SoCal Women & Girls Gather for Rejuvenating Retreat & Learn to Make Their Voices Heard

March 17, 2014

On March 15, 2014, more than 80 women and girls gathered for the successful 2nd Annual Women and Girls Retreat co-sponsored by MPAC, the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI) and New Horizon Irvine (NHI). Focusing on the theme of “Making Our Voices Heard,” nine dynamic and inspiring speakers shared their knowledge and know-how to empower the participants to be inspired by the legacy of women before them, identify their dreams, support each other to pursue them, and be able to share their stories effectively.

SEE: Photo Album of 2nd Annual Women and Girls Retreat (Flickr)

Designed to create a safe space for American Muslim women and girls of all ages, participants left the retreat saying they felt rejuvenated, inspired and thankful for having a space for such a dialogue.

“One thing became crystal clear: more safe spaces are needed to invest in and cultivate women and girls in our communities. We want to see them take charge in believing in themselves, creating change and having their voices heard in their mosques, homes, communities and on the public stage," said Edina Lekovic, MPAC's Director of Policy and Programming. 

After hearing a moving keynote speech from Laila Karamally, Executive Director of Developments in Literacy USA, the participants were divided into four age groups and rotated through a series of four interactive workshops about:

  • Defining Your Vision
  • Making Your Voice Heard
  • Supporting Each Other to Move Forward
  • Grounding Yourself through Spirituality

The dynamic group of workshop instructors were: Metra Azar-Salem, a marriage and family counselor and professor at Claremont Lincoln University; Soraya Deen, inspiration speaker and founder of Resolution Revolution, Inc.; Dina Eletreby, Head of New Horizon Irvine; Lekovic, MPAC's Director of Policy and Programming; Amina Makhdoom, a high performance trainer and inspirational speaker; Tasneem Noor, a dream builder coach; Leyla Ozgur, a doctorate in near Eastern languages and cultures and Arabic literature; and Sheikha Muslema Purmul, who received a degree from Al-Azhar University.

MPAC, ICOI and NHI are committed to empowering American Muslim women and girls all around the country. If you are interested in hosting a similar retreat in your area, please contact Lekovic at

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