2017 Tulsa Gala feat. Keynote Speaker Usama Canon
Join us on Friday, October 6th, 2017 for our 2nd Annual Tulsa Gala at the DoubleTree Warren Place.
The theme of this year’s Gala is “Advancing Justice, Challenging Hate.”
Early-bird registration from now until August 31st. Get $11 off your ticket price in recognition of 11 years of CAIR Oklahoma in our state.
Keynote Speaker – Usama Canon
Born and raised in California, Ustadh Usama Canon embraced Islam in 1996. Since then, he has had the honor of studying various Islamic Sciences both at home and abroad under some of today’s foremost scholars in America, Morocco, Egypt and Yemen.
During the last decade, Ustadh Usama served as the Outreach Director and an Arabic Instructor at Zaytuna Institute, as well as a Muslim Chaplain for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Ustadh Usama is the Founding Director of Ta’leef Collective, a community based non-profit focused on assisting converts to Islam and creating healthy social and sacred spaces. He is also a spiritual advisor to the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), visiting Chicago monthly in this capacity. In addition to speaking in various communities throughout the United States, Ustadh Usama leads workshops and retreats worldwide.
His professional interests include contemporary issues and solutions related to the American Muslim experience, as well as the development of support systems for ex-offenders. Usama resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and four children.
Ustadh Usama Canon is one of the most dynamic Muslim speakers in the West who is founded on a deep understanding and scholarship of Islam through the love of The Word of Allah and His Beloved Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam. His firm understanding of the context of living in today’s world with varying challenges makes him one of the most lucid commentators and advisors to the global citizen, informed by the Principles of Mercy and Wisdom advocated by Islam.
Sheikh Nuredin Giayash
Nuredin Giayash is a native of Libya who immigrated to the United States in 1983 to pursue his studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. He graduated in 1987 and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 1991, Giayash was hired as the Vice Principal of Peace Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Three years later, Giayash became the Principal of Peace Academy and was also elected as a member of the school Board of Directors. Under his management, Peace Academy has added three additional elementary grades, three middle school grades, and a complete high school. In addition, graduates are offered dual enrollment in college and can graduate up to a full year early. The school’s continued growth and success has been achieved with the financial support from both parents as well as the generosity of many outside the school in other communities who donate to the school. Giayash’s dedication to the community and role as the primary spokesperson of the Academy has garnered significant support within the Muslim community both statewide and nationally.
In 2006, Peace Academy was fortunate to earn candidacy for accreditation with NCA (North Central Accreditation) and was successfully accredited in 2008. Giayash is always looking for ways to improve Islamic education in America. Currently, Giayash is working to educate other Islamic schools about the accreditation process in order to help them become accredited.
Rev. Marlin Lavanhar
Master of Ceremonies
Marlin grew up as a Unitarian Universalist in Illinois. He majored in sociology at Tulane, and graduated from Harvard Divinity School. All Souls called him in 2000, making him, at age 32, the youngest senior minister of a major congregation in the denomination. Marlin began his ministerial career in the North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Illinois.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he taught English and American Culture in Kyoto, Japan for two years. He followed that with a three year around-the-world bicycle trip, studying Buddhism in Asia, Hinduism in India, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions in Israel, and cycling through much of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North America. Along the way he visited and wrote about Unitarian communities on the Negros Island in the Philippines, in the Khasi Hills of Northeast India, and in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. The experience helped him recognize the Unitarian ministry as his calling and he enrolled at Harvard Divinity School when he returned to the United States.
After graduating, he served as Minister of Outreach at the historic First and Second Church in Boston. He became widely recognized within the denomination for his development of the “Soulful Sundown Service” program in Boston, which reaches out to young people. His success was demonstrated by the wide distribution of a manual he wrote on how to bring young people into church.
Since coming to All Souls, Marlin has overseen exponential growth in membership and attendance. In 2008, All Souls became the largest church in the Unitarian Universalist Association with almost 1,800 adult members.
He serves the wider Tulsa community as a member of the Downtown Clergy Association, a board member of the John Hope Franklin Museum for Reconciliation, and the Mayor’s Police and Community Coalition.