WASHINGTON, September 24, 2012 – Project Nur, the student-led initiative of the American Islamic Congress (AIC), hosted its 6th Annual Student Leadership Conference this past weekend in the nation’s capital. Fifty-four students from 30 Project Nur chapters across the country attended the three-day leadership training conference.

“The conference is intended to bring together engaged and active students from campuses across the United States to learn pro-active methods to develop and lead campaigns on their respective campuses,” Shakir Mohammed, Project Nur Program Manager, said. “It emphasized the values of unity, co-existence, reflection and non-violence as necessary qualities for responsible leadership.”

From Friday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 23, students attended training workshops at George Washington University. This year’s workshops covered a variety of topics, including event planning, campaign development, the power of collaboration and leadership through art.

Conference attendee and president of the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Project Nur chapter, Shams Al-Badry described her experience saying, “I went in wanting to know how to better our chapter as a whole and came out with lots of new ideas.”

Students also toured the offices of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the U.S. Department of State, meeting with representatives of both institutions.  At USCRIF, students learned of the importance of U.S. advocacy for religious freedom across the world and were called to mobilize congressional support for critical religious freedom issues.

At the State Department, policy advisors highlighted the importance of youth engagement as a critical tool for propelling U.S. foreign policy agenda and encouraged students to challenge the government through direct participation. Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities Speakers, spoke to students about the necessity of engagement in the Muslim communities, sharing her personal engagement strategies.

In addition to workshops, the conference featured three speakers. AIC’s Director of Government & International Relations John Pinna spoke about empowerment through personal narrative and the importance of civic engagement. AIC’s Executive Director Zainab Al-Suwaj shared her personal experiences of activism in Iraq along with the origins of AIC. Key note speaker Mariam Atash Nawabi, the Strategic & Business Development Director for the consulting agency AMDi and a Founding Member of the Afghanistan Advocacy Group, focused on women and leadership. Nawabi underscored the importance of technology and social media activism, especially for today’s generation of young women.

Project Nur is a student-led initiative of the American Islamic Congress. It includes students from various backgrounds, cultures and faiths to work together on human rights and civil rights initiatives. Visit http://www.projectnur.org for more additional information.

The American Islamic Congress is a civil-rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between other peoples. The 501(c)3 organization leads initiatives around the world and has offices in Washington, Boston, Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq. Visit http://aic.craftedenterprises.com for more additional information.