US Study Tour on “Islam in the United States" Seeks Applicants from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria
The National Peace Foundation, USA (NPF) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are soliciting applications from qualified individuals to participate in a 13 day study tour in the United States focused on Islam in America. The program is “Religion and Society: A Dialogue”.
The NPF/ ISNA program is ” Islam in America: New Dimensions in Activism, Pluralism and Thought “. It is a citizen exchange program focusing on building a dialogue of Muslim thinkers, practitioners, writers, and activists from Arab countries with Muslims in America who are active in religious and cultural Islamic work in the US and with representatives of other major religions.
The goals are:
–To create and sustain a mutually beneficial relationship where both groups learn from each about their experience and thinking in all its forms and practices
–To discuss the compatibility of religious practice and democratic social and political values and structures
–To discuss the benefits produced by coexistence among religious communities, and the practice of Islam in a multi-cultural, multi-religious context.
Participants will attend workshops, meetings, seminars and experiential events related to themes such as:
–Islam in Practice in America – Day-to-Day
–Experience of America’s Religious Pluralism
–Successful Experience of Women: Muslims and Others
–Building Religious and Social Communities
–Scholarship of Religious Study
Examples of these events will include:
a) A meeting with leaders in an American mosque or Islamic center such as the board of directors, the Imam, and members to discuss topics such as elections, discuss use of facilities and approaches to resolving disputes
b) Interfaith discussions held at a church, a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community or intra-religious discussions such as between Sunnis and Shia
c) Observe American Muslims involvement in local and national politics, and many Muslim political affairs organizations who work to address the positive public image of Islam
d) Visit Muslim schools in the US to observe their challenges in
e) Participate in seminars related to ideas of Islam and Democracy
The tour is approximately 13 days. The group will be composed of 14 individuals who will travel by air from their countries to Washington, DC. They will continue their study tour in Chicago and nearby towns and return to Washington, DC before returning home. All expenses including air travel, hotels, meals and J-1 visa fees are paid by the National Peace Foundation, USA.
The program is looking for individuals with an interest in the discussion of Islam who are engaged in important leadership roles in the countries they live in. They should be involved in scholarship, writing, oration, administration of religious institutes, political discourse, activism, civil society building, and other areas related which reflect on Islamic life.
Applicants can be individuals who have backgrounds related to Islam, the Quran, Islamic Law, Islamic History, Islam and Democracy or are engaged in the dialogue of religion and civil society.
They can be Muslim Imams, university professors, high school teachers, teachers of Arabic, writers and thinkers, activists or members of organizations involved in civil society building, and others who are independent thinkers.
Applicants are invited to submit the enclosed application who:
1) Reside or hold citizenship in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria
2) Men and women
Knowledge of the English language is not a requirement however it is helpful. Applications will be accepted from self nominations as well as nominations from organizations.
Dates of Study Tour: The study tour will take place July 18th through July 31st, 2008 with July 17 and August 1st as travel dates.
1) Submit attached application form in Arabic or English
2) Submit a copy of current passport
3) Submit at least 1 letter of reference from a person who can attest character and background. This can be a colleague from work or study or a manager or someone who can write about applicants experience and expertise.
Once accepted into the program applications will be sent to the US Embassy for visa approval. This is a rigorous process which can take several weeks or months.
The National Peace Foundation, USA along with the Islamic Society of North America are completely independent in planning, organizing and administers the Dialogue Project program.
NPF and ISNA are requesting the support of the respective authorities in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria for the project and for facilitating the ability of participants to travel.
It should be noted that participants will be fully engaged in the complexity of American culture. Participants should understand, feel comfortable and agree that they are required to participate in events where men and women, Muslims and persons of other religions, and persons representing many ethnic backgrounds are also participating as presenters, hosts, discussants, coordinators. Participants should be willing to be accessible for media interviews and to allow photos and other media images of them to be used to discuss the program. The Dialogue Project program will be sensitive of applicant’s cultural requirements such as dietary restrictions where possible.
Application must be received by March 10, 2008 by email to Sadie Polttila at email@example.com AND Sahar Taman SaharTaman@yahoo.com or by fax to: 202-783-7040 (USA) or Amanda Mouttaki firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-544-5656 (USA).