|Written by Hend Bendari|
|Friday, 06 April 2012 17:01|
Strokes of genius.
If I was to describe the night before IlmFest 2010 in three lines, I think that pretty much explains it.
In under 8 weeks, a solid team of volunteer brothers and sisters came together to bring one of the most exciting and probably the largest learning event to hit Ottawa. I witnessed a community come together like never before; networks were established, bonds were built, and joyous memories etched.
The buzz in the city was so electrifying it was hard to hold on to tickets. In the days leading up to IlmFest, I spent over 7 hours in the car driving around the city delivering the last of my tickets - we were about to sell out and the people were frantic. In hindsight, I probably should've had them come to me, but it was simply the excitement the city hadn't felt in years that fueled me.
That night I saw over 95 volunteers, some new, some young, some veterans and leaders in their own right. If that’s where the experience ended, it would have been enough.
But it didn’t.
The next morning was even sweeter. The day began.
The registration lines were active. The bazaar was buzzing. The halls were packed. The food was warm. Volunteers were in place. The Quran session began.
Speaker after speaker, gem after gem, I couldn’t decide which lecture was my favourite. From Dr. Reda Bedeir to Shaykh Waleed Basyouni to Shaykh Muhammad Alshareef, it was all cutting edge material and points that hit home for the youth and the parents in the hall.
Throughout the day, we welcomed over 2,000 attendees – students, families, community leaders, Imams, local businesses – it was as if everyone in the city was there.
Despite the exhaustion and workload, if you had asked each and every one of us to do it all over again the next day, we would have without a shadow of a doubt. If you had asked each and every one of the 2000 attendees whether they would come back tomorrow, they would’ve said absolutely hands down.
It only took a day to bring thousands of Muslims together, enlighten the minds, and inspire the young. And now that day is back.
In a rare occurrence, IlmFest 2012 returns to Ottawa, back by popular demand. But this time we’re shattering our own record with an anticipated 3000 attendees in Ottawa’s brand new convention centre: The CE Centre, Ottawa South. On May 21, 2012, IlmFest promises even sweeter memories and juicier programs than ever before.
IlmFest tickets are hot off the press, the mix of Canadian and International speakers are gearing up their hot topics, and I’m getting my ticket in a flash before they run out… and so should you. Visit: www.OttawaMuslimConference.com ■