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The Norman Bobins Leadership Award

Strong leaders grow from strong foundations. Rami Nashashibi, firmly rooted in his faith and the Islamic values of brotherhood, service, charity and faith, proves this better than anyone. But more than his background, it is his passion for service and advocacy that truly distinguishes him as a leader.

Rami has fought for social justice and broken down cultural, religious and racial barriers through an inspiring range of projects and programs. As a founder and now Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Rami has been a tireless force in Chicago Lawn and beyond. At the community level, IMAN provides direct services from food distribution to career development to health care at its free Health Clinic. Under Rami’s leadership, it also fosters cross-cultural understanding through its arts and culture programming and events. IMAN drew an unprecedented 10,000 local residents to Marquette Park’s biennial “Takin’ it to the Streets” festival for forums, performances and speeches by civic leaders and artists. One of IMAN’s most innovative efforts has been establishing bi-monthly Community Cafés, which bring together artists, activists and community members for performances and discussion.

But Rami’s work reaches far beyond the southwest side. IMAN’s organizing and advocacy efforts have formed statewide alliances and affected change on issues like criminal justice and human rights, including drafting and organizing for the passage of legislation to provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level, non-violent drug offenders.

For his passionate leadership, dedication to his community and extraordinary potential as a leader in community development, Rami Nashashibi is the winner of the 2009 Norman Bobins Leadership Award.