A Peek into our First MTD Exec Team Meeting
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh!
On the weekend of the MLK holiday, Jan 16-18, five MAS members converged in Totowa, NJ to lay out the foundation, planning, and execution for 2010 for the MAS Tarbiya Department (MTD). After a month of virtual planning and discussion, we left our families and homes to come together for the sole purpose of planning for 2010, in light of the 2008-2012 term strategies. The meeting was the first physical meeting of the term. This memo serves as a summary of the meeting and open communication of what took place.
Getting to Know Each Other
In 2009, the MTD was carried by three team members. At the end of 2009, two more members were added, one of them in a helping, unofficial capacity at the moment.
For the meeting, three team members were displaced out of their natural habitat, looking deep into their closets and joining two fellow New Yorkers to cope with the near-freezing temperatures. “I told you we should have met in San Diego!” exclaimed Zia Siddiqui. Zia, a native of Pakistan, has been in the Southern California region ever since moving to the USA 12 years ago. “We could be on the beach right now!” affirmed Raed Manasrah. Raed was like a fish out of the water because he lives five minutes from the beach in Los Angeles, CA. “I agree, its cold!” explained Wael Hamza. Wael, even though a resident of Yorktown Heights, NY for nine years, still clings to his warm roots in Egypt. “I have never been there, I would love to visit it,” expressed Sharif Aly. Sharif, born and raised in New York, still has some exploring to do. At the next opportunity, Southern California is at the top of his list. While most of us worried only about ourselves, Maha Ezzeddine had to look out for her travel companion as well, her daughter ten-month-old Maryam. Even though she was coming from her home in Houston, TX, Maha grew up in Maryland, so she didn’t have much adjusting to do. And no, the weather wasn’t the talk of the weekend (we had much more tarbiya-talk to do), but it definitely was a good ice-breaker, literally!
Meeting with MAS Leadership
The team had the fortunate opportunity to hold its meeting a short distance away from the Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting, which was also attended by Hossam AlJabri, the new executive director of MAS. We were able to share meals with them and get to know them on a personal level. We shared stories, aspirations, and suggestions that will help us carry the team forward. This instilled the mutual confidence and respect needed to carry the MAS forward insha Allah.
Strategic Planning and Projects
The first topic up for discussion was the direction MAS and MTD was taking. We asked very fundamental questions about MAS, MTD, our team, our roles, and our cooperation with other departments and of course, you…the local teams and members! This is where all the implementation happens and a real movement is made. MAS doesn’t exist or function without the local teams and members driving the work on the ground. Throughout our discussions, we kept this in mind, making sure every intellectual thought was taking into account the local teams and the members perception.
The Intellectual Foundations (IF) documents played a major role in our discussion. As the IF discussion is currently taking place throughout MAS at all levels, MTD wanted to contribute and show how our work can utilize and implement the IF decisions that are made throughout the organization.
Memos of understanding were drafted so that the concise, clear view of MTD can be distributed to other departments and to MAS leadership so that a common understanding can take place. These will not be final, official decisions on behalf of MAS, which is mostly the duty of the MAS leadership, but rather a viewpoint that will guide our department in its implementation through our mission, communication, and projects insha Allah.
Furthermore, a bulk of the meeting was discussing the objectives and projects that are to be started in 2010 and carried out throughout the term. Overall, we wanted the projects to be dynamic, applicable, and attention-drawing. It should fit the mission of MAS. Therefore, MTD holds this responsibility of developing members, training them, and providing them with resources and skills in order to carry out this mission and vision outlined by MAS. MAS overall is as great as its members and the MTD is assigned the task of taking care of its members.
Expectations of the National Team
You should expect our extended national team to be a national resource and guiding light for local implementation. We want to carry MAS and its members to the next level, providing them with tools and discussions that will shape the future of Islam in America. We understand the burden placed on us is very heavy, but we anticipate your help in this great endeavor by leveraging local talent and resources. Some projects will be continued, such as the Tarbiya Annual Meeting (TAM) and the Lighthouse Project (LHP), and new, exciting projects will be rolled out as we go along insha Allah!
A detailed plan from us will be published very soon, outlining our aspirations and projects for the upcoming year. Within the framework of this plan, you should expect timely and open communication, planning and structure for your local teams, and networking so that we may achieve the mission collectively. Look out for more email communications and MTD blog entries where you can discover and learn about the latest developments.
Expectations of Local Teams
By local teams, we mean Chapter Presidents, Tarbiya Directors, MAS Youth (MY) Directors, and of course, you, the member! We look forward to your vital role in the MTD operation. Local and national teams are joint operations that work hand-in-hand. The fulfillment and use of the overall strategy and the projects will be essential to create a national, unified direction that we can all achieve together. Some of the projects entail the contribution and resource-sharing by the members, something that we hope you will actively participate in. We hope that you will contribute and add to this effort!
Specifically, we would like for you to have open communication with us so that we may understand each other and our messages are received. Lastly, we would like to be able to tap into local resources for national work so that we can keep up with the local growth and be able to keep providing resources.
We ask for your help in this great task. And we expect nothing in return except for the reward from Allah. Please make a special dua that Allah accepts from us, bless our work, and carry MAS and its members to what gives us success in this life and the hereafter. Lastly, please don’t hesitate to contact us to share your thoughts, feedback, and criticisms (email@example.com)…we would like to always be there for you!
Wassalamu alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh!
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