By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Thursday, February 14, the Seminole Chamber of Commerce Forum will host professor and author, Dr. Nyla Ali Khan. The lunch forum will be held at 12 noon in the Utterback Ballroom of the Enoch Kelly Haney Center on the Seminole State College campus. The public is welcome. The cost of lunch is $8.
Dr. Khan’s topic will be “Building Community and Engaging Young People in the Processes of Democracy.”
“It is important to diligently work to engage young people in the United States and other parts of the world in the processes of democracy, to acquire skills and knowledge that would enable them to effectively participate in decision-making, to recognize the importance of standing up and being counted as well as the value of the vote.” Khan stated.
“In order to improve the election process and civic engagement for the people of the United States, particularly millennials, to engage and encourage them to be informed and to vote, it is imperative to identify issues that are important to voters, so they are inspired to make a significant difference by participating,” Khan said.
Born in New Delhi, India, Khan resides in Edmond and is a professor at Rose State College in Midwest City. She taught as a Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma and was a professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
She received her Ph.D. in English Literature and her Masters in Postcolonial Literature and Theory at the University of Oklahoma.
An author of several published articles, book reviews and editorials, Khan has edited Parchment of Kashmir, a collection of essays on Jammu and Kashmir. She has written four books: The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society and Polity, The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam Women and Violence in Kashmir Between India and Pakistan, and A Labor of Love.
She has given lectures on the subject of Kashmir at several universities including American University, Columbia University and New York University. As an Oklahoma Humanities Scholar she speaks publicly statewide, including at women’s correctional facilities, where she focuses on education and women’s empowerment. Khan’s work includes engaging in reflective action working with diverse cultural and social groups.
Dr. Khan is a member of the Harvard-based Scholars Strategy Network, the Women’s Interfaith Alliance, and the Advisory Council for the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She has served on the board of Generation Citizen, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower the younger generation through civics education.
In 2016, Khan received the Oklahoma Human Rights Award bestowed by the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance and the Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association.
Khan was honored as one of the 100 Trailblazers for 2018 by the Oklahoma League of Women Voters and recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award & Silver Medal for her national public speaking and work at the community and grassroots level in Oklahoma.
“Working and living in Oklahoma has taught me that community is the ability to organize and mobilize for social change, which requires the creation of awareness not just at the individual level but at the collective level as well,’ Khan said.
“Community is the courage to bridge divides and to pave the way for the education of the younger generation, which is the only viable response to ignorance and bigotry,” she added. “Community is the openness to dissent, and differences of opinion, which is true courage.”
On Sunday, March 17, Dr. Khan will speak on the “Life of a Kashmiri Woman” at the West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1309 W. Boyd Street in Norman, at 11 a.m.
For more information on other Seminole Chamber events, visit seminoleokchamber.org.