What’s New? Who Won? Heads-up for Fall!
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Highlights of the 4th annual AEP Forum in Elkader were student awards (listed below), exemplary speakers, and a performance by French-Algerian singer Nassima Chaabane. People from around the nation attended the May event to celebrate the character, accomplishments, and modern-day relevance of the admired 19th century humanitarian and leader, Emir Abdelkader, for whom the Iowa town was named in 1846.
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An international roster of speakers delivered brief personal reflections on the value of Abdelkader’s life story. John Kiser, pioneering international technology broker and author of Commander of the Faithful and The Monks of Tibhirine, traveled from Virginia; Jerene Mortenson, Alaska, is a humanitarian and mother of Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea; Sarah Sayeed is president of oneblue.org in Washington DC; Kathy Vaillancourt is project coordinator of the Center for Experiential Learning, Merrimack College, North Andover, MA; Bill Witt is an Elkader native, former state legislator, and currently photojournalist in Iowa; Bonnie Bickel James, Maryland, is a former independent school administrator and teacher who is currently an international education consultant consulting for Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero and coaching for WIDE, their online professional development platform; Jim Moody,Washington DC, is a former Wisconsin Congressman and head of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development; and Salem Brahimi is a French- Algerian documentary film maker from France. Algerian Ambassador Abdallah Baali sent a message of support along with a generous donation from the Algerian Embassy to the AEP. Unable to attend, Iowa State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad sent the following message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3jzfl-HfNY.
The Mustard Seed Grows…Iowa and Beyond
Abdelkader Essay ContestHigh school and college students are invited each year to write essays to reflect on the contemporary meaning of the life of Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883). The biography Commander of the Faithful…The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader by John W. Kiser reveals that Abdelkader was admired by President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX and countless Muslims and non-Muslims.
“Commander of the Faithful, as “Added Value for Educators,” offers more than a good story about Algeria’s “George Washington.” It is a book with rich multi- disciplinary pathways that could be used in many areas of study within the humanities—history, the social sciences, geography, political science, philosophy, religion, linguistics, and more.”
Bonnie Bickel James, International Education Consultant, Maryland