MPAC-White House Partnership Shines Light on American Muslim Women

April 18, 2014

Last month, MPAC partnered with the White House to host a historic forum recognizing the contributions of American Muslim women. “Beyond the Ceiling: Groundbreaking Voices of American Muslim Women” brought together over 80 American Muslim women from across the country who work in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), business development, government, communications and entrepreneurship.

“I was honored to be invited as a guest to MPAC and the White House Office of Public Engagement's event highlighting the achievements of Muslim women to be the fabric of America,” said Lena Nour, MPAC Young Leader alum, who attended the event. “The event helped me learn from the lessons of triumph and adversity many women have gone through in their journey through public service. As an attendee, I gained a deeper appreciation for the work the Office of Public Engagement does to incorporate the larger community in the discourse of politics in DC.”

Panelists included Dr. Hina Chaudhry who was featured in Esquire magazine for her work in making new heart cells as a remedy for cardiac arrest; Maria Ebrahimji, editorial producer for CNN; and Huma Abedin, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff. Speakers from the White House included Joanna Rosholm, Press Secretary for the First Lady, and Bess Evans, Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Public Engagement. MPAC’s National Policy Analyst Hoda Elshishtawy and Director of the Washington, DC Office Haris Tarin led the discussion in two panels.

The first session was moderated by Hoda Elshishtawy and featured Huma Abedin, Rumana Ahmed from the White House Office of Public Engagement, Rashad Hussain from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Avra Siegel from the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Joanna Rosholm, Press Secretary to the First Lady. Their discussion elaborated on wide-ranging contributions of American Muslim women, shedding light on what would be discussed in further detail during the breakout sessions.

Following the first panel, Tahera Ahmad, Northwestern University Muslim Chaplain, delivered a recitation of the Quran before guests in the same room where Bill and Hillary Clinton held the first Eid celebration at the White House in 1996.

Trailblazers Raheemah Abdulaleem, Fatema Sumar, Reema Dodin, and Huma Abedin spoke during our government and policy breakout session, moderated by Haris Tarin. Asma Mirza moderated our STEM and business panel, which included empowered women such as Bess Evans, Kalsoom Lakhani, and Dr. Hina Chaudhry. Elshishtawy moderated our communications, media, and Journalism session that included Monica Lee, Zeba Khan, and Maria Ebrahimji.

Guests in attendance included both women who have established their careers as well as those who are still beginning to develop theirs.

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