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MPAC Partners with the White House Hosting Groundbreaking Women’s Forum

Beyond the Ceiling: Groundbreaking Voices of American Muslim Women

April 17, 2014


MPAC's recent partnership with the White House to host a historic forum recognizing the contributions of American Muslim women brought together successful women from across the country to the White House. During the event, titled “Beyond the Ceiling: Groundbreaking Voices of American Muslim Women", MPAC and the White House recognized over 80 American Muslim women in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), business development, government, communications and entrepreneurship.

SEE: Facebook photo album for "Beyond the Ceiling"

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 Hoda Elshishtawy and 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, Tahira 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. MPAC young leader alumni, as well as local college and high school students were inspired by the accomplished women in attendance.

Lena Nour, MPAC Young Leader Alumni said, “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. 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.”

MPAC advocates for the development and inclusiveness of American Muslim women’s voices and stories in the continued celebration of our achievements during Women’s History Month and beyond.




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