We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
Unofficial Ambassador Deborah Carey gave her first presentation this month at a church in her hometown. Look for more presentations by AUA alums this fall. And a special thanks to Deborah for her amazing presentation and all her efforts this summer in Zanzibar.
On Sunday, August 3rd, I gave my first returning presentation as an Unofficial Ambassador! About 50 members of Trinity Wellsprings Church, in Satellite Beach, FL crowded into a seminar room between services to learn more about Zanzibar and the Islamic faith. After I described the mission of AUA, my role in Zanzibar as an ambassador and intern at ZAYEDESA, I opened the floor to questions. Many people asked about how I was received as an American and Christian, or about Islamic traditions that I experienced, such as Ramadan.
It was almost liberating to describe to members of my church family about the extreme hospitality and peacefulness I felt in Stone Town. I found myself comparing the sense of community in Zanzibar to our own small beachside town. Several people identified with similar experiences they had had throughout the world, in places such as Istanbul and with their Muslim neighbors here in the United States. At the same time, I could tell by the raising of eyebrows that this may have been the first time others had heard someone speak to the peace and cohesiveness of the Muslim world.
As I said goodbye to the attendees, many of them thanked me for my advocacy, or added “when you go back, present again!” I am so grateful to AUA for equipping me with presentation tips and tools that have allowed me to verbalize such a life-changing experience, thus adding closure to this summer, while sharing the peace of the Muslim World to my friends and family.