About the Journey:
How do Muslims fit into contemporary American society? And how have the uniquely American ideals of pluralism, openness, and cultural integration held up in post-9/11 American society? Those are the driving questions behind “Journey into America,” a cross-country adventure led by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, renowned Islamic scholar and author, and his team of enthusiastic young Americans. They will explore America and American identity in a post-September 11 world during their journey, which will take them to cities big and small, from Birmingham, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, and Salt Lake City to New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
A similar journey through the Muslim world resulted in the book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization. The result of this adventure will be a unique anthropological study of American identity as seen through the eyes of Americans—both Muslim and non-Muslim.
To read more, see Dr. Ahmed’s “Welcome Message.”
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C., is considered “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam,” according to the BBC. He is a renowned author and award-winning film and documentary director. A former high commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain, he has advised Prince Charles and met with President George W. Bush on Islam. Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, his latest book, was published in 2007 by the Brookings Institution Press.
Other biographical details:
• visiting professor at Harvard and Cambridge universities and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
• recipient of the Professor of the Year Award for Washington, D.C., from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Craig M. Considine, 23, from Needham, Massachusetts, is a film director and research assistant for Ambassador Akbar Ahmed at American University, Washington D.C. His work has been aired on BBC World News America, CNN, and local ABC networks across the country. His scholarly articles have been published in newspapers in both the United States and Pakistan. He holds an MSc from the University of London and a BA in International Relations from American University, both in Politics and International Relations. His areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, Islam, and American society. After making the documentary for this project, plans to pursue a PhD.
Madeeha Hameed, 21, was born in Islamabad, Pakistan. After spending her elementary school years in Germany, she returned with her family to Pakistan. In 2001, her family moved to the United States for her higher education. She is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary, double majoring in international relations and religious studies.
Jonathan Hayden, 30, from Huntsville, Alabama, has worked with Ahmed since 2005 as his assistant. Hayden was a research assistant on the previous research project, which resulted in Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia. He has published extensively in newspapers and journals. He received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Alabama.
Frankie Martin, 25, from Baltimore, Maryland, is an Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service. In 2006, he graduated magna cum laude from American University with a BA in history. His research interests include Islamic-Western relations, religion and culture in Africa, and American foreign policy. His articles, published by the Guardian and Huffington Post, among others, have been widely circulated. Martin was a research assistant on Ahmed’s previous research project, which resulted in Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, traveling to Jordan, Pakistan, and India.
Hailey Woldt, 22, from Dallas, Texas, is an Ibn Khaldun Research Fellow at American University and a research associate at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service with a certificate in Muslim-Christian understanding and a degree in culture and politics. She traveled to eight Muslim countries for fieldwork and contributed to the book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization by Akbar Ahmed. She has published extensively in newspapers and journals and has lectured at several universities and think tanks.