unConvention Sessions

Bringing the issues & speakers to you

How the program works

In an 'unconventional' approach to this year's Convention, we've organized five community forums (our unConvention sessions) in partnership with SoCal mosques, that address pressing issues in the American Muslim community. These sessions lead up to the main event on Saturday, December 5 at the Long Beach Convention Center - a discussion with industry leaders on leveraging new media to change perceptions, followed by our annual banquet.

From filmmakers and new media experts, to policy officials and academics, we're bringing together the nation’s top personalities to address today's challenges, highlight solutions, and share examples of positive change.

Session Line-Up


Friday, October 16 at 7:30pm PT

Fast Fwd: Short Stories by Muslims Making Big Change

Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley

We highlight five young professionals taking innovative and effective action on pressing issues for the American Muslim community.

Starting with "I believe change is possible because...," our presenters will touch on the following areas: telling our stories online, creating racially inclusive Muslim spaces, providing addicts with compassion and care, building authentic relationships between Muslims and Jews, and fostering healthy communities.

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Fast Fwd
Homeless to Homeowner

Sunday, November 1 at 12:00pm PT

'Homeless to Homeowner' Screening & Panel Discussion

Islamic Center of Southern California

This film introduces Mohammad Mohanna, a successful Iranian American developer and philanthropist, who believes everyone deserves dignified and prosperous lives. Shocked that his homeless neighbors are routinely harassed and relocated, he established a facility where homeless individuals receive the resources they need to become productive citizens.

The panel following the film screening will feature the filmmakers and key players working on eradicating homelessness.

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Sunday, November 8 at 1:00pm PT

Let's Be Honest

Islamic Center of Conejo Valley

In the latest twist on our signature 'Let's Be Honest' forums, we feature a diverse group of Muslim professionals, activists and student leaders to discuss sensitive issues in Muslim communities, including mental health, identity and Islamophobia. The discussion will be fueled by audience questions shared anonymously to promote total honesty.

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Let's Be Honest Forum
Muslims On Screen: Is It Getting Any Better?

Friday, November 13 at 6:30pm PT

Muslims On Screen: Is It Getting Any Better?

Orange County Islamic Foundation

Concerned about Hollywood portrayals of Islam and Muslims? You're not alone! We'll be speaking with working American Muslim filmmakers, actors, talent managers and new media creators.

They'll share experiences of both challenges and progress in the industry, as well as practical ways we can make an impact on Hollywood.

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Sunday, November 22 at 2:30pm PT

Overcoming Xenophobia: Lessons from the Catholic, Mormon & Jewish Experiences

IMAN Cultural Center

At a time when presidential candidates are questioning American Muslims' allegiance to America and spreading Islamophobia, it is an opportunity for us to learn from past experiences of religious communities that suffered from religious discrimination and even persecution.

This session is intended to help American Muslims develop an effective strategy in countering Islamophobia along with other Americans and not as an isolated community.

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Overcoming Xenophobia: Lessons from the Catholic, Mormon & Jewish Experiences
New Era, New Media

Saturday, December 5 at 3:00pm PT

New Era, New Media: Opportunities for Change

Long Beach Convention Center

The face of the American Muslim community is changing, and so much of it has to do with the changing media landscape. Five years ago, we used social media for sharing personal updates with friends. Today, it’s a powerful means for the masses to challenge the status quo, hold public officials accountable, and influence media coverage.

For this session, we are convening leaders in the field of new media to share examples and strategies on changing public perceptions, telling authentic stories and adding your voice to national conversations.

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