The AMEL Speakers Bureau empowers young peace, interfaith and human rights activists from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) who are living in the U.S., including immigrants, refugees and visiting fellows. Building upon the experiences of AMEL President Mohamed Abubakr, AMEL Speakers receive public speaking training and are deployed to college campuses, community centers and places of worship across the U.S. Sharing their courageous stories, they spread sparks of inspiration, understanding, dialogue and cooperation while at the same time expanding their leadership profiles and abilities.
The AMEL Speakers Bureau began recruitment of its first cohort in December 2017 in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League-New York (ADL)-New York/New Jersey region. Under the banner "My Voice, Our Future", the joint AMEL-ADL campaign features millennial leaders from the Middle East and Africa who are taking action to bridge divides. Following targeted recruitment in December 2017, a first group of young leaders were chosen: Cedric Nwafor, Isaac Cudjoe, Bnyad Sharef, Mor Yahalom and Ruwan Al-Rejoleh, who are bringing stories from diverse backgrounds spanning Cameroon, Ghana, Iraq, Israel and Syria. Between January and March 2018, they received training in speech-crafting and public speaking.
Following the training, the AMEL Speakers began to be deployed to a series of speaking engagements to bring together and inspire diverse audiences across New York and New Jersey. Their voices are fostering the spirit of religious understanding and pluralism through events on college campuses, at diverse organizations and institutions, and houses of worship. In those spaces, they are sharing their courageous stories of overcoming hatred and exclusion and encouraging others to join them in denying divisiveness through dialogue, engagement and cooperation.
The pilot program will run through the Fall of 2018 and, on a modular basis, the program will be expanded throughout the country and to additional speakers.