PEACE AWARDS 2022
We were delighted to celebrate this year's award recipients on October 29, 2022, at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan. This year's award recipients have demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting inclusion, fostering collaboration across difference, and demonstrating leadership by building the capacity of others to make positive social change.
2022 Award Recipients
Dr. Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture, and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, at the University of Southern California. Dr. Jackson is a highly sought out lecturer and author, both nationally and internationally, who has had immense impact on American Muslim communities and beyond.
Dr. Jackson has dedicated his scholarship and community work to building the capacity of others to advance positive social change. He co-founded, and serves as a core scholar for, the American
Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), through which he has inspired and trained thousands of Muslim students. He has demonstrated excellence in bridge-building, and was instrumental in the initial drafting of the historic Sunni-Shiite Code of Honor in 2007, a groundbreaking document to foster intra-faith community building. Dr. Jackson has been named several times by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman Jordan as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.
Dr. Jackson earned his Masters and PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He studied Maliki fiqh at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Prior to his current position with USC, he was the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Additionally, he has held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, and Wayne State University. Dr. Jackson has published six books, with a seventh, entitled "The Islamic Secular," to be published by Oxford University Press next year, along with over fifty articles and book chapters.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Jackson served in the US Air Force prior to pursuing his academic and theological studies. He is married and has four children.
Dr. Sherman Jackson - El Hibri Peace Prize Laureate
Maha Freij - Community Builder Award
Maha Freij is the President & CEO at ACCESS and is a leading visionary in the Arab American community with regard to philanthropy and building strong institutions to strengthen the voice of the community in American civil society. Under her leadership, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), a national institution of ACCESS, has established itself as the only national Arab American community foundation in the U.S., connecting philanthropists across the country and
helping them to make a greater impact. Maha has also been a key leader in growing ACCESS from its roots as a regional human services organization to what it is today — a community builder nationwide.Under Maha’s inventive leadership, ACCESS has successfully raised tens of millions of dollars for endowment building and various brick-and-mortar projects, including the first-ever Arab American National Museum in the United States. In addition, Maha oversees ACCESS’ $40 million operational budget, generated from more than 100 funding sources. Her solid experience in management and operations, combined with her inspiring approach to philanthropy and community, has positioned ACCESS as the leading organization addressing the many complex issues that face the Arab American community. Maha currently serves as a member on the Michigan State Board of Ethics; as a trustee on the Council of Michigan Foundations; on the Board of Trustees for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; on the Detroit Future City Board; and on the Board of Directors for New Detroit, Inc. Her prior board memberships and affiliations include community board member of Wayne Health (previously named Wayne State University Physician Group) United Palestinian Appeal; One D Initiative – Champions Council; the Mosaic Youth Theatre; Leadership Detroit Class of XIX; University of Michigan - Dearborn’s Citizens Advisory Committee; ACLU-Michigan; and the Independent Sector Advisory Group on Nonprofit Effectiveness.
Joshua Seftel - Fearless Ally Award
Joshua Seftel created the Emmy and Peabody-nominated series SECRET LIFE OF MUSLIMS (SXSW), using filmmaking to combat Islamophobia. The series has more than 70 million views to date. Seftel, who faced anti-Semitism as a child, has been committed to working on this subject matter for the last seven years. His latest film in these efforts is STRANGER AT THE GATE, which played at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released by The New Yorker this
fall. The documentary tells the story of a US Marine who plans to bomb the Islamic Center of Muncie, Indiana, and the powerful role Muncie's Muslim community played to change the course of events. Seftel is best known for directing the political satire WAR, INC., starring John Cusack, Ben Kingsley, Joan Cusack, and Marisa Tomei, the Emmy-winning landmark series QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY, and his playfully poignant segments on CBS Sunday Morning with his 85-year-old mother, Pat. Seftel is a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning program THIS AMERICAN LIFE, and his essays have appeared on NPR and in The New York Times. He received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with his documentary LOST AND FOUND about Romania’s orphaned and abandoned children. The film led to the American adoption of thousands of Romanian orphans. He resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, filmmaker Erika Frankel, and their two daughters, Lillian and Madeline.
About the Peace Awards
In today's climate of political division, civil unrest, and the perpetual sense of uncertainty that a global pandemic brings, there are many who seek to sow fear, discord, and division. Meanwhile, we know that there are countless individuals working hard to inspire just the opposite – fostering inclusion, understanding, and collaboration in communities. We see leaders all over the country empowering others and building bridges with people of other faiths and origins in order to build a more inclusive American social fabric.
Now more than ever, the stories and insights of inclusive community leaders need to be heard, and their achievements in advancing social justice should be celebrated. At the El-Hibri Foundation, we work to amplify and support the voices, vision, and efforts of outstanding community builders who promote inclusion in all forms, foster collaboration across difference, and demonstrate leadership by building the capacity of others to make positive social change.