October 20, 2016

Muslims have been at the center of political rhetoric and discourse from both parties, especially during this election. Research shows that it is political rhetoric, not terrorist events, that stoke the fires of anti-Muslim sentiment. On Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora, the Executive Director of the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding and the Excutive Director of Emerge USA joined UF Political Science Professor Emeritus Ken Wald to explore the guiding principles of political engagement as it relates to human rights and equality and why American Muslims should participate in the upcoming election. Director of the UF Center for Global Islamic Studies Terje Ostebo moderated the panel discussion.
Meira Neggaz
Neggaz is responsible for the ISPU's overall leadership, strategy, and growth. She works to build and strengthen ISPU’s relationships with community leaders, policy makers, scholars, partner institutions and stakeholders to broaden the reach of ISPU’s research and to increase the impact of the organization’s mission. Before joining ISPU, Neggaz was the senior program officer for Marie Stopes International (MSI), a leading, UK-based organization working in 42 countries. There, she led and managed programs in multiple countries, developed partnerships with key stakeholders and partner institutions, and managed key grants and donor relationships. Formerly, she was the first executive director of WINGS in Guatemala, where she grew the organization from its infancy to become a national leader in the health sector, and the Guatemala Country Representative for Curamericas, establishing country presence and leading a USAID funded child survival project. She holds a BA from Huron University in London and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Tamara Ayon 
Tamara Ayon is the Florida Executive Director for Emerge USA, and the former Executive Director for the Broward Democratic Party. Tamara has been a political activist  and community organizer for 20 years. She has worked on everything from immigration reform, environmental protection, education reform, civil rights and criminal justice reform to campaign management. She resides in South Florida with her 12 year old daughter and works on music and art in her spare time. Emerge USA is a Muslim Arab American South Asian Civic Engagement group that works to build political involvement through grassroots networking in swing states across the United States. Emerge USA aims to politically empower and train its constituents to be effective community organizers and work in coalitions to advance beneficial policies and legislation that help protect and enforce the constitutional rights and civil liberties afforded by the United States Constitution. Sparked by rhetoric, charged by momentum. Emerge USA’s  mission is to civically elevate the American Muslim community.

Ken Wald 
Kenneth D. Wald is Distinguished Professor of Political Science  and the Samuel R. "Bud" Shorstein Professor of American Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Florida. He has written about the relationship of religion and politics in the United States, Great Britain, and Israel. His most recent books include Religion and Politics in the United States (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, 6th ed.), The Politics of Cultural Differences: Social Change and Voter Mobilization Strategies in the Post-New Deal Period (Princeton University Press, 2002, co-authored), and The Politics of Gay Rights (University of Chicago Press, 2000, coedited with Craig Rimmerman and Clyde Wilcox).
The is event is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Islamic Studies and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. ​