â€œIt has been a very rewarding three days of ISNA Education Forum. The sessions were extremely beneficial and educational. It was wonderful meeting so many of you.â€
Quote from an Education Forum Attendee
The diversity of the Muslim community was evident as nearly 700 people gathered to celebrate, network, and join an array of professional development opportunities. Educators also took advantage of down time to peruse products from Muslim-owned businesses at the 14th Annual ISNA-CISNA Education Forum, which took place from March 29th -31st in Rosemont, Illinois. The theme of the conference was Islamic Schools: Champions of Faith, Achievement & Service.
The Education Forum gathers many talented principals, board members, and teacher practitioners who share their successful strategies to make amazing Islamic schools even better. More than 200 attendees chose from five pre-conferences held on Friday that introduced Common Core State Standards by ASCD faculty; Core and Communication Standards for Arabic; Al-Nurraniyah Method Certification; AdvancEd-CISNA Accreditation training; and Weekend School management guidance.
Attendees came from all over the U.S. and Canada, as well as Australia. Also in attendance was a delegation from Kuwait. Dr. Mutlaq Al-Qarawi, assistant undersecretary for Technical Coordination, Foreign Relations and Hajj lauded the high level of development and quality of U.S. Islamic schools.
Dr. Talat Sultan was recognized as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to Islamic schools and education that affects generations of Muslim students and their communities. Dr. M. Munir Chaudry, founder of Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA.org) offered his resources to schools free of charge.
Nouman Ali Khan, founder of Al-Bayyinah Institute, also inspired an increased understanding of teachersâ€™ methodology in Fridayâ€™s lively dinner presentation.
Mohamed Geraldez, an entrepreneur, investor and executive director of the ALIM Program, was the keynote speaker at the dinner banquet.
Entertainment was provided by Ms. Latifah.
Another living legend, Dr. Freda Shamma presented her anthology, Treasure of Muslim Literature (www.muslimlit.com), to a receptive group that has waited years for its publication.
Mazhar Hussaini and Mohammed T. Taher generously gave access to resources for learning the Qurâ€™an, Arabic, and Islamic Studies through http://babulilmlrc.org.
This being the 50th anniversary year for MSA/ISNA, Dr. Iqbal Unus recollected the initiation of the first MSA at the University of Illinois in Urbana, and how it has evolved into ISNA of today.
A concluding session, with the program committee, program director Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, and conventions director Basharat Saleem, was held at the end of the conference.