From Sept. 18-26, Wesleyan’s Jewish community will observe the holiday of Sukkot by living, studying, holding classes, meditating, eating and socializing in a structure made completely of bamboo and steel rods. On Sept. 9-11, four members of Wesleyan’s Physical Plant staff worked full days to assemble the massive temporary structure on the lawn of Olin Library.
Through the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Wesleyan’s Muslim Chaplain Marwa Aly is engaging with experts in various fields and is articulately developing a vision and purpose in her work as a chaplain.
As one of 22 prominent Muslim Americans who received a 2011-2012 Civic Leadership Fellowship, Aly is connecting to a network of civic leaders across the country and facilitating a forum for constructive intra-Muslim dialogue. She’s learning how to identify leadership needs, ways to guide the development of projects, partnerships and resources and gaining practical skills in communication, community mobilization, leadership, advocacy and organizational management.
“I am looking forward to implementing what I’ve learned in my career as a Muslim chaplain,” she says.
The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) is housed at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC), and works in partnership with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University.
The Institute aims to empower emerging American Muslim civic leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 to help their communities engage in effective civic participation. The program will convene over the course of eight months. During this period, AMCLI fellows participate in three residential programs, as well as a series of conference calls and online programs. They also attend three retreats in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
Aly has been the Muslim Chaplain at Wesleyan and Trinity College since 2008. She is an activist that provides pastoral care from an Islamic perspective and guidance counseling for the Muslim students on campus. She’s active with the Muslim American Society and is on the speaker’s bureau for the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut. Her web site is www.marwaaly.com.
Aly, who’s working towards a certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, applied for the fellowship after being encouraged by a former fellow, Rabia Chaudry.
“Initially, I thought it would be a great way to network with other like-minded Muslims, active in their communities and excelling in their professional fields. After the first retreat in Chicago, however, I realized just how much the directors, Brie Loskota and Nadia Roumani have invested in giving us the proper training tools to develop as leaders,” she says.
Following the final conference in May, Aly will receive a certificate of completion during a graduation ceremony.