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Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series


The Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series on Islam & Culture in partnership with The SVSU Edwards Lecture in Philosophy and Religion and The Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Endowment presents . . .

Religious Identity & University Discourse

Thursday, September 21 ∙ 6:30 p.m.
Malcolm Field Theatre (Entrance inside Groening Commons)
Refreshments will be provided following the lecture. This event will be simulcast online via Zoom. To watch online, please register here

Guest Speaker

Najeeba Syeed, J.D.
Augsburg University

Professor Syeed is the El-Hibri Endowed Chair at Augsburg University and Executive Director of Interfaith Augsburg. Najeeba SyeedShe has been a  professor, expert practitioner, and public speaker for the last two decades in the fields of conflict resolution, interfaith studies, mediation, education, deliberative democracy, and social, gender, and racial equity. Her many publications focus on 1) faith and community-based conflict resolution, 2) restorative and healing justice, and 3) interfaith just peacemaking and social justice learning. Her mediation work on diversity, equity, and violence prevention includes clients from school boards, large corporations, federal agencies, and even the White House. She has worked extensively as a consultant to the entertainment industry on creative approaches to diversity and equity. In 2021, Professor Syeed served as Chief of Staff to Los Angeles City Council member Nithya Raman, the first Asian American woman elected to council. Prof. Syeed has also been executive director for the Center for Global Peacebuilding, the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, and for the Western Justice Center. She has received numerous awards for her academic, community and faith-based work from county and state agencies as well as from educational institutions. She has a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law.


The Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture on Islam & Culture was established in 2011 by Dr. Waheed Akbar in memory of his wife Raana, a former member of the SVSU Board of Control, physician and community leader. "Dr. Raana Akbar was a dedicated physician, a respected community leader and a beloved wife, mother and friend. She held passionately to a hope that the faith and culture that inspired and comforted her would be better understood and appreciated by others. Islam is the faith that gives purpose and meaning to some 1.8 billion human souls, nearly one quarter of the human race. And this lecture series, now in its tenth year, is an enduring expression of Raana's hope and of her firm belief that, in the end, we are all just fellow searchers for truth, fellow seekers after God. Salam alaykum . . . Peace be upon you." --Eric Gilbertson, SVSU President Emeritus


Past Lectures