On Sunday April 19th, 1992 at 11:45 PM Iman Belali made her way to this world to Moroccan born parents, Malika Belali and Mohamed Belali. Even in kindergarten Iman was often described as a social butter fly. She made friends every where she went. Simply put Iman was destined to be a people’s person.
At age 12, Iman took action. She saw negative stereotyping of Arabs (in American media) and of Americans (in Arab media) and decided to make a change – at her level. Iman used a portion of her college fund to provide school supplies for 80 students in Chefchaouen, Morocco (where her grandparents were born) – the first step toward educating teens in Morocco and the US about the kindness and generosity of people in both countries.
In 2005 with the help of her parents, she decides to form a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through cross cultural exchange programs. American Moroccan International Exchange was born. In 3 short years since its inception, AMIE has successfully raised over $140,000.00 and over 70 Exchange students from Morocco and the USA have benefited from the program.
In 2006, Iman /AMIE approached the Mayor of Issaquah, WA (Iman’s hometown) with a plan to establish a sister city relationship between Issaquah and Chefchaouen. Fast forward a few months: in April of 2007, AMIE takes a delegation from Issaquah (including Mayor Ava Frisigner and others from Issaquah's city council and chamber of commerce)to Chefchaouen where a memorandum of understanding was signed by Mayor Mohamed Saad El Alami, Mayor Ava Frisinger and Witnessed by Iman Belali and US ambassador to Morocco Mr. Thomas Riley. That same year Iman would be awarded the University of Washington Farhat Ziadeh Award young Arab American of the year. In 2008 Iman has been nominated by women’s enews of New York to be 21 century leader. Iman is one of 21 leaders chosen from the 50 states. Iman is women’s enews youngest 21 century leader. She goes to New York city on May 22th 2008 to accept her award.
Iman is a sophomore at Liberty high school in Issaquah, on her free time she likes to chat with her friends including AMIE alumna, play violin and do volunteer work in her community. Iman is still exploring her options but aspires to pursue a career in psychology.
Here is the link to women e -news article about Iman (they also have a page in Arabic) :