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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the Founder of Cordoba Initiative, an independent, multi-faith, and multi-national project that works with state and non-state actors to improve Muslim-West relations. In this capacity, he provides innovative solutions to those areas where conflict between Islamic and Western communities undermines local and global security.
Under Imam Feisalâ€™s leadership, the Cordoba Initiativeâ€™s programs craft strategic avenues for approaching divisive Muslim-West tensions. The programs include the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT), which cultivates the next generation of Muslim leaders from all over the world, and the Womenâ€™s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE), which empowers Muslim women globally.
Imam Feisal often receives requests for his expertise and advice because of his skillful approach to the complex intersection of Islamic and Western viewpoints. A number of these requests have resulted in working relationships with offices in the U.S. Department of State, members of the U.S. Congress, and representatives of foreign governments.
Imam Feisal balances his international responsibilities with his dedication to local and national concerns. In 1997, he founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) the first Muslim organization committed to building bridges between Muslims and the American public by elevating the discourse on Islam through educational outreach, interfaith collaboration, culture, and arts. Imam Feisal is a Trustee of the Islamic Center of New York and is a Vice Chair on the board of the Interfaith Center of New York.
Recognizing his interreligious bridge-building work Imam Feisal has been a recipient of numerous awards such as the AICPR Annual Alliance Peace Builder Award and the Annual James Parks Morton Interfaith Center of New York Award. In 2010, he received the Open Center of New York Interfaith Award, Arianna Huffingtonâ€™s â€œ2010 Game Changerâ€ Award, and was listed as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010 by the Foreign Policy magazine. Most recently, he received the UUSC Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, was ranked among the Top 50 Arabs by The Middle East magazine, and Time magazine named him among the 100 most influential people of the world.
A charismatic public speaker, Imam Feisal is frequently asked to comment on issues pertaining to Islam and the Muslim world. He has appeared regularly at the Council on Foreign Relations, in national and international media such as CNN and BBC, and has been widely quoted in The New York Times, Huffington Post, and the Jerusalem Post. Imam Feisal has written op-eds for The Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer and Huffington Post to name a few.
Imam Feisal comes from a family steeped in religious and spiritual activity. Born of Egyptian parentage and educated in England, Egypt, and Malaysia, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Columbia University in New York and a Master of Science in Plasma Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. He speaks English, Arabic, and Malay.