Sharaf Mowjood is a master's degree candidate at the Columbia University School of Journalism. He is also the former Government Relations Coordinator for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) of Greater Los Angeles. At CAIR, Mowjood organized and participated in the Get Out the Vote Campaigns, candidate and town hall forums, and Lobby Days in Washington, D.C. He also met with elected officials from the city to the federal level, organizes workshops on voter and civic empowerment, and encouraged youth engagement with local mosque youth groups. In 2005, Mowjood was the Outreach Coordinator for Robert Greenwald’s film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”
Sharaf graduated from Chapman University with a double major in Film and Peace Studies. He spent a semester in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Dubai with the School for International Training. He currently sits on the Wallace All-Faiths Chapel Advisory Board at Chapman University.
I ran for senior class president in high school, basing my campaign about changing the school’s policy of how cheerleaders were selected. Although I lost by a landslide, I ended up winning in the end as the administration decided to change the policy. The change happened because I wanted to become engaged, and to be engaged is the key asset for your story and voice to be heard. Whether it is a large or minute issue, political or apolitical, empowering yourself to be engaged will always provide one’s voice to be heard and story to be listened to, thus creating a change. Empowering the Muslim community to become more engaged in any field or industry will only sharpen its voice, hone its story, and bring change faster.
The AMCLI program brings together not just the best and the brightest of young leaders in America, but leaders who have a passion for the advancement of Muslims living in America. AMCLI has a tremendous impact because it is the first to bring together different change makers from various backgrounds who all have the commonality of engaging American Muslims. The fellows brought a plethora of different ideas and opinions, challenging perceptions and paradigms, and having the foresight to plan for the future. Throughout the program, my peer fellows challenged the way I organize communities, provided me with different ideas and angles for projects, helped me in crossing barriers with the community, pushed me to think more critically, but, most importantly, gave me a positive attitude and re-energized my intentions. Sitting in the AMCLI sessions, listening to the various speakers and discussions, and just looking around the room at the various organizers and fellows, I reassured myself with confidence that the work I do with the community is the best career path I have chosen.