SHAYKH AMEEN ABDUL AWWAL
Sheikh Ameen Abdul Awal Al-Akkir is a teacher of Islamic Jurisprudence for over 35 years and a current teacher of Imam Malik's school of thought at the Islamic Cultural Center.of New York. Sheikh Ameen is the founder and CEO of the Islamic Educational Support Foundation which is an organization that services the community through education, social service, and crisis intervention in the New York City area. He and the foundation's board of directors are currently working with the Islamic Cultural Center in obtaining jobs for the community and servicing the community by feeding and clothing the homeless. The foundation has an on-going fundraising drive to sponsor the opening of an Islamic Academy for school age children from kindergarten through grade 12 in the borough of Manhattan in New York City.
HAJJAH ASHAKI TAHA-CISSE
Ashaki Taha-Cisse is a Muslim educator and activist. She Is a student of Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse (d. 2008), and an elder and authorized teacher within the Tariqa Tijaniyya Sufi order. (www.tijani.org). For almost 30 years she served as the pro bono Executive Director of the African American Islamic Institute (AAII), an international humanitarian NGO based on the teachings of Islam, founded by Shaykh Hassan Cisse in Senegal, West Africa, and the Main Representative of AAII to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. During her career as a women’s health advocate and international maternal and child health consultant, she developed and directed programs for women with HIV/AIDS, alcohol and other drug addictions, and worked to establish primary and reproductive health clinics in rural, medically underserved communities in Africa and the Caribbean. Her political and human rights activism spans five decades within the Civil Rights, Black Liberation, Anti-War, Anti-Apartheid, Anti-Racism and Women’s Movements. An advocate for greater interreligious respect and understanding, she is currently focusing on the development of an Islamic culture of peace and peacebuilding among Muslims. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MA in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary, and was a Muslim Peace Fellow sponsored by the 150 year oldpeace organization, the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Amir Sulaiman is a poet, recording artist, activist and newly appointed Harvard Fellow, born in Rochester, New York. His poems cross subjects of love, tragedy as well as what it means to reconcile humanity with the unprecedented trials of modernity. He has performed his works across the US as well as many other countries including England, Belgium, Senegal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Iran and the Netherlands, and continues to tour world-wide. His recently published book of poetry,Love, Gnosis & Other Suicide Attempts met with critical acclaim, in addition to his latest album "The Opening," the third in a unique trilogy project, following "The Meccan Openings" (2011) and "The Medinan Openings" (2012). Amir was first introduced to a National audience in 2005 when he was featured for two seasons on Russell Simmons' groundbreaking series Def Poetry Jam on HBO.