The Muslim Visionaries Award

The Muslim Life Program has established an annual Muslim Visionaries Award to honor individuals who have dedicated themselves to the noble service of faith and humanity. It is intended, through this award, to highlight Muslim men and women who are inspired by their faith to work for a future that is based on peace, mutual respect, and cooperation between all people. These individuals offer a vision of Islam and a vision for the Muslim community that is rooted in the highest ideals of human goodness. Their work is shaping our present world and offers a hopeful future for generations to come.

We are pleased and honored to present our first 2010 Muslim Visionaries Award to Mr. Rashad Hussain for his outstanding contributions as a public servant and intellectual to the values of this award.

We are pleased and honored to present year 2011 Muslim Visionaries Award to Dr. Ingrid Mattson for her outstanding contributions as a public servant and intellectual to the values of this award. We are pleased and honored to present year 2014 Muslim Visionaries Award to Dr. Rami Nashashibi for his outstanding contributions as a public servant and intellectual to the values of this award.

2014 Award Recipient

Dr. Rami Nashashibi

Rami Nashashibi

Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities across the Chicagoland area, where he has taught a range of Sociology, Anthropology, and other Social Science courses. He has worked with several leading scholars in the area of globalization, African American studies and urban sociology and has contributed chapters to edited volumes by Manning Marable and Saskia Sassen.

Rami has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues, and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. Rami and his work with IMAN have been featured on many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and a front page story in the Chicago Tribune. In 2007 Islamica Magazine profiled Rami as being among the “10 Young Muslim Visionaries Shaping Islam in America” and in 2009, Chicago Public Radio selected Rami Nashashibi as one of the city’s Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries. Rami was named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He was named a White House “Champion of Change” in 2011, and was also invited by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Commission for the Elimination of Poverty and as a member of the Governor’s Muslim Advisory Council.

Rami lives with his wife and three children on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

2011 Award Recepient

Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Dr. Ingrid Mattson is Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT.  

Dr. Mattson earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1999.  Her research is focused on Islamic law and society; among her articles are studies on slavery, poverty and Islamic legal theory.  

Dr. Mattson was born in Canada, where she studied Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (B.A. ’87).  From 1987-1988 she lived in Pakistan where she worked with Afghan refugee women.  In 2001 she was elected Vice-President of ISNA and in 2006 she was elected President of the organization. Dr. Mattson is the first convert to Islam and the first female to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

She is the author of "The Story of the Qur'an".

2010 Award Recepient

Rashad Hussain

Rashad Hussain

President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Rashad Hussain as Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on February 13, 2010. The OIC is comprised of 56 nations and is the second largest international body after the UN.

In his role as Special Envoy to the OIC, Mr. Hussain seeks to deepen and expand the partnerships that the United States has pursued with Muslims around the world. He advised the Administration on issues related to Islam, traveled to Muslim countries and international conferences, and has met with foreign leaders and Muslims around the world.

Mr. Hussain has also served as Deputy Associate Counsel to President Obama, focusing on national security, new media, and science and technology issues. Mr. Hussain worked with the National Security Staff in developing and pursuing the New Beginning that President Obama outlined in his June 2009 address in Cairo, Egypt. Before joining the White House, Mr. Hussain was a member of the legal staff for the Presidential Transition Team.

Mr. Hussain previously served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hussain was a legislative assistant on the House Judiciary Committee, where he focused on national security-related issues.

Mr. Hussain received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Upon graduation, he served as a Law Clerk to Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Mr. Hussain also earned his Master’s degrees in Public Administration (Kennedy School of Government) and Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His academic writings have focused on national security, constitutional law, and civil liberties.