Essay Contest 2007-2008

“Abrahamic Lessons in Overcoming Corruption”

The contest was launched on October 28th at a Kick-Off Event held in the Intercultural Center Auditorium at Georgetown University (download the kick-off booklet). Scholars and clergy developed the theme for the year – “Abrahamic Lessons in Overcoming Corruption” – in two panel discussions, addressing students’ questions and answers afterward. Also featured was the presentation of the first $2,000 Youth Leadership Micro-Grants to Priya Agarwal-Harding and Melissa Mergner.

Prior to the kick-off, FFC facilitated a secondary school teachers’ workshop on environmental stewardship. Click here to learn more about the teachers’ workshop.

On April 27, 2008, participating essayists were honored at the Children of Abraham Award Ceremony at the Gonda Theatre in the Davis Performing Arts Center at Georgetown University. Roberta Baskin (right), Director of the Investigative Team for ABC7/WJLA-TV, delivered the keynote address, highlighting lessons learned in the course of her long career fighting injustice and corruption. Before awards were presented, essayists spoke of ways they’ve grown as a result of their participation in the contest.

Youth Leadership Micro-Grants of $1,000, with another $1,000 pledged as a matching grant, were awarded to Devika Jaipuriar for the development of an environmental awareness project entitled “Earth Girl,” and Jonathan Kesten in support of his work with School Girls United to provide educational opportunities for girls in Mali.

Also at the award ceremony, June Murray-Crawford of Hudson High School in Hudson, Massachusetts, was presented the Second Annual Teacher’s Award for Peace Advocacy. A candlelight ceremony and reception followed.



See photos from the Awards Ceremony


Download the Awards Ceremony PowerPoint presentation




The 2007-2008 Children of Abraham Peace Essay Contest question read:

Part 1: How did each of the leaders of the Abrahamic faiths – Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad – seek to creatively transform the corruption and injustice in the societies in which they found themselves?

Part 2: Using the insights from these leaders, suggest a specific project that would seek to transform some type of corruption and injustice which faces your community, nation, or world today.

Award Winners

First Place – Lauren Sumida (Montgomery Blair High School)
“Humanity’s Choice: Using the Legacies of the Prophets to Find Our Moral Path”

Second Place –Krzysztof Franaszek (Thomas S. Wootton High School)
“Living the Peace”

Third Place – Anirudha Balasubramanian (St. Albans High School)
“Tussling with Injustice”

Fourth Place – Melissa Mergner (Montgomery Blair High School)
“Invisible and In Need”

Fourth Place – Gemma d’Eustachio (Montgomery Blair HS)
“Love, Compassion, Justice”

Fourth Place – Larissa Franklin (Hudson High School)
“Speaking Truth to Power”

Fourth Place – Mandeep Bedi (Montgomery Blair High School)
“Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad in the Fight Against Corruption”

Honorable Mention – Tamara Abdelsamad (Islamic Saudi Academy)
“Equality Among Us”

Honorable Mention – Ali Buhisi (Islamic Saudi Academy)
“A World That Changed”

Honorable Mention – Omar Buhisi (Islamic Saudi Academy)
“Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (Peace be Upon Them) – Perseverance for the Thought of Coexisting”

Honorable Mention – Devika Jaipuriar (Glenelg Country School)
“Compassion: Paving the Road to Peace”

Honorable Mention – Diana Jeang (Montgomery Blair High School)
“Adopting Biblical Teachings of Equality and Tolerance in Today’s Diverse Society”

Honorable Mention – Jonathan Kesten (Montgomery Blair High School)
“The Jihad of Love will always overcome”

Honorable Mention – Rachel Mulbry (Montgomery Blair High School)
“Leaders of Faith: Past, Present, and Future”

Honorable Mention – Noha Sherif (Islamic Saudi Academy)
“Battling Corruption From the Inside Out”

Honorable Mention – Sarah Sprague (Hudson High School)
“Corruption Within The School Systems”

Honorable Mention – Amanda Tedstone (Hudson High School)
“Religious Activists’ Positions on Truth to Power”

Honorable Mention – Wensheng Wei (Thomas S. Wootton High School)
“Love, Self-sacrifice, Forgiveness: Weapons of Mass Peace”

On-Line Mentors

Rabbi A. Nathan Abramowitz, Faculty, Theology Department, Georgetown University

Laith Al-Qasem, Chief Executive Officer of Arabian Business Consultants for Development

Mark Braverman, Ph.D.Clinical psychologist and Organizational consultant

John Deken, High School Teacher, Columbia, Missouri

David Gage, Ph.D., Founder, BMC Associates

Michael Goldman, Jewish Chaplain, Georgetown University Law and Medical Centers

Adila Laidi-Hanieh, Professor, Bir Zeit University

Molly Linehan, High School Campus Minister, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School

Fr. William McFadden, S.J., Faculty, Theology Department, Georgetown University

Zachary McIntyre, High School Teacher, Guymon, Oklahoma

Kenneth E. McNeil, Senior Partner, Susman Godfrey LLP

Sabree Muhammad, High School Teacher, Bronx, New York

June Murray-Crawford, High School Teacher, Hudson, Massachusetts

Professor Sulayman S. Nyang, Professor of African Studies, Howard University

Muhammad Shafi, Ph.D., CEO,  Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dar al Islam

Our Essay Judges were:

Karima Diane Alavi, former Director, Dar al  Islam Teachers’ Institute

Andrew R. Ammerman, CEO,  Ammerman Investment Partnership

Brian Hendrix, Art of Facts, Houston, TX

Reverend Raymond B. Kemp, Resident Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center,  Georgetown University

Alex Kronemer, Writer, Film Producer  and Lecturer on Religious Diversity

Josetta (“Jo”) Owen, Teacher, Volunteer, and Philanthropist

Jorge Romero, Attorney, K&L Gates, LLP