SPEAKER PROFILES

Ayesha Ahmad

Ayesha Ahmad  is fulfilling her aspiration to serve the Muslim community by volunteering with the Islamophobia Register Australia and Islamic Special Religious Education. Having completed the Clinical Pastoral Education in Islamic Chaplaincy accreditation with ISRA, Islamic studies at Daar Aisha College and facilitating the training of teachers at ISRE, Ayesha is well on her way to achieving her love for lifelong learning and bring about a positive contribution to the reputation of Islam. 

Ayesha has lived in Sydney, Australia for over 45 years and is instilled with strong values of family and community. She has completed her studies, established a career, married, had children and has recently become a grandmother. 


Makiz Ansari

Since 2012 Makiz has been teaching Religion & Values and Studies of Religion in Amity College and has been actively involved in the educational and well being of youth . 

 She also runs courses in Islam for diverse audiences, the community and ISRA, teaching Theology of Quran courses since 2014. She is in process of completing her Masters of Islamic Studies Degree with CSU.

Makiz graduated with Political Economy and Government & International Studies from University of Sydney and had initially been a Research Assistant in Political Economy at Sydney University. She then went on to complete her teaching degree and has taught economics and social sciences in high schools but her further studies and social activism took her passion towards religion and theology. Makiz has been active in inter-faith and intercultural dialogue activities since 2003.


Calisha Bennett

Calisha Bennett has over twelve years of experience as an active community leader, speaker, teacher and mentor of Muslim women and youth. She is backed by academic, religious and personal studies in the areas of youth work, education, leadership, Islamic Shariah, Quran, Tajweed and specialises in Islamic identity coaching and personal development.

Calisha has taught and spoken for countless audiences in Muslim and non-Muslim communities. She is passionate about the future of Muslim communities and helping to strengthen the faith and Islamic identities of Muslim women and youth worldwide. 


Deniz Dagli

Deniz Dagli is a registered psychologist, currently completing her Master of Clinical Psychology. She has been providing psychological services and support to children, adolescents, adults and families for 10 years. She has helped many individuals, couples and families that come with a range of issues such as relationship conflict, stress, depression, anxiety, workplace challenges, complex trauma, psychosis, grief and loss, PTSD and bipolar disorder.She is passionate about serving the Muslim community and has been actively involved in various community activities such as interfaith dialogue, psycho education and leadership programs to adolescent in schools and workshops. Deniz believes in the resilience of the human soul and our innate drive towards healing and content.  She sees that life’s challenges, even in distress, are chances to change, grow and move forward. Deniz is a mother of two young boys. She has a special interest in family based therapy and supporting couples in their relationship and parenting difficulties.


Heather Fagan 

Heather has been Muslim since 2009, during which time she has completed a Masters of Islamic Studies with Charles Sturt University where she is currently enrolled in the Masters of Classical Arabic.

Heather has been volunteering and working with ISRA since 2009, where she has undertaken many roles, including Principal of Youth College, Studies of Religion Coordinator, First Year Academic Mentor and New Muslim Coordinator. Heather has taught numerous community courses on Islam and is a guest speaker on Islam in schools and community organisations across the state.



Leila Khaled 

Leila is currently a PhD candidate at Charles Sturt University's Centre of Islamic Sciences and Civilisation.  She was awarded a commonwealth RTP scholarship to research the effects of Islamic education on Muslim students in public high schools.Leila graduated with distinction in the Master of Islamic Studies. Her dissertation  was on religious freedom for Muslim minorities in Australia.She also successfully completed the Daar Aisha Sharia; as well as degrees in both Commerce (Management), and Teaching (Secondary). Leila has been learning and teaching Islam in various settings for over 25 years. She aspires to use her knowledge and experience for community service.




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