Founder and Creative Director of the “Capture the Spirit of Ramadan” International Photography Competition™, Dr Basel Almisshal is an award winning architect, artist, designer and professional photographer. He has a keen eye for creativity and has extensive experience in artistic composition stemming from his professional background as an acclaimed architect. Almisshal has taught photography, art, design and architecture courses and workshops at universities in the UK and Middle East as well as the Tate Museum in Britain.
Almisshal’s expertise in photography was gained through first hand training from world-class photography experts and he has ventured in almost all genres of photography since 1995. His photos and design work have appeared in advertising and publications for international clients such as Al Jazeera, Zurich Bank, Shangri La Hotels and Resorts, Islamic Relief and several Arab governments including royalty. Almisshal is the first and only Arab member of the United Nations Photographic Council.
Dr Shahidul Alam is a multiple international award-winning photojournalist that started his photography career in 1980 and was awarded the Harvey Harris Trophy for being judged the best photographer of the year by the London Arts Council in 1983. Professor Alam has had his work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, The Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and the Tate Modern in Britain.
Alam has been a jury member of numerous competitions including World Press Photo where he has been a judge on four occasions and was the first person of color to chair the international jury in World Press Photo history. He has served as the president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society for three terms.
He is on the advisory board for the National Geographic Society and is a visiting professor at Sunderland University in the UK and UCLA in the USA. He is an acclaimed public speaker and has lectured at Harvard and Stanford Universities in the USA, in Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK and in numerous prestigious academic institutions in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.
Steve McCurry is an award-winning American photojournalist best known for his photograph of the “Afghan Girl” that originally appeared in a National Geographic magazine in 1985. Steve has spent his career travelling and photo documenting his missions throughout Asia and has become one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.
Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike – yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo Awards, to name a few.
Dr Shems Freidlander is an American Muslim Professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University of Cairo and has been based in Egypt and Turkey for decades where he has written about and photographed Muslim subjects. Friedlander graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1963 and since then has been prominent in the art world as a photographer, graphic designer, documentary filmmaker and painter, as well as an educator. Friedlander is chairman of the Sony Gallery’s International Advisory Board and has taught at the Parsons School of Design, New York as Professor of Editorial Communication, Advertising and Design.
Friedlander is the author of nine books and several monodramas and his work has been exhibited worldwide. He completed the documentary Rumi, the Wings of Love in early 2001 and received the first Sony Video Filmmaker Award for the film, which was an official selection for both the Parabola and Damah film festivals.
Farah Pandith is a Kashmiri American Former Special Representative to Muslim Communities at the US Department of State, appointed by Hillary Clinton in 2009. Prior to that, she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and was responsible for engaging with Muslim communities in Europe. Pandith is an Institute of Politics Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Pandith is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Member of the Leadership Council of Women and Girls Lead, the recipient of various honors for her work in public service, and has been named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian Magazine. She is part of the Smithsonian’s The Network by artist Lincoln Schatz, a permanent exhibit at The National Portrait Gallery, and has appeared in print, radio, television and film from The New York Times to a documentary for the 9/11 Museum.
Peter Sanders is an award winning British Muslim who began his photography career in the 1960’s in London. Sanders was one of the very few Westerners to photograph Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina in the early 1970s after he became a Muslim. Peter Sanders’ photographic archive includes over a quarter of a million transparencies from forty countries around the world, many showcasing Islam and Muslim cultures.
Sanders has published three books including “In The Shade of the Tree”, which gives a wonderful insight into the diversity of the Muslim cultures around the world whilst his second book “The Art of Integration, Islam in England’s green and pleasant land”, shows an alternative picture of Muslims integrated completely within British society. His third book ‘Meetings with Mountains’ is the result of a forty year project, about the extraordinary scholars and living saints that he has met during his forty years of travelling.