Student Contests

Abdelkader Prize

in association with

Deadline: March 12, 2021
Middle School Options
Essay Prompt:

How did Abdelkader’s upbringing prepare him to meet the challenges in his life? What virtues and values did he communicate through his actions that might help you meet your own challenges? (300 word minimum)

Graphic Story:

Create a graphic story (comic) based on 1 or 2 vignettes (4 frames minimum in total) in the Abdelkader Stage Project (Middle School).

Middle School Resources

The Compassionate Warrior

Commander of the Faithful (chapter 1)

Abdelkader Stage Project (Middle School)


Need the books? Let us know!

High School Options
Essay Prompt:

What were the formative influences on Abdelkader? What qualities did he communicate through his actions? Choose a challenge from current events for which Abdelkader’s behavior might be a guide.

Graphic Story:

Create a graphic story (comic) based on at least 2 vignettes (6 frames minimum in total) in the Abdelkader Stage Project.

High School Resources

Who can participate?

Students enrolled in Iowa schools grades 6-12, including home school students and exchange students.


Why participate?

This global education initiative features important history with lessons for today. Learn about the Middle East and Islamic culture through the legacy of humanitarian Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883), a teacher for the world.

Scholarship Awards

Middle School Students

(Four $150 awards)

High School Students

(Four $300 awards)

Why is Emir Abdelkader important today?

Abdelkader’s legacy serves as a model of cultural and religious diversity, harmony and respectful engagement. He was a freedom fighter whose ethical leadership, statesmanship and moral courage continue to inspire across the globe today.

Respected from Missouri to Moscow to Mecca, Abdelkader was an Arab Muslim hero from Algeria and known as a courageous humanitarian, scholar, statesman, and warrior. He was admired by President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX and countless Muslims and non-Muslims from many nationalities, religions, and social classes. In 1846, an Iowa settlement was named in his honor. In 1860, he saved thousands of Christians in Damascus; and 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.” Emir Abdelkader is remembered as an esteemed humanitarian, ethical military leader and religious scholar, and a founding spirit of the International Red Cross. His relevance for our global society today transcends culture and faith traditions.