Sahar Taman, Connection Point Award Honoree
By Yasmina Mrabet
Connection Point Manager
Each year, our Connection Point Award honors a person or organization that has built dialogue and understanding between Arab, Muslim, and Western women, or within their community, to achieve harmony across cultures.
This year we’ve selected Sahar Taman, Co-Founder of Journeys to Understanding, because of her work in cultural diplomacy and improving interfaith relations within and across Arab and American societies. Sahar is an Egyptian American Muslim who was born in Cairo, and has lived in the United States since she was a child. In 2010 Sahar received the prestigious National Award for Citizen Diplomacy from the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy for her work on U.S.-Muslim relations. The scope of Sahar’s work throughout her life demonstrates a strong dedication to creating a space for developing and improving cross-cultural relationships, with a special focus on those between the U.S. and Muslim majority countries. One of her recent projects was the Brother, Sister, Neighbor, Friend Campaign, honoring the memory of those who lost lives on 9/11 while also fostering hope for a more peaceful future by encouraging dialogue and positive cross-cultural and inter-faith relationships. Through the web-based Project Remembrance Map 911, Sahar and her colleagues at Journeys to Understanding created an opportunity to shift the discourse in the U.S., encouraging people from all religious and cultural backgrounds to connect with one another constructively.
On Muslim and Western women, Sahar has said, “Women are often labeled and grouped and categorized without their consent … in my experience, these categorizations do not exist. I myself am a Muslim woman and a Western woman, and a thousand other types of women. We are all women first, who share the common goal to improve our societies and expunge injustice and the ugly violence that it breeds.” This statement speaks strongly to Sahar’s dedication as a woman effecting social change, dispelling de-humanizing stereotypes, and engaging those around her by challenging them to meet their responsibilities to one another as global citizens.
Don’t miss Sahar, and all of this year’s honorees, at the Women, Power, and Peace Awards on December 5th in Washington DC. Buy your tickets today!