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Nominee Profile

Name: Reza Jalali
Country:United States
Category: Muslim Writer of the Year
Total Votes: 9

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List of the nominee's achievements:

Reza Jalali, recognized as one of the eminent ethnic Americans in Making it in America: a sourcebook on eminent ethnic Americans (©2001by Elliott Robert Barkan), is from Iran. He is a human rights and Muslim scholar who has lived in Maine since 1985. As a writer, his essays, short stories, and commentaries have appeared in the local and international newspapers. As a member of Amnesty International USA Board of Directors, Jalali has led delegations to different refugee camps in Turkey and Bosnia. Jalali is one of the contributing writers to Child Labor: A Global View (©2004, Greenwood Press), the multimedia production Middle East Suitcase Project (©2005, Center for Cultural Exchange), and The World of Child Labor: An Historical and Regional Survey (©2009, M.E. Sharpe Inc.) Jalali wrote the Foreword to New Mainers (©2009, Tilbury House Publishers) a book on immigrant’s experiences in Maine. His first children book, Moon Watchers, published by Tilbury House Publishers in June 2010, has received a Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural Book. Jalali’s forthcoming book, God Speaks in Many Accents, is about the religions that Maine’s immigrants have brought with them to their new home in the U.S. His play, The Poets and the Assassin, which is about women in Iran, has been staged at Bates College, University of Southern Maine, Bowdoin College, and University of New England. Jalali has been included in 50 In 52 Journey, a national project to name “Americans who are problem-solvers, idea-generators in their communities, in their cities, and in their States and are moving America forward.”
Reza teaches at the Bangor Theological Seminary and is an adjunct faculty at the University of Southern Maine. He is the Muslim Chaplain at University of Southern Maine and Bates College and coordinates the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Southern Maine.

The impact and influence the nominee had on the Muslim word:

Reza's efforts to educate non-Muslims by writing, lecturing, and reaching out to immigrant Muslim groups, arriving in Maine as refugees and immigrants to help them integrate well and become part of the American society deserves recognition. As one of the first Muslims arriving in Maine in mid-80's, he has worked hard to ensure the Muslims following him and arriving as refugees from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Bosnia, to name a few, could feel safe, included, and accepted in Maine. He has worked at the State and city-level, with the public schools officials (having non-pork food items in the schools cafeteria, for example,) banks, colleges and universities (starting with Muslim student associations, acting as Muslim chaplain at Bates College and University of Southern Maine to establishment of prayer rooms at three colleges and universities) to help Muslims, young and old, newly-arrived and others, feel at home in Maine, the country's whitest state.

The impact and influence the nominee had on the world and humanity:

His interfaith efforts in bringing Muslims, Christians, and Jews, as Children of Abraham, has made him a household name in Maine and parts of New England. He has been a co-founder of Interfaith Maine and a member of Wellspring, a non-profit interfaith group in Maine. He has spoken at more than 40 churches and synagogues during past 10 years. He has taught courses on the Islamic-Christian and Islamic-Jewish shared values and histories.
Reza has served on numerous boards, including a two-term (elected) on board of directors of Amnesty International USA.
In 1991, he visited the White House, as part of a delegation to address the humanitarian issue of refugees fleeing Iraq in post-First Gulf War.
Reza has led delegations to the United Nations conferences in Vienna (1992 &1993) and to refugee camps in Turkey and Bosnia.
In October 2013, he co-hosted an interfaith delegation to Palestine and Israel, where the group members visited sites sacred to the three Abrahamic Faiths and met with Palestinians and Israelis.

How the nominee’s activities and achievement will continue to impact and influence in the future:

God Willing, as a writer, educator, scholar, and community activist, Jalali will continue to lead interfaith efforts to bridge religious and cultural differences in Maine and in the u.S. His books and his lectures will provide both non-Muslims and Muslims to understand the divine message of Islam and in helping humanity to address the issue of racism, religious intolerance, acceptance of New Americans, injustice and human rights to find solutions to repair our broken world.
His forthcoming book, God Speaks in Many Accents, which describes the Maine's new immigrants' search for spirituality and struggle to remain active religiously, for example, will enjoy a wide audience as it tells the timeless and universal story of Muslim immigrants as they establish roots and create communities to replace those lost to wars, famine, and displacement.

List of any references that support the nomination, i.e books, magazaines, websites, ..etc

Reza Has co-authored and written many books, including Middle East Suitcase Project (2004, Center for Cultural Exchange) New Mainers (2008, Tilbury), Moon Watchers, a children's book about Ramadan, (2010, Tilbury), Homesick Mosque (2013, Xlibris), among others. His essays, articles, stories about Muslims and Ramadan have appeared in local, national, and international publications. His research on immigrants (Access to Food For African Refugees in Lewiston, Maine (2011, Maine Policy Review),for example have been published.
He has received few awards including 'Community Leadership Award', 'Annual Human Rights (Amnesty International USA, Maine), and 'Public Citizen Award'.