Chicago Roundup
2011 Road to Innovative Social Entrepreneurship-Pakistan Conference (RISE-PAK) . Annual Urdu Day at ICC . MEC Mosque, an Architectural Landmark of Muslim Community . Hadya Students Association Discusses Food Crisis in Niger at CBC Monthly Forum
By Dr Mujahid Ghazi

2011 Road to Innovative Social Entrepreneursship-Pakistan Conference (RISE-PAK)

2011 Road to Innovative Social Entrepreneurship-Pakistan Conference (RISE-PAK)

Chicago, May 20 th 2011: RISE-Pak is an idea conceived by a group of University of Chicago students little more than a year ago to find a unique way to help Pakistan recover history’s worst disaster. It started with an invitation sent to college students across the world to design a social entrepreneurial project dedicated to flood relief efforts in Pakistan.

Various teams were encouraged to analyze the urgent social issues presented by the crisis in Pakistan and to come up with unique solutions that could be implemented with a $10,000 donation funded by Coca-Cola and other sponsors in the region by the Human Development Foundation on their behalf. Out of dozens of teams across the globe who responded to the call, ten were selected to participate in the final round.

During the three-day conference which started on May 19 th, 2011 and ended May 21 st, 2011, a group of judges analyzed the social venture presentations. Besides this, there was also a preliminary challenge, two on-site business competitions, focusing on marketing and consulting, and a presentation by the Global Poverty Project.

There was a diverse speaker series with Dr. Khalid Riaz, founder of Human development Foundation; Alexander Sandy Chapman, Program Associate at International Government and Relations & Public Affairs Team; Ethan Casey, author of Alive and Well in Pakistan and Overtaken by Events; and Natalia Franco, Former Global Chief Marketing Officer of Burger King.

Marketing Challenge was sponsored by Culture, The Yogurt Society awhile Consulting Challenge was sponsored by Global Brand Consulting, both being leaders in their respective fields.

On Friday, May 20, 2011, a gala dinner was organized to introduce the teams to the Pakistani American Diaspora in Chicago. The program was masterly conducted by David Akinin, Co-Director RISE-Pak; Nicolas Duque, Director of Operations RISE-Pak and Alberto Da Costa, Director of Competition Materials while Pedro Sanchez de Lozada, Director of Marketing, handled the media projection. Aliya Bagewadi, Co-Director of the RISE Board commended her colleagues for organizing a successful conference. The teams came to the podium one by one and with the help short introductory videos presented their vision. They were:

Team Rise United from Jacobs University with Elena Isac, Rashi Sinha, Lida-Maria Lottko and Usman Ramay.

Team Innovation Corporation from University of Chicago with Feroze Shah, Arjun Vin and Shivani Jain.

Team NGO Connect from University of Chicago with Umang Sanghai, Andrei Daniliuc and Ruben McCreanor.

Green Team from Temple University, Monterray Institute of Technology and Wake Forest University with Mirza Ahmed, Catalina Villanueva and Kaitlyn Hudgens.

Team VOWs from New York University and Sarah Lawrence College with Ben Miller, Ross Bauer, Garin Kessler and Jacqueline Assar.

Team Books R Us from Truman State University with Brandon Whemyer, Racheal Kissee and Rudol Cesaretti.

Team Circle of Women from Harvard University and University of Chicago with Huma Shah, Shereen Asmat and Ardevan Yaghoubi.

Team Possibilities Pakistan from University of Chicago with Suchin Gururangan, Alfredo Luque, Max Viscio and Bilal Kamal.

Present among the audience were Jafar and Arshia Husnain, Mr. and Mrs. Tariq Melhance, Dr and Mrs. Afzal Ahmed, Saleem Shaikh, Dr. Inamul Haq, Tariq Khawaja and other prominent Pakistani Americans.


Annual Urdu Day at ICC

Chicago, May 21 st, 2011: Annual Urdu Day was celebrated at the Islamic Center of Chicago last Saturday. It was a short but impressive event, the only Urdu competition organized by any center in Chicago.

Mr. Mehboob Warisi introduced the judges of the competition. Mrs. Durdana Warisi introduced this scribe. The first session was an Urdu speech contest. One after another children of different ages came and spoke on their duties as kids in the society. This was followed by a talent show and it was amazing to see how the children were able to prepare various acts with limited resources. Special mention must be made of Ibrahim Khan and Mikhail Shah for their Qawali and Sheikh Chilli skit and Abdul Rafay for his potato parody. Later, Mr.Masood Faheem, Director Urdu Department, commended the children and their parents for taking interest in promoting the Urdu language.

This scribe told the audience how proud he feels to be part of this event. The children who participated in the speech contest were divided into two groups on the basis of their ages. In Group A, Hamza Ansari was adjudged first, Abdul Rafay 2 nd and Ali Khan third. In Group B Ibrahim Khan came 1 st, Mikhail Shah came second and Mohammed Haider Zeeshan came 3 rd.

Executive Director of ICC Mr. Abdul Hai was also present on the occasion.


MEC Mosque, an architectural landmark of the Muslim community

MEC Mosque in Morton Grove attracts hundreds of Muslims every Friday, who come to submit to the Creator and listen to the scholars. It was built after a tiresome fight with the Islamophobic elements in the Village of Morton Grove. Now it is not only a mosque with five time prayers but also a center which holds religious seminars, Tafseer and Hadith lectures and provides the community with a banquet facility to hold family and social events. It also provides a religious environment for the hundreds of students attending the MEC Full Time and Sunday School in the adjacent building.

The kitchen in the basement is used to cook fresh food for the students during school hours. It also provides food for the Friday prayer attendees at a very reasonable price. Part of the proceeds from the sale goes to the mosque and school. It is a good example to follow for Muslims living in other cities and towns. The students of Muslim Educational Center have shown excellence not only in curricular activities but have also proved their excellence in extra-curricular activities. Habib Quadri who has a Master’s degree in Education is a young Muslim appointed as principal few years ago and with aggressive innovative leadership has taken the school to the next level.


Hadya Students Association discusses food crisis in Niger at CBC Monthly Forum

Chicago, May 20 th, 2011: Community Builders Chicago (CBC) hosted Hadya Students Association (HSA) from College Preparatory School (CPSA)  at its monthly forum last Friday. High school students Nimrah Mirza and Naima Zaheer of College Preparatory School of America(CPSA)  discussed the history of their organization and its current  project to relieve the  food crisis in Niger through partnership with Islamic Relief.

“Hadiya Students Association”, Nimrah Mirza explained, “strives to improve the lives of others through disaster relief, relief of poverty and is focused on social issues.”

“Hunger is one of the greatest problems that the African continent faces in the 21st century”, said Naima Zaheer. “A combination of poor economy, damaged farmland and climate change has resulted in large swath of the nations throughout Africa to suffer from hunger. There are a number of organizations that attempt to address these issues; however, the need is greater than the available resources. According to a 2003 report from Bread for the World, one in three Africans is malnourished. Roughly 80 percent of the residents of the continent survive on less than $2 a day. Over six million children die each year from malnutrition, the bulk of this figure represents deaths of children under five years old. Only eight percent of children who are hungry are victims of emergency situations or famine. The remaining 92 percent suffer from long-term malnourishment as well as general deficiency of nutrients. One study reveals that in order for the world community to achieve the level of assistance needed to help the Horn of Africa alone, 270,000 metric tons of food will be needed. However, it states that only 120,000 metric tons will be made available.”

Nimra Mirza explained that the Hadiya Student Association has teamed up with Islamic Relief to work on their Africa Project targeted towards the country of Niger. “Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world,” she said. “Its economy is amongst the poorest in the world (63% below poverty line). About 2/3 of its land is in desert suffering critical rainfall shortages. As a result, there is a failure in crop yield which leads to food crisis. This situation is affecting mainly women, children, and the elderly in poor communities. The recent flooding of Niger River has made the situation worse”, she concluded.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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