Yasmeen Qadri Inspires Future Agents of Peace — Faculty Highlight

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By Dani Moritz-Long

Yasmeen Qadri didn’t exactly receive the welcome she hoped for when she joined the Valencia family in 2003. While most colleagues and students greeted her with open arms, she was also — regretfully — greeted with contempt. Upon her arrival, flyers, fueled by blind hatred in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, were distributed labeling her as a terrorist and questioning the College’s decision to hire someone of Islamic faith.faculty-insight-news-id

It would have been easy for her to turn away, but that wasn’t an option for the long-time advocate of peace and understanding. Instead, Yasmeen sought to work with the College to promote cross-cultural understanding and inspire the next generation of leaders and educators to build a more peaceful world.

Yasmeen, professor, education, has accomplished this mission through numerous platforms, including the Teacher Education Program (TEP), which is an academic program designed to prepare Valencia education students to exceed standards in teaching. Yasmeen has helped the program to partner with the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI) and other organizations to inspire Valencia’s education students to foster an educational environment in their own future classrooms that leads to cultural appreciation and embraced diversity.

“TEP is a very well-rounded program that encompasses global education, peace education, advancement in technology, diversity and service learning — thereby helping prepare teachers who will not only survive the demands of the 21st century classroom, but thrive in their careers as change agents of peace and justice,” Yasmeen said. “TEP, East Campus has a partnership with six local schools, Horizons Childcare and Learning Center, Lawton Chiles Elementary School, Union Park Middle School, Colonial High School, UCP of Central Florida and Renaissance Charter School, where 600 education majors complete approximately 9,000 service-learning hours per academic year.”

Yasmeen has pioneered TEP on East Campus and introduced the Valencia Future Educators and Muslim Ambassadors for Peace, two very active student clubs geared toward training leaders in the field of education. As the recipient of numerous Endowed Chair awards, the NISOD award and being engaged in scholarly/academic work, TEP encompasses Global Distinction, Peace and Justice Distinction, and Valencia Future Educators Distinction Scholarships for prospective students. For more information on TEP, click here.

In addition to instilling religious tolerance and acceptance within TEP students, Yasmeen has also championed efforts to empower future educators through TeachLive — a mixed-reality teaching simulation program that can help students experience what it’s like to work through different scenarios, such as helping a special needs student or working with a troubled middle school student. She also helped facilitate service-learning opportunities for students in the areas of early childhood development and special needs education.

No matter what specific program or objective she’s working on, however, Yasmeen is constantly focused on creating a brighter tomorrow through better education. As a teacher herself, she knows that educators can help shape the world — one student at a time —  so that no one needs to experience the type of bigotry that she has. Thus, it is her mission to help Valencia’s future educators to pave the way for acceptance, peace and understanding.

In addition to her efforts with TEP, she volunteers with numerous organizations, like Teachers Without Borders and PJI, and presents around the world on everything from teachers as agents of peace to Muslim-Americans’ role in promoting social justice.

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