First elected as part of a special election in early 2008, Congressman André Carson is now serving in his 3rd full term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since taking office, he has established himself as an influential leader and respected public servant, fighting for good paying jobs, economic growth, and safer communities for Indiana’s working families. During the 113th Congress, Carson will serve as a Senior Whip for the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus’s Executive Leadership Team, enabling him to fight for Indiana’s 7th Congressional District at the highest levels of political leadership.
Congressman Carson has consistently fought for the Middle Class, securing more than $500 million for investments in public safety, education, infrastructure, and the creation and protection of thousands of good paying jobs. In Washington, Carson fought to pass the historic health care reform law, which provides families and business with better health insurance options and makes health care more affordable and accessible for tens of millions of Americans. As a former member of the House Financial Services Committee, he also helped pass Wall Street Reform, which protects consumers by ending government bailouts and the risky lending practices that almost destroyed our economy.
Ambassador Richard Schmierer
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, US State Department
Richard J. Schmierer assumed his current position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in September 2012. He served as Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman from September 2009 through August 2012. Prior to his ambassadorship he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, from June 2008 through July 2009.
Amb. Schmierer is a State Department Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor. He began his diplomatic career in 1980, with assignments in Bonn, Frankfurt and Hamburg, Germany, through 1984. Amb. Schmierer then served a three-year assignment at the American Consulate General in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1985-88). From 1988 through 1992, he was posted at the headquarters of the U.S. Information Agency, and then from 1992 through 1996 at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, Germany. He returned to Saudi Arabia in 1997, where he served as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh until 2000. From 2000 through 2004 Amb. Schmierer served as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, followed by an assignment as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, 2004-2005. From 2005 through 2007 he taught at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he published a book entitled "Iraq: Policy and Perceptions." From June 2007 through June 2008 Amb. Schmierer served as the head of the Office of Iraq Affairs at the U.S. State Department.
Amb. Schmierer holds a B.A. degree from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is married to Sandra J. Schmierer, also a long-time employee of the U.S. State Department. They have three grown children.
Dr. Shaun Casey
Special Advisor, US State Department
Shaun Casey is Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He has written on the ethics of the war in Iraq as well the role of religion in American presidential politics and his current writing a book on ethics and international politics tentatively titled Niebuhr’s Children. He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity Degree and a Doctor of Theology in Religion and Society. He also earned a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a concentration in International Security. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Abilene Christian University.
Deputy Special Coordinator, Office of Middle East Transition, US State Dept.
Mark S. Ward is the Deputy Special Coordinator in the Office of Middle East Transition at the U.S. Department of State, the office that coordinates all civilian assistance to Middle Eastern countries in transition to democracy. Mr. Ward is a Career Minister in the Senior Foreign Service of the United States. Mr. Ward was also on detail to the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) from September 2011 to February 2012 as Senior Advisor to the head of the UNSMIL on coordination with the international community.
From July 2010 to September 2011, Mr. Ward was Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and Acting Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he focused on disaster preparedness and response and civil-military cooperation during three notable disasters: the 2010 floods in Pakistan, the 2010-11 cholera outbreak in Haiti and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Before returning to Washington, DC, Mr. Ward was the Special Advisor on Development to the head of the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), based in Kabul, from October 2008 until July 2010. Mr. Ward led UNAMA’s effort to better coordinate donor assistance to Afghanistan behind Government priorities and aid effectiveness principles. Prior to the position in Kabul, Mr. Ward was Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia at USAID, where he had principal responsibility for the USAID programs in South, Central and East Asia. He chaired the Agency's Tsunami, Pakistan Earthquake and Lebanon Reconstruction task forces. Mr. Ward was the 2006 winner of the Service to America Medal for international affairs for his work on the Tsunami reconstruction effort. Mark is a native of San Francisco, and received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and Juris Doctor from the University of California at Berkeley. He was headmaster of a girl's high school in rural Kenya before law school, and practiced law in Washington for four years before joining the Foreign Service.
Katherine Leahy Gupta
Policy Advisor, Treasury Department
Katherine Leahy Gupta is a representative from the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC), and has served for several years as TFFC's point-person on improving global implementation of targeted financial sanctions regimes, particularly to combat terrorist financing. Katherine has worked with the UN and FATF to develop standards and best practices for sanctions implementation, and she has created and coordinated workshops and bilateral engagements around the world to facilitate implementation of those standards.
Dr. Erol Cebeci
Dr. Cebeci has completed his undergraduate studies at Istanbul University and received an M.S. degree from Penn State University, both in Business Administration. He attended a Ph.D. program first in Managerial Economics then in Ecological Economics at Rensselaer Institute of Technology (RPI). He taught several undergraduate courses on Economics and Public Finance as an Adjunct Professor at RPI. He established and run private companies in business consulting and international trade. He has served two terms as a member of Turkish Parliament. He also served as a member of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, first member and then as the Chairman of the Turkish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. While in politics, he has mainly worked on human rights issues, security and defense issues, foreign policy, and European politics.
Dr. A. R. Darderi
Member of Parliament, Egypt Parliament 2011
Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery is an “academician by profession and politician by necessity”, as he says. As a Member of Parliament in Egypt of the Freedom and Justice Party he serves on the Foreign Relations Committee. Dr. Dardery holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburg; his dissertation focused on “Euro-centrism vs. Islamism”. He is also a spokesperson to the Foreign Relations Committee.
Dr. Maha Azzam
Deputy Head of The International Coalition for Egyptians Abroad (ICEGA ) and Chair of Egyptians for Democracy, UK (EG4DEM)
Dr. Maha Azzam is an authority on Islamist movements. Her DPhil at Oxford University in 1989 was a study on Egyptian Islamist movements in the Sadat era, including a fringe group known as al-Jihad. She was the Head of the Programme on Security and Development in Muslim States at the Royal United Services Institute, and has been an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme at Chatham House since 2000. She was one of fifteen specialists at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies Trans-national Threats Project, analyzing impact of Islamist radicals in Europe. She was previously a Caabu board member from 2002 to 2006, and rejoined in 2010.
Dr. Anas Altikriti
Founder and CEO, Cordoba Foundation, UK
Anas Altikriti was born in Baghdad in 1968, and came to settle in the UK in 1970. He has been involved in a number of campaigns to eliminate the rising trends of Islamaphobia and racism in the UK and was at the forefront of the Anti-War movement, which emerged in 2001.n Anas Altikriti is an international speaker and lecturer, and appears regularly in the Arab and international media commenting on Arab, Muslim and International affairs.
As spokesman and then President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Anas Altikriti co-organised and led more than 15 demonstrations against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The highlight of this was to chair the historic 2-million strong demonstration against the war in Iraq on the 15th of February 2003 in Central London. In 2004, Anas Altikriti joined George Galloway's Respect party and stood as the party's leading candidate in Yorkshire and Humberside in the European Parliamentary elections. Most recently, Anas Altikriti was dispatched by the British Anti-War movement to Iraq to negotiate the release of British hostage Norman Kember and his fellow Christian Peace-makers. Three of the four hostages, including Mr. Kember were safely released on the 23rd of March 2006.
Chairman and CEO of Just Consulting and Founder and Chairman of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy
In 1999 – at the age of 24 – Joe founded The Institute on Religion and Public Policy. Twelve years and three Nobel Peace Prize nominations later, Joe has become an internally-renowned expert in security, counter-terrorism, human rights, conflict transformation, business development, and much more. As a matter of fact, in a letter to Joe in 2005, His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco referred to Joe’s work as the “foundation of a new civilization”.
As a religious freedom, human rights, and international policy expert, Joe has testified before the United States Congress, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Parliament and countless other legislative and international bodies. He currently serves as the Founder and Secretary-General of the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom; Founder and Chairman of the International Consortium on Religion, Culture, and Dialogue; member of the Board of Advisors of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation; member of the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council for Human Rights, foreign news contributor for The Cutting Edge News, and in many other leadership roles. In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the Executive Office of Immigration Review of the Justice Department has contracted with Joe to train the United States immigration judges and immigration attorneys each year. He has also lectured for the Close Up Foundation; the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence, and Diplomacy; and the Washington Semester Program on Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. Joe has also served as a faculty member of the Boston University Institute on Religion, Culture, and World Affairs (IRWA).
In April 2010 Joe was inducted into the International Board of Sponsors of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College – Martin Luther King’s alma mater. The award honors those who have made significant contributions to the civil and human rights nonviolence movement in the tradition of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree and a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies both from Georgetown University. In 2008, Joe received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Marywood University.
Senior Director, League of Women Voters
Jeanette M. Senecal is the Senior Director of Elections and e-Democracy of the League of Women Voters of the United States. As Senior Director, Jeanette manages and coordinates various voter education, get-out-the-vote, election reform, and civic engagement activities, including efforts to engage new and underrepresented citizens, and educate League leaders and other interested parties on election administration reform issues. A fixture at the League since 1999, Jeanette has led a wide range of notable election projects include the Public Advocacy for Voter Protection project, the award-winning VOTE411.org website and various voter registration campaigns. Prior to joining the League, Jeanette’s experience with the International Women’s Forum provided her with a great deal of experience working in multi-cultural environments and on community improvement issues. Jeanette has an M.A. in international affairs from George Washington University and a B.A. in government and environmental studies from St. Lawrence University.
Co-director, Industrial Area Foundation
Mike Gecan is the co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded by Saul Alinsky, which is the oldest and largest network of citizens power organizations functioning both in the United States and abroad. In addition to the more than 60 organizations that operate in the US, the IAF supports organizing efforts in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. He has helped intiate many of these organizations -- including those in the Chicago metropolitan areas, the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, London, Berlin, and Sydney -- either as the direct organizer or as the mentor of other professional staff who have started these efforts. He was also the co-founder of the East Brooklyn Congregations Nehemiah Housing Plan -- which led and sparked the rebuilding of vast stretches of formerly devastated communities in East Brooklyn, the South Bronx, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. He has written two books -- Going Public - An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action (Beacon Press; Anchor Books paperback) and After America's Midlife Crisis (MIT Press) -- and numerous articles in the Boston Review, Village Voice, New York Daily News, New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Sun Times.
National Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington, DC, America's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. Nihad Awad is featured in The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre's "500 Most Influential Muslims 2009." Arabian Business magazine ranked Mr. Awad among 100 of the "World's Most Influential Arabs" for 2010. He has served on the Vice President’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security; testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress; participated in the U.S. Department of State’s “International Visitors Program” welcoming foreign dignitaries, journalists and academics who are currently visiting the President of the United States; and after September 11, 2001, Mr. Awad was one of the few American Muslim leaders invited by the White House to join President Bush in a press conference at the Islamic Center of Washington, DC. He is active in the American Muslim Task Force (AMT), an umbrella organization of the largest American Muslim organizations. Currently he is focusing on the launch of the Islamophobia Department at CAIR which is a major initiative.
President, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Naeem M. Baig is the President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). He is also serving as the Executive Director of “ICNA Council For Social Justice”. Mr. Baig served as the Secretary General of the Islamic Circle of North America from 2000 to 2004, and later from 2006 to 2008. Mr. Baig served as the consultant on the 'Study on Christian-Muslim Relations', sponsored by the Department of Interfaith Relations of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Currently, he co-chairs the 'National Muslim-Christian Initiative'." He was a member of the 'Taskforce on Global Initiative on Faith, Health and Development'. He also serves as the Muslim Coordinator for the ‘Catholic-Muslim Mid-Atlantic Dialogue’, which takes place every year between Catholic Bishops and Muslim Leadership in America. Mr. Baig is the Chairman of “American Muslim Taskforce for Civil Rights and Elections” and is a board member of “National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms” and “Interfaith Workers Justice.”
Dr. Hatem Bazian
Chairman, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
Dr. Hatem Bazian is a co-founder, Member of Board of Trustees and Faculty at Zaytuna College. He also serves as Chair of the Northern California Islamic Council, co-founder and Chair of American Muslims for Palestine, co-founder and Board Member, Dollar for Deen, Board Member of Islamic Scholarship Fund, and Board Member of the Muslim Legal Fund of America. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy and Islamic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, Dr.Bazian is a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Bazian teaches courses on Islamic Law and Society, Islam in America De-Constructing Islamophobia and more. Between 2002 and 2007, Bazian also served as an adjunct professor of law at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He currently serves as Editor-in-chief, Islamophobia Studies Journal. In Spring 2009, he founded the Center for the Study and Documentation of Islamophobia at UC Berkeley. Dr. Bazian's has a published book called Jerusalem in Islamic Consciousness and is currently working on two more books, Silicon Rush: Documenting Muslim Communities in the Silicon Valley; and Virtual Internment: Muslims and the War on Terrorism.
Ambassador Ali Aujali
Embassy of Libya
Ambassador Ali Aujali was first posted to the Libyan embassy in London as Third Secretary in 1971. In 1976 he was posted to the Libyan embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before being promoted in 1981 to the post of Ambassador to Malaysia. Subsequently Aujali was the Libyan ambassador to Argentina (1984–1988) and then Brazil (1988–1994). As Ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2011 for the Gaddafi government, he was also known for defending the return of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to Libya. He also served as the chargé d'affaires to Canada (2001 to 2004).
Ali Aujali was formerly Ambassador to the United States on behalf of the National Transitional Council from 15 August 2011 to 1 November 2012. He previously held the position on behalf of the Gaddafi government from January 2009 until February 2011, when he resigned in the wake of the Libyan civil war. He joined the opposition National Transitional Council soon after; on 9 August the U.S. State Department confirmed that it had handed the Libyan embassy in Washington, D.C. to the NTC, and Amb. Aujali was re-accredited by the United States as Libya's Ambassador on 15 August.
Amb. Aujali was nominated for minister of foreign affairs by Ali Zidan at the end of October 2012. Although cabinet minister are sworn in on 14 November 2013, he could not since his investigation by the commission regarding his ties to former ruler of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was not completed until that day. The commission cleared him on 27 November. However, he was not sworn in and resigned on 31 December 2012.
Dr. Esam Omeish
President, Center for Libyan-American Strategic Studies
Dr Esam Omeish, President, Center for Libyan American Strategic Studies, Vice Chairman of American Libyan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Former Director of Libyan Emergency Task Force which led the efforts of Libyan Americans to sustain the support of the Unites States and the International Community of the Libyan Revolution. A surgeon by profession, currently the chief of general surgery at Inova Alexandria Hospital, Dr Omeish spent time during the revolution with Doctors without Borders and International Medical Corps treating the wounded at the war front and was among those who entered Tripoli, his birth place, at the time of the fall of Qaddafi.
Executive Director, MAS
Mazen Mokhtar the National Executive Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and is a member of the New Jersey Chapter. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Mokhtar holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and currently owns and runs a New Jersey based Computer Consulting business. He is a lecturer at the Institute of Islamic Studies in East Windsor, NJ and many other local Mosques. Mazen holds regular classes in topics such as the exegesis of the Quran, seerah and activism and has a personal interest in the field of Islamic activism and youth development.
Dr. Ayman Hammous
Chairman, Islamic Broadcast Network (IBN)
Dr. Ayman Hammous is the chairman of Islamic Broadcast Network (IBN). He also serve on the board of the Muslim American Society (MAS). Over the years, Dr. Hammous held several positions within MAS. He served as the organization’s National Vice-President, Executive Director, President of New York chapter and Fort Lauderdale, Florida Chapter. Dr. Hammous is also the founder of MAS Youth Center in Brooklyn, New York and one of the founders of the Community Center project in New York, which was opposed by Islamophobes Robert Spencer and Pamela Giller.
Dr. Osama Aboirshaid
Editor-in-Chief, Al-Mizan Newspaper
Dr. Osama Abuirshaid is a Board member of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and the founder and editor of Al Meezan newspaper, a national newspaper, published in Arabic. Also, he is a nonresident scholar at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), in Doha, Qatar. He is a highly sought after political analyst and commentator. He lectures frequently on Middle East and American politics. Dr. Abuirshaid has also authored and co-authored several books, articles and studies, published in English and Arabic, on issues relevant to the Middle East and its political climate. He is the co-author of the controversial study: "Hamas: Ideological Rigidity and Political Flexibility," which was published by the United States Institute of Peace in 2009. Abuirshaid is a regular commentator on Palestinian and Middle Eastern affairs as well as on American domestic and foreign policy on various Arabic satellite networks, such as Al Jazeera. Dr. Abuirshaid completed his PhD at Loughborough University, in the United Kingdom.
National Advocacy Director
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Josh Ruebner currently serves as the National Advocacy Director of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 400 organizations working to change U.S. policy towards Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality. In this capacity, Ruebner works to end United States military aid to Israel and on other policy initiatives. He co-founded Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel in 2000, which has since merged with Jewish Voice for Peace. Ruebner is a former Analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service, a federal government agency providing Members of Congress with policy analysis. He is the author of the newly published book Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Verso Books, 2013).
Director, MAS Immigration Justice Center
Khalilah Sabra earned a graduate degree in criminal justice at California State University while her postgraduate work in Paralegal Studies was completed at UCLA. Khalila is the author of An Unordinary Death: The Life of a Palestinian, a work on critical pedagogy, a teaching approach designed to help students achieve critical consciousness by asking them to question and challenge the beliefs and practices that dominate their society. She designs and implements programs to educate non-Muslims about a moderate version of Islam that denounces violence and extremism. In 2007 she became North Carolina Director of Civil Rights for the Muslim American Society. Her advocacy activities include supporting international human rights, national civil rights, the promotion of democratic immigration protocols, the advancement of Muslim rights and the rights of other marginalized citizens.
Beverly Perez, Esq.
General Counsel, Zakat Foundation of America
Beverly Perez is a seasoned in-house attorney who advises board of directors and executive management of leading international nonprofit organizations on a broad range of issues, including 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) tax requirements, U.S. sanctions programs and export controls, corporate governance, charitable solicitations and contracts. She currently serves as General Counsel and Director of Humanitarian Affairs at Zakat Foundation of America. She has previously served as Assistant Corporate Secretary at the American Red Cross, Corporate Counsel and Board Secretary at Islamic Relief USA, Associate Corporate Counsel at International Medical Corps, and Staff Attorney at Greenpeace. Beverly has a J.D. and M.A. in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC.
Director, Charity and Security Network
Kay Guinane is a public interest attorney who specializes in the rights of nonprofit organizations, particularly in the areas of free speech, association and national security. As Director of the Charity & Security Network she coordinates efforts to make national security rules impacting the work of civil society consistent with Constitutional and human rights principles and eliminate unnecessary barriers to legitimate work of nonprofits. She has published research, testified before Congress, and engaged extensively in advocacy and consulting on these issues in the U.S. and abroad.
Ms. Guinane has represented a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, both as an advocate on issues and an advisor on tax and nonprofit law. She was Director of Nonprofit Speech Rights at OMB Watch, a Washington, D.C. based government watchdog organization and also worked for the Alliance for Justice, the National Consumer Law Center, Environmental Action (Washington, DC), the Legal Aid Society of Louisville, and Citizens for Social and Economic Justice and the public defender service (Hazard, Kentucky). She holds Bachelors and Juris Doctor degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Kentucky and Maryland.