-up-company based in the Silicon Valley that was acquired by Samsung; managed R&D division at Rambus; worked for NEC Central Research Laboratories in Tokyo, Japan; and worked for IBM Watson Research Center in New York. Haba holds Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Stanford University in the field of solar energy along with other degrees. He co-founded the Haba-Boudia Foundation and is on the board of the Algerian American Foundation. 
John Kiser was invited to teach a five-week course in early 2015 for officers at Marine Corps University (Command and Staff College) in Quantico, VA. The course titled, “France in Algeria, Lessons for the U.S. in the Muslim World,” explored the role of cultural competence, character and building right relationships on and off the battlefield. Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader was one of the core reading assignments. Officers’ evaluations of the course were very positive.  CASE STUDY – EMIR ABDELKADER: RUMORS IN DAMASCUS
AEP is collaborating with Merrimack College Center for Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations in North Andover, MA, in association with Harvard’s Pluralism Project, on the case study entitled, “Emir Abdelkader: Rumors in Damascus.” This case study is available for people to examine events leading up to Emir Abdelkader’s intervention in 1860 to save Christian lives in Damascus. Visit the Harvard Pluralism Project website and click “Rumors in Damascus,” cases A and B. PAKISTAN – “KISER SCOUTS”
Nazir Khan of Indian Kashmir is founder of the Indian Kashmiri Scouts and announced the formal launch of “KISER SCOUTS” (with units for boys and girls) during November 2014. Khan was inspired by John Kiser’s biography Commander of the Faithful which led to the creation of a small cadre of English reading student scouts who will read the book and write an essay. Khan is ordering Urdu versions of Commander from Pakistan. ING – ABDELKADER GOES ‘ONLINE’
Islamic Networks Group (ING), an educational outreach organization in San Jose, released a new online curriculum for high school and college students. The curriculum, “Emir Abdelkader: A Muslim Hero for our Time,” includes a digital presentation with five lesson plans and draws upon John Kiser’s book, Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader. Learn more at
Dr. Ahmed Achrati, Academic Director of the Summer Arabic Program at Georgetown University, and adjunct faculty in Anthropology Department at Howard Community College, Columbia, MD, invited John Kiser for the second year to speak at his summer course for high school students, titled “Fundamentals of Arabic.” Kiser’s presentation on the Commander also included participation and interaction through Skype with student winners of the Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests.
The Arabic translation of John Kiser’s biography Commander of the Faithful, funded by the US Embassy-Algiers, has been completed by Yasmina Binbrinis (U of Oran, Algeria). Publishers are being sought for both Arabic and French versions of the book. USA “COUNTRY OF HONOR” AT ALGIERS INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR
Dr. Ismael Chikhoune, CEO/president of US-Algeria Business Council (USABC), invited John Kiser and Kathy Garms as cultural ambassadors in May to present AEP, along with Roger Buchholz and Keith Garms of Elkader Iowa. Following several days in Algiers, the delegation was hosted in Mascara (Elkader’s Sister City) by Wali Ouled Salah Zitouni and Abdelmalek Sahraoui, president of the Abdelkader Association. The group toured “In the Footsteps of the Emir” and participated in the University of Mascara “Abdelkader Conference,” which has led to collaboration with the intent to promote knowledge and impact of Emir’s life story around the world. MAY 2014 AEP FORUM – “CONNECTING CULTURES, COUNTERING EXTREMISM”
Elkader honored 2014 Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay winners from Massachusetts, Iowa, University of Nebraska, and Eastern Mennonite University. Keynote Daisy Khan of NYC addressed “Emir Abdelkader – A True Muslim Hero: Connecting Cultures, Countering Extremism.” “A IS FOR ARAB” EXHIBIT (NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR HUMANITIES)
Kathy Garms spoke during the Grand Opening reception at Bettendorf Public Library (Iowa) in June. Her presentation focused on the powerful life story of Emir Abdelkader, the 
Elkader/Mascara connection, her visits to Algeria, and AEP along with the biography that gave rise to it, Commander of the Faithful by John Kiser. Kathy’s presentation inspired more volunteer efforts in support of AEP’s mission.
John Kiser and Kathy Garms were invited to participate in September events with discussions focused on past and present significance of Emir Abdelkader; his relationship to Iowa, Islam, and Algeria; and interreligious dialog from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives. The film “Of Gods and Men,” which credits Kiser’s book The Monks of Tibhirine, was shown with introduction and Q/A by John. “ABDELKADER” – A DOCUMENTARY
The Arabian Sights Film Festival at the Goethe Institute in Washington DC featured “Abdelkader,” a creative two-hour documentary by film-maker Salem Brahimi. The film draws upon interviews in Elkader and other locations around the globe. AEP will schedule screenings of “Abdelkader” in the near future.

ABDELKADER EDUCATION PROJECT (AEP) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes civility and respectful engagement between people of all cultures through education and outreach drawing on the life story of Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883), Algeria’s George Washington. His legacy as a unifier is a powerful and accessible example of moral leadership exhibiting universal values – courage, integrity, intellect, humility and compassion – that transcend culture and faith traditions. AEP DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRAM FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES are available. Becoming a sponsor demonstrates commitment to education in building cultural understanding and providing global perspectives for educators and students as well as business, social and political leaders of all faiths and cultures. For more information, contact Kathy Garms at
Abdelkader Education Project
Kathy Garms, Executive Director – 563.329.0448 – email:
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