The Cultural Connect

Driven by Faith: Jacques Bahati and His Mission for Africa

“I have, therefore we have,” is the concept that drives 35-year-old Jacques Bahati. He is a Policy Analyst for the Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), which brings the concerns of the people of Africa, especially the impoverished majority, to policy makers. AFJN is a member of the Executive Committee of Congo Global Action Coalition, an organization that is especially important to Jacques because he grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His involvement in DR Congo goes beyond AFJN; he has alsoCo-Founded Healthy Congo, INC, an organization that strives to bring HIV awareness in the rural Congo. In addition he works with his home parish...

MeccaOne Media: A Voice for the Everyday Muslim

Let’s face it – after September 11, 2001, the depiction of Muslims around the world has been negative. Associations with terrorism, fanaticism, and hatred has been predominant. The common Muslim voice has been unheard.Omair Ali, 30, decided to change all of that in 2002. He founded MeccaOne Media, in an effort to provide a ‘voice of the everyday Muslim living in the West’. With a growing audience of Muslim and Non-Muslim listeners, MeccaOne has succeeded in gaining several notable firsts – including the first to broadcast a live Islamic call to prayer and first to provide Islamic podcasts on iTunes. Learn...

Turning Management into a Profession: Devi Vallabhaneni

Lawyers take the bar exam. Physicians take the board exam. Accountants take the CPA exam. Devi Vallabhaneni is working to get business managers to take the Certified Business Manager (CBM) exam. As President and CEO of the Association of Professionals in Business Management (APBM), Devi, 37, is trying to make business management a profession, with its own certification, code of ethics, and continuing education requirements. APBM designed the CBM credential, a master’s-level certification based on an MBA curriculum. It consists of a four-part, 16-hour exam that measures mastery of business management knowledge and skills. It can be taken during, after, or in lieu of an...

Luis Gazitua: Young Lawyer Extraordinaire

Luis Andre Gazitua, Esq. is a man of passion, integrity, and drive who, at age 31, works tirelessly as Senior Adviser in the Mayor’s Office of Miami-Dade County, as founding partner of the law firm of Gazitua Letelier, and as theGovernmental and Community Liaison of the professional networking organization Next In Line. Can you still keep up with this stamina? Guiding business development ventures in both the private and public sectors, Luis tells us that there’s more to be gained by reaching beyond personal gain and financial accumulation. Working with Habitat for Humanityof Greater Miami-Dade County, Luis sits on the Board’s Family Selection Committee where he is able to...

Youngest U.S. Newspaper Bureau Chief Hannah Allam

Imagine engaging in dialogue with communities from the most war torn cities around the globe, documenting international affairs as they happen by the minute, and country-hopping to more than a dozen locales annually. Imagine these opportunities as your full time job! For Hannah Allam, age 29,Cairo Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers, this is the reality that’s helped effectively encapsulate world events for the domestic audience. Covering events in the Middle East and the Islamic World, Hannah’s reporting brings the ravages and spectacles of war a bit closer to home helping readers better understand the true meaning of conflict and combat. As...

Executive Director Zainab Al Suwaij of the American Islamic Congress

The global women’s right movement is not only a woman’s movement, but a human one whose impact can be felt in all aspects of life, from the political to the religious. Zainab Al-Suwaij is the 35 year-old Co-Founder and Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) whose mission is to build “interfaith and interethnic understanding.” By promoting human rights, and social justice, and fighting terrorism, extremism and hate speech, the AIC is at the forefront of a movement that reaches out to all peoples in the hopes of establishing a real dialogue which will educate people about Islam and the diversity within it....

Actress and Activist Shiva Rose

Often times we see gossip columns that focus on celebrity relationships, fashion, and follies. Many times it is difficult, if not impossible, to read and learn about celebrities of substance. Shiva Rose, starring in her latest film “David and Layla,” bravely brings current issues to the forefront of our minds both on and off film. Active in human rights, anti-war protests and organizations, Shiva dedicates as much time as possible to fighting injustice and violence across the world. She has also become the first Persian actress to lead in an English speaking film. The film “David and Layla” tackles such politically...

Institute for Middle East Understanding

Another bomb blast, another day. That’s usually how it is for people reading the news in the comfort of their homes away from Palestine and Israel. Unfortunately (and unfairly), it’s the suicide bombings that catch most of the headlines – what’s the other side of the story? That’s what the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) andLena Khalaf, 31, co-founder, hope to tell. IMEU is a non-profit aimed at proving journalists with quick access to accurate and relevant information – including commentaries, analysis, photos, and more – regarding Palestine-related issues, both political and cultural. It’s a tough task, but Lena and IMEU...

Rumanni Filmworks

From the moment Eyad Zahra realized his passion for cinema, he hasn’t been able to keep his mind off of filmmaking. This 23-year old award-winning filmmaker is an up and coming producer who started his own company, Rumanni Filmworks, before finishing even a quarter of his life. His films have played in countless festivals and even gone on to steal prestigious awards. Currently, he is working onthe much-anticipated SALAAM MTV – MTV’s answer to the Arab world. The MidEastConnect has realized that you cannot know about modern cinema without knowing more about Eyad Zahra and therefore we are proud to feature him in this...

An Anti-Rape Condom?

I cannot place myself in the shoes of a rape victim. I cannot begin to imagine the blinding fear that comes with walking the streets of Johannesburg, or the pangs of helplessness, hopelessness, and indiscriminate fury that rape victims attempt to deal with. I cannot relate to those who have felt like they have had their humanity violated, their decency trampled, and their norms of order and stability stripped down violently in an act of shameful cowardice. I would rather be angry. I would rather lash out at the societal hierarchy and cultures of violence that breed such despicable violence....