Shannon Copp, IFYC
Shannon Copp, is IFYC Student Leadership Manager. She works on all things Better Together, from social media and communications to student leadership development. Shannon graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in East Asian Religions and her graduate work at the University of Chicago Divinity School focused on interfaith peacebuilding. Her mission as part of the student leadership team is to help interfaith conversations turn into action outside of the classroom. Outside of IFYC, Shannon’s personal mission is to find the perfect board game for each person she meets.
Jonathan Golden, Drew University, CRCC
Jonathan Golden is Director of the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict at Drew University, an interdisciplinary center focused on global peacebuilding and interfaith leadership. http://www.drew.edu/crcc/. He is Convener of the Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Leadership at Drew, where he teaches Comparative Religion and Anthropology. He teaches courses on interfaith leadership, peace and conflict studies, and the Middle East, and won the Thomas Kean Scholar/Mentor Award in 2016. Golden is author of two books and numerous articles, and is currently working on a third book based on interviews with ex-combatants and victims of conflict that become peace activists. Golden has a B.A. from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and holds several certificates in conflict resolution. He works closely with interfaith and peace organizations in NJ and around the world.
As a senior biology major with minors in public health and leadership for social action, Leah has made interfaith work a focal part of her four years at Drew University. Leah has taken an instrumental role in the CRCC fellows program, especially though her involvement with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, the Summer Interfaith Institute, and the Interfaith Youth Core. This past April, Leah was selected to become a coach with IFYC, where she helped lead the August ILI in Chicago
Sameer Sarmast of Sameer’s Eats
Sameer Sarmast is the Host and Executive Producer of “Sameer’s Eats”, the popular Halal restaurant review show on YouTube. “Sameer’s Eats” was co-founded by Sameer and his friend, Saad Malik in 2010. In 2013, Sameer and his team launched “The Halal Food Tour” in 5 U.S. cities across the country. The tour was a series of Halal Food Festivals highlighting local Halal restaurants while Sameer and Yvonne Maffei of “My Halal Kitchen” entertained the attendees by hosting cooking demos and “Iron Chef” style cooking challenges.
Sameer has been recognized for his efforts in promoting Halal cuisine through several media outlets and publications such as Fios1 News, Fusion, Al-Jazeera and the U.S. State Department. Sameer is very passionate about Halal Food as he frequently shares his zeal with chefs and personalities from the Food Network. Although Sameer has had cameos on a Food TV shows such as “Bizarre Foods” and “Restaurant Redemption”, he hopes to see a segment on specifically Halal cuisine on the Food Network one day!
Mohammad Ali Chaudry, Ph.D.
Dr. Chaudry graduated from the London School of Economics in 1967 and earned a Ph. D. in Economics from Tufts University (1972). He worked at AT&T from 1968 to 1998, serving as CFO of its Public Relations Division.
Dr. Chaudry has taught at Rutgers University, Raritan Valley Community College in the Business and Public Service Department. Beginning in 2013, he has been lecturing on Islam and Muslims at the New Jersey State Police Academy as a part of cultural awareness training for law enforcement officials. Dr. Chaudry has co-authored a college level textbook on Islam & Muslims with Dr. Robert Crane (Special edition 2010; Expanded full edition is expected to be published in 2015).
He was elected to the Bernards Township Board of Education (1990 to 1995) in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. He was elected to the Bernards Twp Committee in November 2001, (2002-2004), served as Deputy Mayor in 2003 and as Mayor in 2004, becoming the first Pakistani-born Mayor in America. Governor Chris Christie appointed him to a three-year term (2013-‘16) as Commissioner on the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service, which oversee the AmeriCorps volunteers program in New Jersey. Since 2012, Dr. Chaudry has served as an active member of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Outreach Committee for the Muslim Community created to build a relationship of mutual trust and understanding between law enforcement and the Muslim community. He also serves on the Interfaith Advisory Council of New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Dr. Chaudry co-founded the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR) (www.isbri.org) and currently serves as its President. Dr. Chaudry is a co-founder of the statewide New Jersey Interfaith Coalition of nearly 140 Muslim and non-Muslim organizations working on building bridges of understanding among all communities and to stand up for each other. He is also a member of the advisory board for Drew University’s Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict.
Drew-CRCC team at the IFYC Interfaith Leadership ILI Atlanta, 2017