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Our Friends

Our advisors and friends who believe strongly in the cause and are serving in different capacities to help launch and sustain the Foundation:

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DR. WILLIAM GRAHAM, DEAN OF THE DIVINITY SCHOOL, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Professor Graham was appointed Dean of Harvard Divinity School and joined its faculty in 2002. He has been a member of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 1973. He has served as director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Master of Currier House, and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on the Study of Religion, and the Core Curriculum Subcommittee on Foreign Cultures at Harvard. He is also former chair of the Council on Graduate Studies in Religion (U.S. and Canada). His scholarly work has focused on early Islamic religious history and textual traditions and problems in the history of world religion. In October 2000 he received the quinquennial Award for Excellence in Research in Islamic History and Culture from the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the research institute of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. He has held John Simon Guggenheim and Alexander von Humboldt research fellowships and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion (1987, 1993); Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam (1977; American Council of Learned Societies History of Religions Prize, 1978); co-author of The Heritage of World Civilizations (8th rev. ed., 2008) and Three Faiths, One God (2002); and co-editor of Islamfiche: Readings from Islamic Primary Sources (1982- 87). He is also the author of numerous articles and reviews. He is a summa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds honorary doctorates from UNC and Lehigh University. He loves documentaries.

ROBB MOSS, LECTURER ON FILMMAKING, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Moss’s current film, Secrecy, directed with Peter Galison, explores the vast, invisible, expanding world of government secrecy in the United States. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, Secrecy has since been invited to show at festivals in Tribeca, San Francisco, Austin (SXSW), Boston, Nantucket, Philadelphia, Palm Beach, Ashland, Croatia, Warsaw, Rio de Janeiro, and Vancouver. The film was included in gallery shows at the Kitchen/Whitney Independent Study Program in New York; Blackboxing at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin; and Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy at the ZKM, Karlsruhe. Moss’s recent film The Same River Twice premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit Award, and played theatrically in more than eighty cities across North America. Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader listed The Same River Twice as the Best Documentary (and Cinematography) of 2003. Moss’s films have premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, shown at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at numerous venues around the world including in Holland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Munich, Paris, Israel, Australia, and Brazil. As a cinematographer, he has shot films in Japan, Ethiopia, Turkey, Liberia, The Gambia, and Mexico on such topics as famine and the large-scale structure of the universe. He was on the documentary jury at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the 2005 Denver and Chicago International Film Festivals, and has thrice served as a creative adviser for the Sundance Institute Documentary Labs. He loves documentaries.

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GILES TRENDLE, MANAGER OF ACQUISITIONS, AL JAZEERA ENGLISH

Giles Trendle has a background in documentary-making and journalism, specialising in the Middle East. He has worked in both Arabic-language and English-language media. He is currently based in Qatar working for Al Jazeera English as Manager of Production. He previously worked at Al Jazeera Arabic where he worked on the channel’s top investigative documentary programme specialising in covering Al-Qaeda and the so-called ‘war on terror’. Giles began his career in journalism in 1985 spending almost ten years in Lebanon as a freelance journalist. He reported for, among others, The Economist and The Sunday Times. He covered the Lebanese civil war; the Western hostage saga; and the guerrilla war in south Lebanon. He moved into television and over the years has made numerous documentaries – including films in Iraq both during and after Saddam’s fall, as well as a film following former hostage John McCarthy’s return to Beirut to meet Hezballah. He loves documentaries.

REZA ASLAN, FOUNDER, BOOMGEN STUDIOS

Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is a fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy and Middle East Analyst for CBS News. He is also a featured blogger for Anderson Cooper 360. Reza Aslan has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the board of directors for the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues, Abraham’s Vision, an interfaith peace organization, and PEN USA. Aslan’s first book is the New York Times Bestselling, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award in the UK, and nominated for a PEN USA award for research Non-Fiction. His next book, How to Win a Cosmic War was published by Random House in April of 2009, followed by an edited anthology, Words Without Borders: Contemporary Literature from the Muslim World, published by Norton 2010. Aslan is cofounder and creative director of BoomGen Studios, a hub for creative content from and about the Middle East, as well as the Editorial Executive of Mecca.com, an on-line community for Muslim youth. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles where he is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside. He loves documentaries.

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DR. HUSSEIN RASHID

Hussein has worked in several positions that affect the South Asian and Muslim majority worlds. Starting in 1996 he aided President Lennart Mari of Estonia in trying to establish commercial relations between Estonia and India, Pakistan, and Iran. During 2003 he worked with the Harvard Islamic Legal Studies Program’s Afghan Legal History Project to create position papers on the draft Afghan constitution. He also advised a 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate’s foreign policy team on the religious issues in Iraq. He then consulted for a South Asia PAC. He has presented papers focused on the impact of 9/11 on Muslim adolescents throughout the US, about Muslim-American blogs, about Muslim-American music, and about Muslims in graphic novels. In 2006 and 2009 he was named one of the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow. He is an occasional speaker for the Interfaith Alliance, Faith in Public Life, and a teacher at Quest: A Center for Spiritual Inquiry at the Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City. He blogs at Islamicate, The Devil’s Advocate, AltMuslimah, and Talk Islam. Hussein Rashid received his PhD from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. His dissertation focused on racial and ethnic self-identification in South Asian immigrant communities in the US. He passed qualifying exams in Urdu Language and Literature, Indo-Muslim cultures, Islam in America, and Islamic Civilizations with a focus on Shi’i thought. He completed a Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, which focused on comparative Muslim-Hindu theologies in South Asia. He earned his BA from Columbia College of Columbia University with majors in Biology and Middle Eastern and [South] Asian Languages and Cultures. He loves documentaries.

DR. ALI ASANI, PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Ali S. Asani is Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures and Associate Director of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. He attended Harvard College, with a concentration in the Comparative Study of Religion, graduating summa cum laude in 1977. He continued his graduate work at Harvard in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), receiving his Ph.D. in 1984. Prof. Asani holds a joint appointment between the Committee on the Study of Religion and NELC. He also serves on the faculty of the Departments of Sanskrit and Indian Studies and African and African- American Studies. He currently directs NELC’s doctoral program in Indo-Muslim Culture. In addition, Dr. Asani has published numerous articles in journals and encyclopedias including The Encyclopedia of Religion, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, Encyclopedia of South Asian Folklore, and the Muslim Almanac. He also serves on the editorial advisory board of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World and the Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Islamic Congress as well as the Academic Council of Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University Professor Asani has been particularly active post-Sept 11 in improving the understanding of Islam and its role in Muslim societies by conducting workshops for high school and college educators as well as making presentations at various public forums. More recently, he has been involved in the Islamic Cultural Studies Initiative, an international professional development program for high school teachers in Kenya, Pakistan and Texas intended to promote a culturally and historically based approach to the study of Islam and Muslim societies. He has also served on the American Academy of Religion’s Task Force on the teaching of religion in schools. In 2002, he was awarded the Harvard Foundation medal for his outstanding contributions to improving intercultural and race relations at Harvard and in the nation. He loves documentaries.

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fadi ismail

FADI ISMAIL, GENERAL MANAGER/DIRECTOR, MBC GROUP

Fadi Ismaili has a masters in Middle Eastern Studies, American University of Beirut and has over 18 years experience in news, current affairs, documentaries and drama. Formerly, he was part of the management launch team for Al Arabiya news channel; Assistant Director, News and International Operations; and Producer and Reporter, special events, documentaries, telethons, live political chat programmes, television pilots. Since 2002, in his current position he is responsible for buying, and distributing annually hundreds of hours of factual and drama content and producing tens of hours in-house of programming. He is also author of: A Critical Review to the Concepts of Modernity, Renaissance and Modernization in Arab Thought between 1978-1987. He loves documentaries.

SALIM AMIN, CHAIRMAN, A24 MEDIA

Salim Amin is CEO of Camerapix, founder and Chairman of The Mohamed Amin Foundation, and Chairman of A24 Media. In 1963, world-renowned photographer, cameraman and publisher, Mohamed “Mo” Amin, launched Camerapix from a small shop in Dar es Salaam. From these humble beginnings grew a modern, independent media concern with a reputation for delivering world exclusive images and stories at the forefront of journalism in Africa. In 1998, The Mohamed Amin Foundation was launched to provide would-be African journalists with the tools and knowledge to tell local stories to an international audience. As Executive Producer and Presenter, Salim finished a documentary chronicling his father’s life in March 2006 entitled “MO & ME” which has to date won nine Awards for Best Documentary in the United States, Canada, India and on the African Continent, including the Grand Jury Award at the New York International Film Festival. The documentary achieved a successful theatrical release in Kenya and was screened at the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), as well as the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. In December 2005, Salim began work on the launch of the first 24-hour pan-African News and Current Affairs Channel. Africa 24 Media, a precursor to the Channel and Africa’s first online Agency for video and stills content, launched in September 2008 (www.a24media.com). In January 2007 Salim was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos. He is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He loves documentaries.

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