By Razeen Karim
Event Summary and Goals
Overall, I believe that the event went somewhat smoothly in terms of logistics, but completed the described goals listed in our original project proposal. First, we wished to promote a diverse space, with over 200 attendees representing 15+ nationalities, 10+ student organizations, and attendance of over 60% women. Second, our speakers all aligned with the theme of practicing with purpose, explaining the social and political movements associated with the religion of Islam and how these movements can be interpreted from an Islamic-perspective. Specifically, we received warm responses to our segments aligned with “diseases of the heart” which reflected upon experiences that many people find displeasing and how these experiences can lead to long-term emotional or social repercussions. They followed up with practical tips to include in one’s life in order to dispel these negative experiences and engaged in positive Q&A as well. Lastly, we were able to fulfill our goal of creating engaging topics for both the speakers and the audience members as well.
Pause and Reflect: Our conference was able to embody the ideals of the pause and reflect BLI habit through successfully engaging in small groups throughout the second day of events. Everyone was able to reflect on what was given to them and challenge any values or ideals both internally and externally. Secondly, this ideal was also continually embraced by the speakers as well who oftentimes asked the audience to reflect on what they were being told and to openly speak up if there was an issue. This allowed the members to actively reflect on all issues they were told about and create an open culture of learning.
Engage the World: We were able to develop this skill by ensuring that our speakers were not only diverse, but by learning about Islamic cultures from around the world, from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. We were informed on stories and reflections from scholars from a variety of regions and how these lessons reflected the culture from which they were raised. It reflected the duality of Islam and the applications based on different situations.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned through this event is how to communicate with people to do their tasks properly. Being members of a student organization, we all happen to be around the same age, thus, having an authoritative figure in the group does not usually work well. When most of the team is composed of undergraduate freshmen, it is better to lead by example and show them how to do things, so they can learn from it for the upcoming year. Through this method, I actually got to know a lot of people very closely and build long term friendships with them. It also made the event more fun as it created memories that carry with us after college. Whether it was thinking out how we are going to feed everyone, or how to solve the on-spot issues we encountered during the event, instead of biting our nails and stressing about them, we turned them into “inside joke” as worked on resolving them.