SPECIAL GUESTS & AWARDEES 2018
Historian, community organizer, and coffee innovator, Mokhtar Alkhanshali envisions a world where industry empowers rather than exploits, uplifts rather than represses.
Growing up between Brooklyn, San Francisco and Yemen, Mokhtar comes from an ancient lineage of coffee farmers, that traces back to when the world’s first coffee was cultivated in his home province of Ibb over five centuries ago.
In 2013 Mokhtar began focusing on his family’s roots as coffee farmers in Yemen. Seeking to reverse Yemen’s nearly lost art of coffee cultivation, he founded Port of Mokha. Combining his knowledge of specialty coffee production, progressive infrastructure strategy and community organizing, Mokhtar has helped to reverse the declining quality of Yemeni coffee and re-establish it as the one of industries most treasured origins. Best-selling author Dave Eggers’ forthcoming title “The Monk of Mokha” traces Mokhtar’s journey as a social entrepreneur and his harrowing escape from war torn Yemen with his first coffee samples. Mokhtar strives to empower coffee farmers with the knowledge and tools to bring about radical improvements in the quality of their coffees and lives.
Aisha al-Adawiya is the founder of Women In Islam, Inc., an organization of Muslim women which focuses on human rights and social justice. Ms. al-Adawiya organizes and participates in conferences, symposia and other forums on Islam, Gender Equity, Conflict Resolution, Cross-Cultural Understanding, and Peace Building. She also represents Muslim women’s Non-Governmental Organizations at United Nations forums. Ms. Al-Adawiya coordinates Islamic input for the Preservation of the Black Religious Heritage Documentation Project of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She also serves as a consultant to numerous interfaith organizations and documentary projects on the Muslim American experience. Additionally, she serves on the boards of numerous organizations related to the interests of the global Islamic community. Ms. al-Adawiya is a guest host and producer of Tahrir, WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York City.
SANIA W. KHAN
Sania Khan is an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau at the Office of the New York State Attorney General. She has worked to challenge the Muslim Bans, and the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. In addition, she works on issues related to voting rights, discrimination in the tech sector, and religious rights. Sania also serves as the Muslim Communities Liaison for the Attorney General’s Office. In 2015, she created a legal education course entitled “The Muslim-American Community: An Introduction to the Basics of Islamic Practices and Relevant Emerging Legal Trends,” which hundreds of government attorneys across the state attended. The Course was also held at the New York City Bar Association. Sania is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, Class of 2009.
SIMRAN JEET SINGH
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an educator, writer, and activist, who has frequently commented on anti-Sikh and anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence. Singh is the 2017–2018 Henry R. Luce Initiative in Religion in International Affairs Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Religion and Media at NYU. In 2016, he received the Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award from Auburn Seminary, which "recognize[s] courageous individuals who dedicate their lives to advocating for justice and peace in our world." He is a Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition and a Truman National Security Fellow for the Truman National Security Project. Singh is also an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Narmeen Choudhury is an Emmy award winning journalist and reporter for the 5, 6 and 10pm newscasts on PIX11 News. She joined the team as a general assignment reporter in 2011 and has also contributed to the station regularly as a fill-in anchor. Narmeen comes to WPIX from WTIC, Tribune’s sister station out of Hartford, Connecticut where she served as a reporter and fill-in anchor since 2007. Narmeen’s television career began in Albany, New York (Capital News 9, YNN). Her journalism chops were first earned working on the assignment desk, a role she says taught her the very foundation of how a newsroom operates. From there, she took on the role of writer and eventually became a producer. Her first on-air role came in Syracuse, New York (News10 Now, YNN). There she worked as a multimedia journalist, shooting, editing and reporting daily.
From Syracuse to Hartford to New York City, Narmeen has covered a number of stories of national and international prominence. From politics to security and from education to natural disasters, she has covered it all. Most recently, Narmeen traveled to Bangladesh and covered the Rohingya refugee crisis. Narmeen’s background as a Muslim Bangladeshi-American, born in Queens has provided her with a proud background and a loud cheerleader from what she calls “the best borough.”
Narmeen was raised in Dutchess County, NY and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Boston University, where she also minored in International Relations. During the summer preceding her senior year, Narmeen was honored with the opportunity to travel to Israel, West Bank and Gaza with her professor and mentor, Bob Zelnick, who was a former ABC correspondent. There, she assisted Zelnick with setting up and gathering interviews on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This experience came just as the second Intifada was beginning in the area.
Narmeen lives in Manhattan with her toddler daughter and husband. You can catch up with her life as a working mom, daughter and doting wife on her Instagram page, @narmeennews. For the latest on what she’s working on, check out and be sure to like her Facebook page Narmeen Choudhury - (https://www.facebook.com/NarmeenNews/?ref=bookmarks )
Ismael Loutfi developed his deeply acerbic sense of humor growing up a Muslim in rural North Florida. Now living in LA, Ismael’s take on Islam, racism, and his own insecurities has made him one of the fastest rising comics in the city. Ismael made his network TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this year, and can also be seen on VICELAND’s Flophouse. He was a 2016 New Face at Just for Laughs Montreal, a Stand Up NBC Finalist, and was featured on the FOX Night Of Comedy showcase. He has performed in festivals across the country including Bridgetown Comedy Festival and the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.
Special Guests & Awardees from Previous Years
- 2017: Somayya Ali Ibrahim, Musa Syeed, Sharon Kleinbaum, Shaun King
- 2016: Sana Mayat, Linda Sarsour, Amani Al-khatabeh, The Sikh Coalition
- 2015: Ayman Mohyeldin, Noha El-Ghobashy, Hediya Sizar, Adnan Sultan
- 2014: Laila Al-Askari & Bari Khan, Naqi Haider, Father John McGuire, Hasan Family Foundation, New York University Administration
- 2014: Tish James
- 2017: Narmeen Choudhury
- 2016: Jay Dhabi
- 2015: Hassan Minaj
- 2014: Sharaf Mowjood
- 2017: Ramy Youssef
- 2016: Mo Amer, Fajjr & Ali
- 2015: Dean Obeidallah
- 2014: Preacher Moss, Gibran Salem