Abd el-Kader Education Project Forum

“Transcending Boundaries…Pursuing Knowledge and Virtue”

A celebration to honor an extraordinary world hero and students who have been touched by his life story

[caption id="attachment_137" width="269" caption="Elkader, IA (photo: Claire Wright)"][/caption]
Saturday ~ May 14, 2011 ~ Elkader, Iowa Elkader Public Library 10:00-11:00 a.m. “Meet the Authors” Elsa Marston (Indiana) & John Kiser (Virginia)

Historic Elkader Opera House 2:00-4:00 p.m. Informal Discussions 6:30 p.m. doors open — “Meet & Greet” with live music from the Dixie Guys 7:00 p.m. program begins — unique, educational, entertaining


  • Abd el-Kader Essay Contest Awards (Essay Students & Educators)
  • Burning Bright (Vocal Group, Decorah)
  • Janice Gross (Seth Richards Professor in Modern Languages, Grinnell College)
  • John Kiser (The Monks of Tibhirine, Commander of the Faithful… and more)
  • Elsa Marston (Santa Claus in Baghdad and more)
  • Barbara Petzen (Education Director of Middle East Policy Council, Washington DC)
  • Christopher Rossi (Executive Director of Humanities Iowa, Iowa City)
  • Robert F. Shedinger (Head of Religion Department, Luther College)

~ Reception and Conversations following Program ~


2011 Abd el-Kader Essay Contest

Statewide participation by Iowa high school juniors and seniors resulted in high quality essays in both expression and content. The annual essay contest asks students to evaluate the significance of Abd el-Kader’s life story through his struggles during peace, war, imprisonment, and exile in light of current events in America and the world.

The award winning essay students will be honored at The Abd el-Kader Education Project Forum on Saturday, May 14 at the Elkader Opera House. Everyone is welcome! Principal Financial Group is a participating financial sponsor.


Iowa Teacher Workshops

AEP colleague Barbara Petzen, Education Director for Middle East Policy Council, will present a series of workshops for teachers across Iowa on “Tools for Teaching about the Middle East and Islam,” largely funded by a Humanities Iowa grant. The project, developed in conjunction with the Abd el-Kader Education Project, will incorporate curriculum materials on Abd el-Kader and show the local links between Iowa and the Algerian emir.

Workshops will be held:

May 20-21 in Des Moines (global education with Renee Shull of Business/Education Alliance) June 14-15 in Bettendorf June 22-23 in Council Bluffs June 29-30 in Elkader July 13-14 in Sioux City July 27-28 in Cedar Rapids

Workshops are being held through the local Area Education Agencies’ professional development summer calendars, although some are being hosted at local institutions or community colleges. The workshops will cover stereotypes and realities about the Middle East and Muslims, best practices and resources for teaching about the region, and how technologies such as Google Earth can enrich the classroom and pique student engagement. Interested teachers should check the professional development listings at their local AEA or contact Barbara Petzen at bpetzen@mepc.org.


Teacher Team Visits Middle East

AEP colleague Barbara Petzen, MEPC Teach Mideast Education Director, recently returned from a two- week trip to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, where she co-led a group of teachers from the Friends Seminary in New York City who were studying issues pertaining to water use in the Jordan River Valley. The trip will result in the creation of new curriculum materials on water in the Middle East and new contacts and social media endeavors among educators and classrooms in the United States and the Middle East.


International Outreach

Religions for Peace introduced the Abd el-Kader Education Project to leaders in Indonesia and Nigeria who plan to organize an advanced graduate seminar using John Kiser’s books Commander of the Faithful and The Monks of Tibhirine. The seminars will be taught by a Muslim and Christian professor in each case and will award prizes for the best Christian and the best Muslim essays.

Outreach to K-12 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 impressed America and the West. Outreach by partner www.oneblue.org.

John Kiser’s new website www.johnwkiser.com Explore “A Different View” with the author.

Thank you for following our project. We welcome all comments and suggestions.

The Abd el-Kader Education Project Team Kathy Garms, Barbara Petzen, Sarah Sayeed, John Boyer, John Kiser

Visit us at “>www.abdelkaderproject.org

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