Monday, May 07, 2007

Young Changemakers in U.S.-Muslim Relations - 5/14

Americans for Informed Democracy at John Jay College invites you to:

Hope not Hate

The Role of Young People in Bridging the Divide
Between the U.S. and the Muslim World

A Panel of Speakers and Open Dialogue on the U.S. and the Muslim world

featuring remarks by:

Lucas Welch, President, Soliya

Miriam Asnes and Jake Hayman, OneVoice Movement

Josef Oberger, Research Officer, Alliance of Civilizations

Zeeshan Suhail, Board Member, Americans for Informed Democracy

Saad Amrani, IT Consultant, United Nations

6:00 to 7:30 p.m., May 14th (Monday)
Lecture Hall Room 1311N
John Jay College of Criminal Justice - North Building (1st floor)
445 West 59th Street (Near Columbus Circle)

More information: Hope not Hate seeks to inspire broad, inclusive dialogue about how the U.S. and the Muslim world can work together to reduce growing mutual tensions. Over the last three years, Americans for Informed Democracy has coordinated more than one hundred and fifty Hope not Hate town hall meetings from Macon, Georgia, to Vermillion, South Dakota. Speakers participating in the 2006 series included South Asian rock star Salman Ahmad, former U.S. Senator and 9-11 Commissioner Slade Gorton (R-WA), Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, Islam scholar Shibley Telhami, former Pakistani High Commissioner to Great Britain Akbar Ahmed, MTV News correspondent Gideon Y ago, and many others. We’re excited to be bringing this series to John Jay College!

Bios of the speakers:

Lucas Welch is the founder and president of Soliya –- a non-profit organization that works to build intercultural understanding between the US and the Muslim World and to galvanize young people to act as agents of change. Lucas was recently named one of “the world’s Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs” by the Echoing Green Foundation for his work. Lucas has worked in a variety of capacities related to media, new technologies and intercultural communication, specifically in the Middle East. He was the Series Associate Producer on the Shape of the Future documentary series for Common Ground Productions -– a portrayal of potential solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be broadcast in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He also served as the Director of Communications for America Abroad Media, where he was coordinating a videoconferencing initiative between high schools in Pakistan and the US. Prior to that, Mr. Welch was a producer for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, where he designed new media features integrating the programming of ABC News television and He has extensive experience abroad, producing video and multimedia features on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for ABC News, and teaching video and multimedia at Birzeit University in the Palestinian Territories.

Miriam Asnes is the International Education Program Manager and Jake Hayman is the International Program Coordinator for the OneVoice Movement. OneVoice aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and ensure that the agenda is not hijacked by forces of militant absolutism. Together, Jake and Miriam have spoken at over 50 campuses and communities worldwide about their work. Jake spent time in both 2005 and 2006 with the OneVoice offices in Ramallah and Tel Aviv.

Josef Oberger is a research officer with the Alliance of Civilizations. The Secretary-General of the United Nations launched the Alliance, co-sponsored by the Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey. The Alliance responds to a broad consensus across nations, cultures and religions that all societies are interdependent, bound together in their development and security, and in their environmental, economic and financial well-being. The Alliance seeks to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action at the institutional and civil s ociety levels to overcome the prejudice, misperceptions and polarization that militate against such a consensus. And it hopes to contribute to a coalescing global movement which, reflecting the will of the vast majority of people, rejects extremism in any society.

Zeeshan Suhail is a Board Member for Americans for Informed Democracy, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization working to raise global awareness on more than 1,000 U.S. university campuses and in over 10 countries. Zeeshan has hosted a TV show which introduced New York City to South Asian audiences all over the world, and currently writes a column for a Pakistani newspaper detailing Pakistani-American life in New York (among other things) to a Pakistani audience. His work has been published in Q-News (Britain), The World Scholar (New York), Pakistan Post (New York) and The Nation (Pakistan). While at Queens College, Zeeshan also founded the South Asian Students Association (SASA), whose aim is to promote South Asian culture through panel discussions, film screenings and other cultural events. He was the Secretary for a political party called United People and the Society of Success and Leadership.

Saad Amrani is an IT Consultant for the United Nations. He has set up a User-Friendly Content Management Systems that will help managing websites and data within the NGO section of the U.N. This IT infrastructure optimization has resulted in better outcomes and a more efficient work of the NGO Section. During the committee session of January 2007, some member states have noticed many improvements on the organizational and technical sides. He is interested in how technology can be used to bridge the U.S. and the Muslim world.