Two Laurier faculty members recognized with CMA awards

The Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo, a local organization which aims to enhance communication and understanding between Muslim and other communities through work-shops and interactive community forums, recognized two Wilfrid Laurier University faculty members with the Women Who Inspire Awards.

One of the recipients of this award is Hind Al-Abadleh, an associate professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. The second recipient is Selda Sezen, an adjunct faculty at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and a PhD candidate at the university.

Originally from Turkey, Sezen was awarded and honoured with an inspiring leadership award from the organization. Sezen has worked at Algonquin College as an educator and acted as a director of a community learning centre. She helped to establish children and youth programs and spiritual spaces for women and organized inter-faith and inter-cultural events during her time in Ottawa.

Sezen now works at the Delton Glebe Counselling Centre, as well as a spiritual care provider and chaplain at the Grand Valley Institution for Women. She is also the president of the Canadian Muslim Research and Resource Centre and an outreach coordinator for the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, Kitchener-Waterloo chapter.

“I am deeply honoured with an Inspiring Leadership Award and grateful to be recognized with my contribution to the well-being of the K-W community,” Sezen said in an email statement.

“I have been engaged and active in the Muslim and larger communities of Kitchener-Waterloo since 2012 as a researcher and teacher at Laurier and spiritual care provider and psychotherapist in several institutions of the Waterloo Region. I express my sincerest thanks to my community for their support and to Coalition of Muslim Women K-W committee for their recognition while accepting this award for all women who inspire and nurture many lives without expecting any recognition.”

Al-Abadleh was recognized for her professional excellence both at Laurier and in the K-W region. As an active member of the community, Al-Abadleh engages in inter-faith panels aimed at increasing awareness of the science behind climate and environmental problems, as well as how the role of faith formulates a values-based response to this crisis. She works with senior groups, youth groups and churches in K-W and the GTA.

Al-Abadleh also noted how educating students, as well as the general public, about environmental issues is significant to how we can begin to solve these problems for future generations. As a participant in environmental research, Al-Abadleh felt it was her responsibility to make sure that accurate scientific information is made public through community engagement.

“I feel we have this new generation, the millennial generation, who came into this world … not experiencing the ozone loss and for them to actually be aware that you know that we actually experience environmental crisis in the past and we were able to solve them when communities came together and understood that science can help solve the problem.”

Al-Abadleh also uses her teachings of climate change and environmental issues in relation to faith and religion. Al-Abadleh believes that faith used as a tool can make individuals accountable for their actions.

“Accountability comes easy to people of faith because they have been raised with the fact that they are accountable to some higher power,” Al-Abadleh explained.

The awards were held at the CMA’s recognition dinner last Saturday at The Family Centre. The recognition dinner paid tribute to Muslim women in the K-W region who have made outstanding contributions to the community.

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, MP for Peterborough-Kawartha and the minister of Status of Women, delivered a keynote speech to the audience. Guests included minister of Small Business and Tourism and Waterloo MP, Bardish Chagger, mayor for the City of Kitchener, Berry Vrbanovic, as well as several MP’s and politicians from across the province.

“It was a beautiful community gathering not only [for] Muslims but [for] everybody who supports this community, who loves this community and wants to see this community thrive and flourish,” Al-Abadleh said.

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