USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California



The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) develops and trains American Muslim leaders who are committed to civic engagement. AMCLI strives to accompany these pioneering leaders as they realize their full potential, and in doing so, have a more effective and sustained impact on the issues affecting their communities, and America at large. Our nation is stronger when all citizens participate in shaping our democracy.

AMCLI fellows are at the forefront of creating a greater presence of Muslims in the public square. They are actively reshaping what it means to be a “Muslim leader,” moving away from self-appointed spokespersons to leaders accountable to their communities. We believe that these leaders, when properly invested in, nurtured, and supported will be able to transform their organizations into highly innovative and effective partners in social change for the betterment of all Americans.

AMCLI hosts leadership retreats, virtual programs and a deeply connected network made up of the hundreds of American Muslim leaders who have been through its programing.

AMCLI focuses on accompanying the individual leaders through their journey of growth, improving organizational strategies and increasing the health, vibrancy, and interconnectedness of the organizations working in this field. Participating in AMCLI provides emerging leaders with renewed energy, greater skills and a more nuanced analysis of how change happens.

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AMCLI Values

AMCLI works to…

  • Unlock potential
  • Use the power of faith to inspire and sustain great leadership.
  • Help leaders to move past discomfort into new levels of leadership.

AMCLI believes that…

  • Relationships have inherent value.
  • People learn and connect through stories.
  • Social change requires disciplined leaders.
  • There are many ways to lead and to make change.
  • Organizations and leaders cannot solve problems on their own.

AMCLI works with leaders who…

  • Know themselves.
  • Are connected to a community and reflect its diversity.
  • Are lifelong learners.
  • Treat time as precious.
  • Make space for others.
  • Recognize that failures are inevitable in any endeavor.
  • Are able to engage in healthy conflict.
  • Understand how to succeed in the face of uncertainty.
  • Set healthy boundaries.
  • Develop other leaders.
  • Know where they are going and articulate their vision.
  • Do not wait for permission to create change.
  • Realize that graciousness is at the core of good leadership.
  • Seek and develop creative partnerships based on shared vision, even when they may not always be in complete alignment with their partners.

Notable Accomplishments

  • Graduated 100+ fellows from across the country from the national fellowship
  • Trained 200+ participants in regional programs
  • Developed comprehensive curriculum to build the capacity of a network of Muslim public and community leaders
  • Increased the visibility of AMCLI Alumni through public receptions and press coverage in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, and Voice of America.
  • Presented AMCLI’s learning and methodology at Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit, World Islamic Economic Forum (Malaysia), Center for American Progress, Federal Emergency Management Agency, White House Next Generation Leadership Meeting, the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, and Yale University
  • Launched Community Organizing Residency Program (COR) with Bend the Arc, Union Theological Seminary, and Jewish Organizing Initiative that has trained 11 Muslims in community organizing, along with their Christian and Jewish counterparts


“Having a cohort of Muslim civic leaders across the country to bounce ideas off of, get advice from on professional obstacles, share lessons learned, and to collaborate with on national campaigns will ultimately benefit us all. Together, we have so much to offer the world and I now feel reinvigorated about our community’s latent potential.” Sharmeen Premjee, AMCLI II Fellow

“This program has led to the creation of a network of young, vibrant leaders who have already so enriched my life and my work, and who without a doubt will be a source of guidance for the Muslim community for generations to come.” Sophia Latif, AMCLI II Fellow

“AMCLI is a great program that brings a diverse group of Muslim Americans to learn from and grow with each other.” Mostafa Mahboob, AMCLI III Fellow

“AMCLI is an empowering, transformational and phenomenal experience. It has solidified my personal sense of service and purpose. It redefined my view of our community, our future and our potential.” Farhad Chowdhury, AMCLI III Fellow

“My experience in AMCLI was truly eye-opening for my career and personal enrichment. AMCLI training has helped me apply more effective leadership skills to my work as a spiritual and social leader in the Muslim community.” Imam Mansoor Sabree, AMCLI IV Fellow


AMCLI is housed at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC).

AMCLI has received support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, El-Hibri Foundation, Ford Foundation, California Community Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, McCormick Foundation, One Nation for All, Open Society Foundations, Pillars Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Security and Rights Collaborative (a project of the Proteus Fund), Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, the University of Southern California, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University.

To find out about future events and programming, please sign up for CRCC’s newsletter and indicate your interest in AMCLI.