Dr. M. Imad Damaj honored as Humanitarian

M. Imad Damaj, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, receives 2013 Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

dr imad damajSince 1963, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has presented Humanitarian Awards annually to one or more persons.  The Humanitarian Awards Dinners honor individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.  On occasion, local corporations or organizations are also recognized with the Distinguished Merit Citation Award for their efforts in making Virginia’s communities more inclusive.

Dr. Imad Damaj is a visionary leader who understands that an increasing religious diversity presents communities and the nation with a choice: bridges or barriers. “We have a new reality, and we either have to choose between being an inclusive, open place to all, or to continue in the lines of divisions and anxieties and intolerance and bring the worst out in us. And I think this diversity we have is going to bring out the best in us.” Damaj’s leadership in the interfaith movement in Richmond is shaped by this view. His role as president and founder of the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs, involvement in multiple interfaith and community organizations across the Greater Richmond area, and a key leader in both the Muslim community and a range of civic organizations, place Damaj at the center of Richmond’s interfaith scene.