A warm greeting to all our supporters. It’s hard to believe that Project Mosaic (www.projectmosaic.net) is nearly four years old. We’ve had a busy time pursuing our goal of creating greater understanding amongst people from different backgrounds. I’d like to update you on our latest developments:
PROJECT MOSAIC’S DEBUT ON THE BBC
Project Mosaic, which was set up in memory of 9/11 firefighter Dave Fontana, was featured on a BBC television programme commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Project Mosaic was presented as one of four UK organisations creating positive social change following the events of September 11, 2001. Mr Tariq Chowdhury, the winner of our young filmmaker award (see below), was featured in the programme. You can watch the four-minute segment about Project Mosaic from the BBC film here:
and the link to the full 38-minute BBC programme is here:
YOUNG FILMMAKER YOUTUBE COMPETITION
We were delighted to award first prize in the Project Mosaic Young Filmmaker YouTube Competition to Tariq Chowdhury for his two-minute film “Inspiration Through Faith”, which you can see here:
You will find information about the competition and the Award Ceremony, including photos, further below on this “What’s New?” page and at
GATHERING TO COMMEMORATE THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11
About 50 people came together in London last September at a Project Mosaic gathering to remember those who died on 9/11 and in other violence fuelled by group hatred. The event was hosted by the London programme of Syracuse University, which lost 35 study abroad students amongst the 270 people killed in December 1988 when Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland. Prayers were read or sung by Father Peter Wilson, Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Sheikh Seddiki Sidi Fawzi and the Reverend Deacon Meliton Oakes. The programme, prayers and remembrances from the gathering can be downloaded as PDF files by scrolling down on this "What’s New?" page.
COMMON HERITAGE OF JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS
There was standing room only at the 2011 Project Mosaic Lecture given by Dr Ed Kessler, an expert on interfaith relations. In his talk on “Descended from Abraham: Exploring the Common Heritage of Jews, Christians and Muslims”, Ed cited progress amongst members of the three Abrahamic faiths – the world’s 2.2 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims and 15 million Jews -- in exploring interfaith dialogue. But he said much work needed to be done to build mutual understanding and to overcome centuries of mistrust. Ed, who runs the Woolf Institute, said people living in the 120 Christian-majority countries, the 60 Muslim-majority countries and the one Jewish-majority country, Israel, needed to learn more about one another’s religion – to develop greater “faith literacy” – which would lead to greater trust, respect and sensitivity. A film of the event and a downloadable PDF text
of Ed’s talk are here:
SAVE THE DATE - The 2012 Project Mosaic Lecture will be held
in London on Thursday, October 4 at 6:30pm. Details coming soon.
MUNIR ZAMIR BREAKS THE SPELL FOR YOUNG JIHADIS
You could have heard a pin drop as Munir Zamir described his work protecting young people from extremist movements. He was speaking on the subject of “Breaking the Spell for Britain’s Young Jihadis” at a Project Mosaic Roundtable Discussion in November 2011. Munir described his association years ago with extremist Islamist organisations, when he was a teenager and young adult. Since 2008 he has run Fida Management (Fida means “sacrifice” in Arabic), which helps young people by providing alternatives to the al-Qaeda narrative. Munir described how many young Britons in the 1980s and 1990s joined Mujahedeen organisations to help Muslims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kashmir and elsewhere – but the desire to help eventually turned into a movement to hate. He said young people from some immigrant communities faced a special challenge in forging a sense of identity, belonging and purpose if they felt isolated from mainstream society. See photos and text about the event here below on this “What’s New?” page.
MOHAMMED FAHILI CREATES GRASSROOTS CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Mohammed Fahili, the director of the Jewish-Arab Community Center in Acre, in northern Israel, led a different Project Mosaic Roundtable Discussion. Fahili, a Palestinian Israeli, has dedicated his life to Arab-Jewish peaceful coexistence. Born in the Old City in Acre, he shared a single bedroom with seven siblings and lost his father when he was six. At 18 he left to study engineering in the United States and later returned to Israel with a vision to help young Arabs and Jews from underserved neighbourhoods. About three dozen people, including businesspeople, students and participants from the non-profit sector, attended his 2011 talk, which you can read about at our “What’s New?” page. Fahili also granted us a “Global Citizen” filmed interview, which you can see at
SHARLINA HUSSAIN-MORGAN “UNPACKS” AMERICA
Sharlina Hussain-Morgan, the Assistant Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in London, led a Project Mosaic Roundtable Discussion in May 2012 called “A Look Inside America’s Melting Pot”. A Muslim American from New York, Sharlina described Americans’ pride in having multiple identities linked to ancestral homelands. Speaking in a private home to students, businesspeople and those working for nonprofits, she shared her own melting-pot story, including her parents’ emigration to the United States from Bangladesh. Sharlina said her work in the UK involved “unpacking America” by creating greater understanding about the people, culture and government of the United States. She frequently engages with young Britons and says she spends a lot of time clearing up misconceptions about America. See photos and more information on Sharlina's talk by scrolling down on this "What's New?" page.
PROJECT MOSAIC USA, INC
Project Mosaic in the UK will be getting a sister organisation in the United States. Project Mosaic USA, Inc will launch in New York as a non-profit (501(c)3) organisation. Please help us by spreading the word to people in New York or elsewhere in the States who might like to get involved, including hearing about our next young filmmakers YouTube competition.
I invite you to take a moment to listen to some of the personal stories of our 17 “Global Citizens”
These are ordinary people with extraordinary narratives that inspire and transform -- whether it’s Al and Maureen Santora, who award scholarships to students in memory of their 9/11 firefighter son, Christopher Santora, or Hussein Al-Yasiri, an Austrian university student working for good in memory of his Iraqi father, killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad while helping to forge peace amongst Sunni sheikhs. Please take a moment to listen to Esther Hyman, who helped set up a children’s hospital in India in tribute to her sister, who died in the July 7, 2005 London bombings, or Terry Rockefeller, who lost her sister at the World Trade Center on 9/11. We are grateful to all our Global Citizen interviewees for sharing narratives about overcoming adversity, celebrating the immigrant experience and promoting peaceful coexistence with “the other” in today’s increasingly globalised world.
TRUSTEES AND ADVISERS
We express warmest gratitude to Hester Abrams, a founding trustee who helped to shape Project Mosaic, including by providing crucial stewardship during the charity’s first three and a half years. Hester stepped down as trustee in April. We are fortunate that she has joined our Advisory Board. We also send heartfelt thanks to founding trustee Antonia Fontana for her blessings and moral support starting when we first explored the idea of setting up Project Mosaic in 2008 in memory of her son (and my cousin), 9/11 firefighter Dave Fontana. Antonia stepped down in 2011.
We welcome our new trustees: Fareeda Abbasi Bulbrook, Marian Fontana, Anne Lieberman, Andy Pring and Charlotte Rayani. Biographies can be found at www.projectmosaic.net/trustees.asp.
We are also delighted that Ahlam Akram has joined as an Adviser. A list of our advisers is at ww.projectmosaic.net/advisers.asp.
We welcome volunteers at Project Mosaic. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at email@example.com.
CALL FOR DONATIONS
We’ve worked hard to keep Project Mosaic a nimble and innovative organisation. Our low-cost high-impact programmes are designed to create positive social change without relying on expensive infrastructure. In this challenging funding environment, please help us to carry on with this important work by visiting:
and making a donation. Or you can send a cheque, payable to “PROJECT MOSAIC” to: Project Mosaic, 29 Burnham Court, Moscow Road, London W2 4SW. Please remember to tell us that you would like to “Gift Aid” your contribution, so we can collect from the UK government an extra 20 pence for every pound you donate. Your contribution, no matter how small, will make a difference and will be hugely appreciated!
It has been a delight and an honour at Project Mosaic to bring together people from different age groups and walks of life, to create a safe place to talk about difficult but important subjects and to make new friends. We have been able to accomplish so much in the past four years thanks to support from people like you and from young volunteers who have helped to run our lectures and roundtable discussions. To you and everyone who has been involved and continues to help us shape Project
Mosaic, a warm thank you.
With best wishes,
Trustee, Project Mosaic