National Student Leadership Conference 2016

The 2016 National Student Leadership Conference was a great success. The AIC and PN staff was very happy to host Project Nur student’s, the cofounder of Parents for Peace, and representatives from the CIA, Amnesty international, and multiple government agencies at this years conference. Check out the pictures, speakers, and event brief below!

#VAR2016 #VoicesAgainstRadicalism


Zainab Al-Suwaij, Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress

DSC_2940Zainab Al-Suwaij is a co-founder of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) and has been its Executive Director since its inception in 2001. In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Zainab left her teaching position at Yale to launch AIC with the mission of building interfaith and interethnic understanding and to represent the diversity of American Muslim life. Under her direction, AIC has trained hundreds of young Middle Eastern activists in the methods of non-violent protest and social media mobilization, empowering them to challenge regimes during the Arab Spring

Melvin Bledsoe, Founder of Parents for Peace

DSC_2943After his son Carlos was brainwashed by radical extremists and murdered a soldier in Arkansas, Melvin Bledsoe channeled his pain into advocacy. After his son’s arrest, Melvin founded Parents for Peace (PFP), an organization that aims to translate the pain of parents into a positive way forward, enabling struggling families to break the silence and effectively safeguard their children from the lure of extremist ideologies. PFP is an alliance of families impacted by extremism and supporters who work together to: raise awareness about the danger of radical ideologies; provide support to families trying to save loved ones from being radicalized; and advocate for policies that safeguard young Americans from indoctrination. Founder Melvin Bledsoe has testified to Congress and been featured in an array of national media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Check out Parents for Peace at:

Savannah Fox, Amnesty International USA Field Organizer

Savannah is a skilled activist, organizer, facilitator, and human rights educator with over five years of experience working in international public-interest education field. She performs human rights outreach, advocacy, and strategic planning throughout the United States and around the world. She was raised by a family of Southern women who were strong, active parts of their communities. Both her grandmother and mother were teachers who cultivated and supported the youth in their neighborhoods and cities. Through education they instilled values in their students of fairness, intellect, compassion, and justice. These are values that Savannah currently puts into practice as she supports communities across the country in social justice campaigns

Christina Petrosian, Central Intelligence Agency

DSC_2967Christina Petrosian is an Executive Staff Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) serving as a Diversity and Outreach Program Manager in the Agency’s Diversity and Inclusion Office. During her thirty year career, she has served the Agency and the Intelligence Community through assignments in Human Resources, the Office of Security, the Directorate of Operations, the Recruitment Center, and in the Director’s area. Ms. Petrosian is a recognized leader in strategic program management and development, and cultural diversity.

Daniel Shaffer, Project Nur AlumniDSC_2968 copy

Daniel Shaffer graduated from the University of Florida last year, with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He has lived in both Morocco and Turkey through study abroad programs and has studied Arabic for the latter three years of his time as an undergraduate. Daniel became involved in Project Nur through his Arabic class, and helped to establish the chapter at his school. As an undergrad, Daniel interned at the Heritage Foundation in an Africa foreign policy position, at the State Department Foreign Service Institute, and in the U.S. House of Representatives. Daniel is wrapping up his first year at American University Washington College of Law. He will be heading to Uganda this summer to work on rule of law development with the International Law Institute Africa Centre for Legal Excellence.

Career Fair!


The career fair on Sunday morning included representatives from the U.S. Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Counterterrorism Center, and the Institute of International Education.

Shout out to our photographer, Aleem Mohammad of Hobart and William Smith University


And the restaurant Zaaki, for all the amazing food!


Thank you everyone for joining us!



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