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Alphabetical


SOHAIL AKHTER, Board Member Emeritus
Sohail Akhter is the founder of The Cordoba Foundation, a non-profit organization working to promote education about Islam and elderly care for Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attends South Valley Islamic Center in San Martin, California where he served as president for two terms, leading numerous community service and interfaith events with both Jewish and Christian communities. Sohail has long been an activist for peacebuilding, community outreach and civil rights initiatives, participating regularly in interfaith dialogue and community outreach programs with organizations such as Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Networks Group (ING) and United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance. Sohail has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and a 20-year professional career in Sales, Marketing and Corporate Development. Sohail is a co-founder of Abrahamic Alliance International, helping take it from concept in 2007 to launch operations in 2008. Sohail served on the AAi Board of Directors from 2008–2014, and remains a distinguished and honorary Board Member Emeritus today.

 
 
AZIZ BAAMEUR, Board Secretary
Aziz Baameur serves as the Inter-religious Outreach Chair of the South Valley Islamic Center in San Martin, California.  Aziz earned degrees in Agronomy, Soil Sciences, and Horticulture from the University of Minnesota and now works as the University of California Small Farms Advisor to Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. His research addresses issues surrounding the introduction of new crops, and farming best management practices that impact food, environmental quality, and consumer acceptance. Aziz has long been a champion of inter-religious peacebuilding, cooperation and compassionate outreach. Years before leading AAi’s inaugural service event in 2008, Aziz had orchestrated several bridge building initiatives in Muslim-Jewish and Muslim-Christian relations. Leveraging his expertise in farming and food production, Aziz organized several gleaning and harvest events that united Jewish, Christian and Muslim volunteers to supply countless truckloads of fresh fruits and vegetables to local food banks and soup kitchens. Moreover, Aziz has recruited, organized, and united hundreds of Jewish, Christian and Muslim volunteers to supply, prepare and serve thousands of healthy meals to low income and homeless families of Gilroy and San Jose.
 

 


ROD CARDOZA, Founder and Executive Director 
Rod Cardoza is a cultural, theological and linguistic anthropologist. He has published ethnographic research on Muslim ritual, and lectures internationally on Muslim-Christian dialogue. He studied Urdu language at Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, India. He researched social stratification among Muslim communities in Ahmedabad, India; shamanism among Maguindanaon Muslims in rural Mindanao, Philippines; and Shi'ite mourning rituals in Gujarat, India. He worked closely with leading scholars from Delhi University and Hazrat Pir Mohammed Shah Research Centre in India to publish religious peacebuilding Urdu texts. He also researched the role of Muslim cinematography in teaching Islamic knowledge in Egypt, where Rod lived with his family for several years while studying Arabic. Rod has lectured widely at universities and seminaries such as Lewis & Clark College, American University DC, Fresno Pacific University, and Fuller Theological Seminary. Rod authored "New Paths in Muslim-Christian Dialog: Understanding Islam from the Light of Earliest Jewish Christianity," (originally presented in Washington, DC at the Annual Conference on Muslim Peace, Justice and Interfaith Dialogue sponsored by Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, and Islamic Society of North America), published in The Muslim World, a journal devoted to the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. Rod lives in San Jose, California and attends a Mennonite church with his wife and three children.

 


KEVIN FRIESEN, Board Chair
Kevin Friesen is a pastor, musician, social entrepreneur and communications consultant. After nearly 20 years leading large music and production programs for churches in Northern California (First Baptist Church of Modesto, and Saratoga Federated Church), Kevin stepped outside the walls of the abbey to facilitate positive change in the world. In 2007 he founded NextStep Bridges, a nonprofit business that facilitated collaborations and partnerships with various players in the social sector. One such project was the launch and incubation of Abrahamic Alliance International in 2008. In 2011, Kevin joined the faculty at Duarte Academy (www.duarte.com) and has since led over 300 workshops with over 100 brands and thousands of individuals across the world. Kevin has a BA in Music and a Masters in Conducting from Golden Gate Seminary. He also completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurialism from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

 

 

RABBI SIMCHAH A. GREEN
Rabbi Simcha A. Green is a modern orthodox rabbi who received his ordination from Yeshiva University. He has served in the rabbinate for more than forty years and directed several religious Hebrew schools in east coast US communities. He has been active in Adult Education as Director of the Jewish Community Center in Philadelphia, as well as in youth programming and outreach to intermarried Jewish families. He moved from Maine to California in 2006 to lead Ahabat Torah, San Jose's only Sephardic Orthodox synagogue. He is a contributor to Beit HaMidrash of the Bay Area and a great believer in the power of dialogue. Rabbi Green has organized numerous Torah study sessions over the years for rabbis in all streams of Jewish thought. He also developed similar Torah studies for use in discussion with Christian leaders. His interest in dialogue has more recently resulted in several meetings with Bay Area Muslim leaders and educators, building bridges of understanding and respect.

 


DAVE WEISS, Board Treasurer 
Dave Weiss is a retired executive with General Electric Nuclear Energy, where he worked for over 35 years in a variety of capacities including Senior Engineer, Engineering Manager, and Nuclear Fuel Project Manager. Dave managed $100 million contracts to produce fuel for nuclear power plants to create electricity. Dave earned his bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and his masters in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. For over thirty years, Dave has been serving his local community, building wheelchair ramps for the handicapped, and maintaining the homes of widows. Dave has also served internationally, travelling with church-sponsored building projects to Jamaica, Ecuador, San Salvador, Bolivia, France, and Ethiopia. Dave has enjoyed serving as a host family with the US-China Exchange Council for visiting government officials from China attending San Jose State University.

 

  

 

 

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