Everyone is welcome to join Elkader citizens celebrate their town’s namesake and the educational work being done in his name on Saturday, May 14, at the Abd el-Kader Education Project Forum in Elkader, IA.

Spokesperson Kathy Garms said, “We’re so excited to have a chance to show everyone what good things are happening here in Iowa and around the world to transcend boundaries and create peace — and it all started here in Elkader just three years ago!”

[caption id="attachment_331" width="368" caption="Elkader, Iowa. Photo by Larry Stone"][/caption]
The Forum will showcase initiatives based on the remarkable life of Emir Abd el-Kader, the 19th-century Arab freedom fighter and humanitarian who was admired by Timothy Davis who named Elkader, President Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Pope Pius IX.

The Abd el-Kader Education Project provides resources for today built around John W. Kiser’s biography of Emir Abd el-Kader, Commander of the Faithful. 1) The statewide Abd el-Kader Essay Contest asks students to evaluate the significance of Abd el-Kader’s courageous life of struggle during peace, war, imprisonment, and exile as applied to current events in America and the world. Principal Financial Group is a contributing sponsor. 2) A series of Teacher Workshops across Iowa offers tools for teaching about the history and cultures of the Middle East and Islam. Workshops by the Middle East Policy Council are largely funded by a Humanities Iowa grant. 3) Outreach to American Muslim schools is a way for youth to study the importance of just and ethical leadership through the example of an Arab leader who influenced America and the West.

Outreach by www.oneblue.org.

The May 14th Forum includes the following venues and events:

Elkader Public Library

10 am ~ “Meet the Authors” John W. Kiser and Elsa Marston. Kiser’s recent books, such as Commander of the Faithful and The Monks of Tibhirine, are about struggle and the role of faith in guiding and sustaining people in desperate times. Marston writes primarily about the Middle East for young adults (Santa Claus in Baghdad) and, inspired by Kiser’s book, is currently writing about Emir Abd el-Kader.

Historic Elkader Opera House

  • 2-4 pm – “Informal Discussions” with and among featured speakers
  • 6:30 pm – “Meet & Greet” presenters and special guests with live music
  • 7 pm – The Forum Program begins with Guest Speakers and Abd el-Kader Essay Awards Program includes:
    • Abd el-Kader essay students and educators along with inspiring messages from Burning Bright, a Decorah community choral group;
    • Janice Gross,
    • Seth Richards Professor in Modern Languages at Grinnell College;author John W. Kiser of Virginia;
    • author Elsa Marston of Indiana;
    • Barbara Petzen, Education Director for Middle East Policy Council in Washington DC;
    • Christopher Rossi, Executive Director of Humanities Iowa in Iowa City; and
    • Robert Shedinger, Head of Religion Department at Luther College.

A reception will be held following the program.


See /docs/Poster-05.14.11-AEP-Forum.pdf” target=”_blank”>attached poster for more information.

“>Contact us with any questions.