On April 17, 2019, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed delivered the fourth annual DISC Distinguished Lecture at the University of Michigan. A physician, public health expert, and 2018 candidate for Michigan governor, Dr. El-Sayed reflected on his experience as a millennial Muslim-American candidate on the campaign trail and discussed the role of identity and ideals in the current political moment. “Dr. Abdul El-Sayed’s campaign,” explained DISC Director and U-M Professor of Political Science Pauline Jones, “excited Michiganders and Americans across the political spectrum with his focus on public health, education, diversity, and dialogue.” In his talk, Dr. El-Sayed argued for a politics of empathy that centers our actions on prevailing systems of oppression and speaks truth to power while empathizing with the pain experienced by a diverse spectrum of Americans.

Earlier in the day, Dr. El-Sayed met with a number of U-M undergraduate and graduate students from the Program in International & Comparative Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies, and Students Allied for Freedom and Equality during a lunch hosted by the Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies Seminar. During lunch, Dr. El-Sayed answered student questions about his transition from the medical field into politics, lessons learned on the campaign trail, and the pursuit of social justice.

Each year, the Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC) hosts a Distinguished Lecture featuring a prominent scholar or public figure speaking about issues related to Islamic studies. These events are presented by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Michigan, and the Global Islamic Studies Center (GISC), a member of the International Institute.

Organized by the Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC), with support from the Global Islamic Studies Center, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies Seminar. This lecture was made possible through the generous financial support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.