Immigrant Muslims Are As American As Anyone Else: Few Observations

Dr. Ikraam is a neonatologist who migrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1989. He lives in Ellicott City, MD, and runs his own hospital in nearby Baltimore. He is an active member of Muslim community and serves at the board of local Islamic Center as well as the Advisory Council of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), one of the largest American Muslim Organization. Almost all of his extended family is settled in the U.S. and they all are very religious and practicing Muslims.

YLAI Professional Fellows Program 2017 Application Launched

YLAI and Atlas Corps

Atlas Corps as partner of Meridian International Center is pleased to announce that applications for the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program 2017 are now open. The five-week program will place up to 250 business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean in relevant businesses and startups, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities in 24 cities across the U.S. Fellows will also become part of the larger YLAI Network, which will provide online resources and a space for young leaders to make regional connections.



campaign theme: #BeBoldForChange

The History of Women’s day

Women’s day was first celebrated on February 28th, 1909 in New York. After about two years, a German socialist called Luise Zietz made a proposal to make the occasion an annual observation that would celebrate various women’s issues in order to promote equal rights for women. Over the years, the international women’s day has been celebrated differently by different countries. The first two celebrations after women’s day was established, were completely different compared to what we see these days. There were demonstrations taking place especially in Europe where women demanded to be given voting rights and an opportunity to hold public offices since sex discrimination in employment was a big issue at the time. I believe that in some countries, this is still an issue that needs addressing. In 1917 at Saint Petersburg, Russia, the February Revolution was initiated by the help of women’s day demonstrations that demanded an end to World War I.



Person A: [bigoted statement]
Person B: The f#$%?
Person C: Now, now, let’s have civility.
Dear C: You came in one statement too late.~ John Scalzi 

I encountered the word TONE POLICING in my quest to find out why I got called out in a bridge building class by a group of activists when we touched on the subject of LGBTQIA+. In constructing my question, I made a comment about trying to understand people from that community. Also, apparently, it was thought I used a word considered derogatory – sympathy – instead of empathy. Well, the reaction to my comment and the supposed use of the word empathy took me by surprise. Eventually I had time to talk it over with one or two of them, but the impression of their reaction never quite left me. Here are some of my thoughts on what I am learning.

Relations Beyond Borders

It feels awesome when your friends, family and acquaintances joins you to celebrate your birthday or send their wishes/cards on your day. Although it’s not common in the society where I grew up, yet I have been lucky enough to celebrate my day with different type of people at different places; especially during past few years since I’m serving in development sector.

I still remember my first amazing birthday celebration, when I joined Plan International on my birthday in 2011 and after a tiring day of project orientation my friends took me to a restaurant and gave me the surprise and year after year I celebrated it during working in the field with communities, traveling from one part to another to celebrate with my loved one and at field offices with my workmates.

Structural racism at Brussels Airport

The Brussels Airport is one of the busiest airport in Europe. It is fast becoming a major transit center for travelers particularly to Sub-Saharan Africa. Being a major transfer center for passengers traveling to and from Africa, it would be expected that these passengers deserve nothing but equal treatment commensurate to what travelers to other destinations enjoy. Nevertheless, one cannot but be disgusted by the unfair, unjust, and prejudiced treatment meted to travelers to the Sub-Sahara African region at the Brussels Airport.

AN EARLY BELL TO NEW FELLOWS: how to make the “year-long” fellowship more meaningful.

NEW FELLOWS: An early bell to straighten your path

NEW FELLOWS: An early bell to straighten your path

In what seemed like a dream unfolding into a hazy reality, my acceptance into the Atlas Corps fellowship was the best thing that happened to me in 2016. Finding it hard to tender my resignation to my previous organization, I only jumbled together few handover notes and updates on pending tasks at the dire moment; all because I worked till the last moment (few days before my trip to the USA) to ease transition for the incoming Communications Lead. Just in a day, I packed my clothes-most of which I personally designed- and clutched few reading materials, all set for the year-long fellowship.

Learning about the Youth Potential at the Latin American Youth Center

I could hardly wait to conduct the workshop at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC). Prior to this day I reached out to Lina del Pilar Bocanegra – an Atlas Corps Fellow from Colombia serving at this organization about designing and facilitating a workshop. It was intended to help the kids from the marginalized community get a new perspective by meeting me – someone from a different country and by hearing my life’s story. It was also very appealing to me as it would give me a new perspective about how this organization worked and understand how the children from this community were supported by United States of America through this organization. Thanks to Lina as she was absolutely supportive while designing and conducting the workshop!

Why I believe young people are key to leading change

This is the second blog in a new series of Q&As with young people who volunteer with Restless Development in Africa and Asia, we spoke to 23-year old Rakesh Kumar Gupta, a Restless Development India volunteer

“If I ruled the world, I’d free all my sons,” an excerpt from a 90s rap song by American rapper Nas states. Not riches. Not wealth. But the ultimate power – freedom.

But freedom itself doesn’t mean the right to do what we want. It is the power to do what we ought – put young people at the forefront of change and development in a changing world.

Rethinking the future of education in Africa: A.U Agenda 2063 in focus.


I had the opportunity of attending the World Bank Group Youth Summit on “Rethinking Education for the New Millennium” which held at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C., in November 2016. The 2-day summit brought together experts from different sectors around the world, as well as young emerging global leaders from over 90 countries, to deliberate on issues focusing on the future of education.

The 4 main subthemes of the summit centered on the following:

  • Innovation and Technology in Education
  • Skills for the New Economy
  • Gender Equality in Education
  • Education in Crisis Zones