Mirza Harris Ahmad, Secretary Waqf-e-Nau USA
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA held its first-ever career expo on 28 January 2023, at the Masroor Mosque in South Virginia. The expo featured a robust 34 sessions in which various careers were presented based on the guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
The expo commenced with the recitation from the Holy Quran at 10am EST, followed by a welcome address by myself, and welcome remarks by the local president of South Virginia, Tanveer Zafar Sahib, and missionary Syed Shamshad Ahmad Nasir Sahib, who led the attendees in silent prayer after his opening remarks. Afterwards, Assistant Secretary Waqf-e-Nau, Zeeshan Ahmad Sahib, shared the outline of the programme for the remainder of the day.
The career expo was a unique event in its own way where four simultaneous career sessions were being presented. This allowed the participants to pick and choose which session they wanted to attend the most. The complexity of organising such an event required months of preparation, software selection, and building an interactive website and an event portal to allow it to take place.
As noted above, in each 30-minute segment, four different career paths were presented simultaneously, with time reserved for questions and answers. 23 distinct career tracks were discussed by over 45 experts with a focus on how waqifeen-e-nau may serve Jamaat and humanity through each discipline.
The purpose of the expo was not to share how the members of Waqf-e-Nau can earn money by picking a certain career, but the key focus was to introduce careers that a waqif-e-zindagi (life devotee) can pursue as a full-time waqf.
The expo was designed for waqf-e-nau boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 24, however, the department decided to open up the expo to other members of the same age groups as well, allowing them to learn about various ways they can assist Jamaat.
The expo covered various career paths such as, getting ready for Jamia and serving as a missionary, civil servant, teacher, serving in MTA USA as a waqif-e-zindagi, journalist, doctor, linguist, nurse, research scientist, architect, web developer, lawyer, IT & software engineering, sustainable health care, engineer, academic, and pharmacist.
In between session breaks, social and networking hours were allocated, giving an ability for the presenters or sponsors to interact with the attendees. Online attendees interacted virtually, while in-person attendees exchanged ideas at 10 different booths set up by our partners and presenters. The MTA USA studio also organised a hands-on workshop, allowing attendees to use MTA equipment and learn about the behind-the-scenes efforts it takes to create an MTA programme.
A panel discussion was also held for all attendees before the closing session with waqifeen-e-nau who were serving Jamaat full-time. They shared their journey to becoming a waqif-e-zindagi, their current roles and responsibilities, their daily life, and how they reap the constant blessings of being a waqif-e-zindagi.
Congregational salat and meals were offered during the breaks and after the closing session.
The closing session started at 5pm EST with the recitation from the Holy Quran, followed by a summary of the expo presented by my humble self. The expo closed with remarks and dua led by Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA, Sahibzada Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib. He reminded all that the ultimate goal of being a member of Waqf-e-Nau is to fulfil their pledge and offer their services to the Jamaat as a full-time waqif-e-zindagi.
The career expo had amassed a total attendance of 753, with 583 joining online while close to 170 participants and volunteers attended in-person at the Masroor Mosque.