Luther College has awarded Houda Abadi from Atlanta, Georgia, the Young Alumni Award for 2018. Abadi, a 2003 Luther graduate, is the associate director for the Middle East and North Africa Conflict Resolution Program at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Young Alumni Award recognizes Luther alumni who have graduated in the past 15 years and have rendered notable service to their profession and society in their vocation or avocation.
Abadi has served at The Carter Center since 2014. For the first two years, she worked on conflict resolution involving the Syria and the Israel-Palestine conflict. During that time, she developed what is now the Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism project. The project started with a focus on discrediting ISIS recruitment propaganda through the mobilization of Muslim religious and community leaders. It also aims to quell the dangerous tide of Islamophobia emerging in some countries, which has risen because of policies that stigmatize Muslims and people's narrow understanding of violent extremism. Through action-oriented research and capacity-building workshops with religious and community leaders, the Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism project strives to combat hate.
After earning a bachelor's degree in political communication from Luther, she went on to earn her master's degree in international relations and diplomacy with a concentration in Middle East studies and conflict resolution from Seton Hall University. She holds a Ph.D. in political communication and media studies from Georgia State University and earned a graduate certificate in communication and media studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.