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Soumaya Khalifa Joins Leadership Atlanta 2015

Soumaya Khalifa Joins Leadership Atlanta 2015

Author Iman Naim by

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Soumaya Khalifa, the founder and Executive Director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau, was recently announced as a 2015 class member of Leadership Atlanta, the oldest sustained community leadership program in the nation dedicated to cultivating leaders from members of the Atlanta community. Metro Atlanta's most influential CEOs, educators, judges, elected officials, entrepreneurs, community organizers, non-profit leaders, and professionals are graduates of the program

Starting June 3 and lasting nine months, the Leadership Atlanta program will host a series of retreats, classes, race relation workshops, and many other opportunities not usually available to the public.

'It's a huge time commitment,' said Khalifa, 'but it's also an opportunity to be outside everyone's comfort zone and to be able to learn and teach and share.'

Khalifa spoke further with Atlanta Muslim about her goals for the program:

Atlanta Muslim (AM): Can you tell me how you were chosen to be in the program?
Soumaya Khalifa (SK): The program is on their website so its basically open for people to sign up for, but I was nominated to it by the CEO of the National Center for Human Civil Rights. And so the process for me was to act on that. From what I read on the website it's unusual for people to be chosen the first time out they apply, many people apply many times. I was very honored because this was my first time to apply and be accepted for it.

AM: What do you hope to get from the program?
SK: My goals are first—the Muslim voice in Atlanta is not anywhere to be found. I would like to bring that Muslim voice to the conversation in the metro Atlanta area and for Muslims to have a seat at the table. So that's one of my passions, to have the inclusiveness be broader than what it is and bringing more diverse people—including Muslims into the discussion. The second thing I talked about [in my application] was the empowerment of women—specifically women from minority groups. They can add so much to their own communities and to the city and they're an untapped resource. The Muslim community needs to work on that.

AM: Do you plan on incorporating what you learn into the ISB?
SK: Absolutely. It will be a two way street—to bring that Muslim voice to the table—but also going back to connections and the networking that this program provides, that community, and creating a win-win situation for everyone that's involved.

AM: What does it mean to you to have become a part of this program?
SK: It's a huge honor. It's a very big time commitment that I am willing to take. It's to represent the ISB and to let people know about the Muslim community in Atlanta.

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