IAS Legacy Projects

Since its inception, the International Association of Sufism has pioneered and developed community-enhancing programs that bring together people across differences to understand, value and appreciate what makes each unique while honoring and celebrating the universality of our human experience. We are committed to interfaith understanding and educational programs that strengthen our community. The following programs were some of the earliest offered by IAS.

Garden of Light Praying Room

Established in 2013,The Garden of Light Praying and Meditation Room in Napa, California invites contemplation, meditation, prayer, and remembrance of loved ones. It is a place where people of any religion, and any nationality, whether rich or poor, whoever they are, can come and find refuge and sanctuary.

The Praying Room stands alone in invitation to all who come to find solitude within their own heart and to experience the reality of divinity.

Sufism Symposium

Offered for over 20 years, the Annual Sufism Symposium brought together Sufis from around the world for discussions, presentations and friendship, an achievement unprecedented in the history of Sufism. Over the years, the Symposium was enriched by scholars, poets, musicians, artists, and religious leaders from many traditions. Symposium themes included: The History of Sufism, Principles and Practices of Sufism, Sufism and Self-Discovery, Expressions of Beauty, Global Ethics, and Old Traditions for a New World, among others. In 2015, IAS published Caravan: Biographies from the Sufism Symposia, 1994-2014, a compilation of biographies of most of the presenters who participated in the first 20 years of Sufism Symposia, preserving this precious history for the benefit of humankind.

Building Bridges of Understanding

The Building Bridges of Understanding series was first created by Dr. Nahid Angha in cooperation with Dominican University of California and Dr. Harlan Stelmach, Dominican’s then Chair and Professor of Humanities, in response to the events of September 11, 2001 and the cultural misunderstandings that followed. Over time the series became an interfaith educational forum to explore shared spiritual values across faiths, traditions, and spiritual practices. Dialogues, conferences and programs brought people of all faiths together to learn about and discuss topics as wide-ranging as: Judaism, social justice, Native American Spirituality, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, domestic violence, peace through the arts, and environmental stewardship.

Bridging the Cultural Gap:

a Muslim non-Muslim Dialogue

Bridging the Cultural Gap: A Muslim non-Muslim Dialogue was created by Dr. Angha and developed in cooperation with Campus Ministry of Dominican University of California. The program created a forum for a continuing dialogue among Dominican’s Muslim and non-Muslim students in hope of promoting mutual understanding. The powerful and moving presentations included focus on contemporary education in Islamic sciences, the importance of social justice and peace among all people, an introduction to traditional North Indian Islamic music, and the photographic journey of an Iraqi journalist who chronicled the horrors of war and its impact on the citizens in the years following. Each session provided time for discussion among all participants. Young people remain the greatest asset of our nation as well as the globe, and the wealth of our society’s diversities and a great range of cultural identity have enriched our nation. These qualities enhance a community, and if respectful, educational and peaceful forums of dialogues are created, offered and provided, then every voice will be given the opportunity to be heard, and concerns will be addressed. Such forums can help individuals to be actively engaged in decision-making, taking informative and educational steps towards possible solutions, and experiencing the world through each other’s eyes.

IAS Prison Project

Founded in the 1980’s by Dr. Nahid Angha, the IAS Prison Project was designed to help inmates transform their lives through meditation, art therapy, and peaceful communication. It received the Warden’s Recognition Award from San Quentin State Prison, as well as recognition in the Marin Independent Journal for its work. The project invited our incarcerated brothers and sisters to read and reflect on deep wisdom that is very practical while adopting positive habits and working day by day on personal goals in order to “do” their time wisely. Working with inmates at San Quentin State Prison, Marin County Jail, and the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, IAS prison project volunteers facilitated groups, workshops, and classes on meditation, stress management, yoga, poetry, substance abuse education, and breast cancer awareness. These programs were well received by inmates and acknowledged and appreciated by prison staff. In addition to these activities, prison project volunteers also corresponded with inmates across the country through a letter-writing program. The IAS Prison Project volunteers are forever thankful for this rich experience of service.