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Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia Speaker Series

Social Justice: Community Wellness
If you conceive it, you believe it, you can achieve it.
A powerful philosophy created by Mr. Islam which drives the Athenaeum Symposia.

Our distinguished speakers offer timely, stimulating topics delivered by today's leading experts in international affairs, social science, the humanities, arts, politics, and economics. These events encourage meaningful conversation, critical thinking, and intercultural understanding around our collective experiences.

Through a generous gift from philanthropist and civic leader Mr. Frank Islamnew window (to the effect that his remarkable story of immigrant success is told in a documentary filmnew window), all events are free and open to the community.

This year’s speakers will explore the theme of Social Justice: Community Wellness. Our goal is to inspire respectful exchange of ideas among the Montgomery College community and the larger Montgomery County community, advancing the kinds of meaningful conversations that are ever-more important.

Fall 2023 Speaker Series

in partnership with the Bella Michkinsky Lecture

Muneer Nasser - Musician, Author, & Historian

October 24, 2023, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Germantown Campus, Globe Hall (map)

Muneer Nasser

Raised in New York City under the tutelage of the great bassist Jamil Nasser, Muneer 's exposure to the jazz idiom was early and powerful. In 1976, "My dad took me to see Dizzy Gillespie at the Village Gate and Dizzy blew the place apart. I had to get a trumpet and weeks later I did."  In 1979, he went to the International Art of Jazz Workshop for college students. Dave Burns, a trumpeter in Gillespie's Big Band, had reservations about his age. Muneer's talent, however, overshadowed this concern. "Mr. Burns acceptance fortified my confidence, and I began studying with him." Muneer also received private instruction from George Coleman, Jimmy Owens, Oliver Beener, and Webster Young. These workshops and lessons taught him the basics of jazz improvisation, which were tested at serious jam sessions conducted by Eddie Henderson, Ted Curson, Tommy Turrentine, Barry Harris, C Sharpe, and Gil Coggins. "If you couldn't play, they would bench you with quickness and give you a homework assignment." As a youngster, Muneer heard masters such as George Coleman, Randy Weston, Lou Donaldson, Woody Shaw, Ahmad Jamal, Roy Eldridge, and Phineas Newborn. In 1984, he and his brother, alto saxophonist Zaid Nasser, played with the great Lou Donaldson who said “Y’all on the right track.”

After high school, he attended Shaw University, where he played in the jazz ensemble and hosted a weekly jazz broadcast on WSHA. Upon transferring to Howard University, he joined a thriving jazz scene in Washington DC. Muneer performed at the Lincoln Theatre, Bohemian Caverns, Twins Jazz, Takoma Station, Westminster Church, and the Kennedy Center. After graduating from Howard University with a B.B.A., Muneer traveled overseas to Europe and North Africa where he performed in Paris, Turkey, Morocco, London, and Geneva. Gary Crosby hired him to join Jazz Jamacia on a tour of London, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester. He played with Courtney Pine and Clifford Jarvis as well. He also played regularly in Baltimore with alto saxophonist, Arnold Sterling at the Arch Social Club, The Edison Lounge, and The Baltimore Museum of Art. In 2013, he played trumpet and flugelhorn simultaneously at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, which pleasantly surprised the audience.

Past Events

Judith Cohen - A Mother’s Letter from the Grave: The Frank Grunwald Collection

October 5, 2023, 12:30-1:30 PM, Germantown Campus, Globe Hall - View Event Flyer (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window)

Judith Cohen

Judith Cohen is a graduate of Harvard University in History and Literature and received her MA from Brandeis in Contemporary Jewish Studies. She originally came to the Holocaust Museum in 1995 to work on the exhibition “Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto” before moving to the Photo Archives where she later served as its director before becoming head of the Curatorial Acquisitions and Reference branch and chief acquisitions curator.

She has curated web exhibits and written and co-authored articles on the Museum’s collection entitled “Memento Mori: Photographs from the Grave,” “Three Approaches to Exploring the Höcker Album,” ”Jewish Ghetto Photographers,” “The Mantello Rescue Mission,” “Roman Vishniac: A Different Kind of Holocaust Photographer” and “Virtual Tombstones: The Power of Holocaust Photography.” Following her retirement from the Museum in 2020, she worked as a part-time researcher for the museum’s permanent exhibition revitalization project focusing primarily on Jewish rescuers.

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These events fulfill the Multicultural Diversity Training requirement for MC employees. 
To reserve space for classes or to request accommodations for an event, email or call 240-567-1845. 

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