Citizen Diplomacy Network

The Network unites organizations that are committed to advancing purposeful global engagement at a person-to-person level, providing them with a common platform from which to share, participate, and learn in this important community.

AbdelKader Education Project (AEP, Inc.)

Active Areas:

Culture and Arts, Development, Educational Exchanges, Higher Education, K-12 Education

Age Groups:

Children (12 years & under), Teens (13 – 17 years), Young Adults (18 – 24 years)

Countries Served:



24854 Edgewood Ave.
Elkader, IA 52403, USA


Phone: (563) 329-0448
[email protected]

AbdelKader Education Project (AEP) promotes cultural literacy, civility and respectful engagement between all people through education and outreach drawing on Emir Abdelkader’s life story and values – courage, integrity, intellect, humility and compassion – that transcend culture and faith traditions.

  • The AbdelKader Education Project promotes global citizen diplomacy and respectful engagement between cultures using educational resources to increase understanding about the Middle East and Islamic culture through the legacy of Emir Abdelkader, a courageous humanitarian, ethical leader, and religious scholar of the 19th century.

  • The AbdelKader Project team, together with the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), is developing curricula and discussion guides for use in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, libraries and civic book clubs in the U.S. and abroad regarding the relevance of Abd el-Kader’s life for better understanding of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.

    Forum: Each May, the Abdelkader Education Project hosts students, educators, community organizers, and other distinguished guests from across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond who travel to Elkader to take part in the city-wide event. The Forum, typically spanning two days, is put together to honor the winning students of the annual AEP essay competition in addition to commemorate the legacy of Elkader’s Muslim namesake: the widely-aclaimed Algerian statesman, scholar, and warrior, Emir Abdelkader.

    Global Leadership Prize: AED hosts essay contests each year based on the question “How is Abd el-Kader relevant to today?”
    More info:

  • The project was born from Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader, a Story of True Jihad (Monkfish Books) launched in Elkader, Iowa in 2008. The emir’s fame was such that in 1846 a country lawyer in Dubuque named a settlement after the “valiant Arab chieftain” who had been frustrating a French colonial occupation of North Africa for 15 years. Exiled in Damascus, he reached the pinnacle of his fame by saving the lives of thousands of local Christians and the European diplomatic community who were the object of a local pogrom in 1860.

    Using the life of the emir as a seed, the project wants to attract other stories of Muslims whose example can inspire Muslims and non-Muslims alike. There is a need to build a counter narrative to balance the almost exclusively negative images of Muslims presented through the media. To think straight, people need more than lopsided, sensational information about Islam. That seems to be the reason Monks of Tibhirine and Commander of the Faithful have resonated widely among both Muslims and non-Muslims.



  • Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize

    Announcing…2014-2015 Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests for high school and college students across the U.S. with monetary scholarship awards and honors at both levels.

    2014 essay winner Michael Keen wrote, “Abdelkader was a rare man in history. He was a reluctant warrior but a warrior for righteousness, a defender of his people, and a protector of the weak, including his enemies. He drew inspiration, not hatred, from his religion, and it motivated him to set an example for human rights that drew praise from around the world in his own day. It is unfortunate that Abdelkader’s story is not widely known today because he still has much to teach the world. I hope that in my own small way I can bring Abdelkader’s lessons to a larger audience.”

    Upon Emir Abdelkader’s death in 1883, The New York Times eulogized, “The nobility of his character won him the admiration of the world. He was one of the few great men of the century.”

    Visit information and contest details. Students are encouraged to “sign-up” now to participate in the contest. Essays are due before April 15, 2015. Educators can “sign-up” to be a mentor and receive updates as they become available.

    Essay Scholarship Awards
    Iowa High School students (1st Place = $1,000; 2nd Place = $500)
    U.S. High School students (1st Place = $1,000; 2nd Place = $500)
    U.S. College students (1st Place = $1,500; 2nd Place = $1,000)

    Sign up now to enter – Essay Deadline: before April 15, 2015

    Enter the essay contest today to explore models of ethical leadership, moral courage and humanitarian conduct.