By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City invites the public for a Dialogue Luncheon featuring keynote speaker Dr. Nyla Ali Khan on Tuesday, June 11, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will be held at the Raindrop Turkish House, 4444 N. Classen in Oklahoma City. Lunch will be provided.
Dr. Khan will speak about “Building Community and Engaging Young People in the Process of Democracy”.
“We have a lack of understanding of each other and a paranoia that may lead to violence,” said Dr. Khan. “The identity of a state or a nation cannot be built on unquenchable hate and certainly not on cashing in on the pain and grief of other people. It is or, at least, should be inconceivable, in the day and age of a global economy, to spurn the concepts of reason, rationality, and political and moral ethics.
“The perpetuation of a politics that creates and emphasizes cultural myopia and monocultural identities, in societies as diverse as those of the United States and Kashmir, would be the bane of our existence,” Khan added. “This damaging short-sightedness results in intolerance, arbitrary justice, tyranny, and ignorance. Dissatisfaction with the policies of Governments, however, should not encourage the glorification of reactionary politics.
“Our young people need to remember that despite the several letdowns, the process of democratization is an evolutionary one and does not provide instant solutions. The rhetoric of bitterness and hatred that is palpable the world over undermines rule of law and political accommodation in democratic nations,” Khan said. “We still have a lot of work to do in order to repair divides.”
Dr. Khan is the first South Asian Muslim member of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She has served on the commission’s Advisory Council since 2015.
As a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, she acts as a resource and provides her expertise on societal violence and structural inequities that result from what she describes as “deep-rooted prejudices against women.”
An Edmond resident born in New Delhi, India, Khan 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 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, on education and women’s empowerment.
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 from 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.
The mission of the Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City is to promote mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among people of diverse faiths and cultures by creating opportunities for direct communication and meaningful shared experiences.
“As I’ve said at other forums, the non-legislative reforms that we require are new efforts and new forums not just in this country but in other parts of the world as well for the birth of new ideas and broad based grassroots politics that transcend organizational divides,” Khan stated. “It makes me happy to see such seeds being sown on our college campuses, particularly in rural areas.”
To reserve a seat for the Dialogue Luncheon, click here. Limited seats are available. Suggested donation for the event is $20.
For more information about the Dialogue Institute, visit dialogueok.org.