267. Alexis York Lumbard (Author, The Story of Muhammad: A Ballad for the Young )

A busy mother of three, Alexis York Lumbard is the author of The Conference of the Birds, her first published children’s book. She already has two other children’s books scheduled for publication. Having noticed a lamentable absence of high quality books for the earliest of readers, she began writing her own stories since becoming a mother in 2005. With a B.A. in Religious Studies from George Washington University, it is her sincere hope to bring the wisdom and beauty of the world’s religions to the eager and gifted minds of young children. Alexis, her husband, and three children live in Massachusetts.

Her recent project and book is called”Meow, Meow, Maulana”: The Story of Muhammad and is a children’s book based completely on Quran and Hadith.



248. Osama Wazan (Author,The Last Moderate Muslim)

Osama’s journey started in Beirut, Lebanon just before reaching eleven years old. The civil war broke out. Along with his family and defenseless civilians, he was caught in the middle. He lived inside a combat zone for fifteen harrowing years. Only a half a mile away, religious massacres were committed. He was told that the world, circumscribed by religious differences and political affiliations, was normal.  When peace treaties were signed no one reimbursed his family for their destroyed home, re-grew amputated body parts, or resurrected the dead children. The cycle of provocations and retributions continues. He had lived where I had big dreams, but no plans. Today, however, he strives to do his part to end the cycle of escalating violence and bring lessons learned to his community and new homeland.
After twenty years in the USA, he resolved to leverage the war stories for a better world. Three years ago, he left a prestigious position in a software firm to spend time reflecting and writing. He produced a body of work—a novel that addresses the root causes of conflicts especially in the Middle East, a region that had, to a great extent, divided the world. Within its pages, he embedded the route map for peace, The Journey to Civility.  During the last revision, the biggest realization occurred to him. He found himself naturally thrust into his calling: To be a grassroots catalyst for peace.
In the quest to catalyze peace, he gives talks everywhere he can and to anyone who will listen. He includes anecdotes and lessons learned. He impresses upon the listeners to consider changes they too can make. To date, the audience praises the Journey to Civility as authentic and credible. The message is spreading. He is nominated to be one of three global trustees for the North America region at United Religions Initiatives, he is a member of the Comparative Religions committee at Temple Beth El, the chair of the Food for Thought committee at Mecklenburg Ministries.


179. Maria Ebrahimji (Co-Editor, I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim)

Maria Ebrahimji is responsible for guest coverage and story planning for CNN’s special events and breaking news programming. She is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association, and serves on the boards of the Atlanta Press Club and Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Brenau Women’s College and a master’s in International Affairs from Georgia State University. While born in Westminster, MD as the eldest daughter of East African immigrants, Maria was raised in Northeast Georgia and proudly embraces southern hospitality. Her spare time is spent travelling the world, hiking, running, and being an idealist. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA.