September 20, 2019

Building Interfaith Bridges: IVLP Alumnus Works Towards Religious Harmony

Dr. Abdul Muhaimin’s exchange took place a decade ago, but he still carries the influence of the program with him every single day. As an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Dr. Muhaimin’s explored the theme “Religion in America,” and the importance of interfaith harmony to societal advancement and growth. Since then, he has worked diligently towards strengthening interfaith ties.

Dr. Muhaimin recognizes the significance of his IVLP experience to his work, noting that it opened his eyes to the type of change he could make. “One thing I am able to do now, that I was not even aware of before participating in my exchange program, was volunteering for any social services,” he says. Beyond volunteering, Dr. Muhaimin has taken the initiative to establish his own service organization.

After he returned to Pakistan, Dr. Muhaimin founded the Society for Peace and Conflict Management (SPACM) in February 2015. The organization’s mission: “To eliminate all forms of racial, ethnic, linguistic, political and religious bigotry through peace, love, respect, tolerance and culture.” To implement those goals, SPACM works with young people and students to help shape successful future leaders. To date, Dr. Muhaimin’s organization has hosted over 200 programs on religious topics, from peaceful co-existence to intra-faith tolerance, as well as social issues, such as preventing child abuse.

Dr. Muhaimin works to reach his ultimate goal of interfaith harmony by empowering students to seek higher education. Through SPACM, he teaches several programs to seminary students, many from underprivileged backgrounds. These programs enable the students to successfully complete their education, build marketable skills, and enter the modern job market. Dr. Muhaimin has also brought together seminary teachers from different schools of thought and has put on several events promoting respectful conversations on sensitive topics. He believes that by better preparing seminary students for the future and empowering them to be engaged in their communities, he can create more opportunities for quality dialogue on faith-related conflict.

In addition to his philanthropic and educational work, Dr. Muhaimin remains very active as a member of the exchange alumni network. He is a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the Pakistan U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) and was a recipient of an award from the Alumni Small Grants program run by PUAN. He frequently speaks at a variety of PUAN, Embassy, and Consulate events, and his engagement and work is appreciated by the U.S Mission, as well as PUAN. He is a scholar, leader, and teacher, and uses his experiences from IVLP to contribute to both his local community and Pakistan’s alumni community.

Today, Dr. Muhaimin works as the Head of the Department of Islamic and Religious Studies at the University of Haripur in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, while continuing his work as chairman of SPACM.

Each month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Office of Alumni Affairs recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna. Congratulations to Dr. Muhaimin on being named September 2019’s Exchange Alumni Member of the Month! We look forward to seeing what he will do next.