Young Alumni Award – Reunion 2010

Moniza Khokhar chose Drew because it was close to home, but she had traveled thousands of miles before her first birthday.  Her parents moved from their native Pakistan to her father’s workplace in Saudi Arabia, where Moniza was born.  A few months later the family was in the United States, and ultimately settled in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

It didn’t take Moniza long to know that she was in the right college.  Every single one of her professors—not just those in economics and political science, her major and minor—was outstanding, she says, and their attention, friendship, guidance, and support made all the difference.  She obviously communicated her enthusiasm to her brother Affan, a member of the College Class of 2009.

Post-graduation, Moniza went to work for Azizah Magazine and Routledge Journal:  Studies in Conflict and Terrorism while earning a master’s degree in Islamic Culture Studies from Columbia University.  Most of her writing focused on the Muslim American diaspora, and she realized that there was a demand for more positive stories about Muslims and a need for a neutral platform for Muslim Americans to discuss issues and celebrate their achievements.

Moniza was laying the groundwork for a new venture.  In 2008, she made publishing news by launching her own magazine:  elan:  The Guide to Global Muslim Culture, now an online publication.  Elan has developed into an online phenomenon, where young professional Muslims from around the globe log on to share, celebrate, and discuss Muslim culture.  Articles offer national and international news, culture, politics, entertainment, even a link to halal recipes.  Commentary from elan has appeared in Huffington Post, the Houston Chronicle, and USA Today.  Moniza has appeared on ART’s “What’s Happening,” an Arab-American television talk show, and Radio Tahrir.

Moniza comes from a long line of businessmen and women, all leaders in their respective fields, and she is taking her place among them.  Her achievements, in only five years since graduation, are remarkable, and the work of a young woman who sought a college near home is now expanding in all directions.  Elan is only the first step:  Moniza expects her two-year-old company, Wahid Media Ventures, to provide a variety of media outlets for young Muslims by expanding into radio, television, and print or online publishing.  So far, the creation of elan has been her greatest satisfaction.  She remains close to her family in Basking Ridge.