Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barkatuh

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful and all praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Prophet Mohamed, his family and his Companions. On behalf of the United Muslims Organizations of Ottawa – Gatineau (UMO - OG), I am honored and delighted to welcome you all to the 7th Annual I.LEAD Islamic Conference.

I.LEAD stands for Islam, Learn, Engage, Achieve and Develop. It’s main objective is to engage, empower and support the Muslim community, especially the youth, to work together and actively participate in building a vibrant community and a greater Canada while maintaining a Muslim Identity.

The I.LEAD conference is the largest Islamic conference in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Every year, we are joined by thousands of attendees for a full day of learning, spiritual development and personal growth. I.LEAD embodies what it means to instill the traits of leadership, passion and motivation in us all.

This year's theme, "The Art of Perseverance," is very relevant to us as human beings. Often times, going through hardships and tough circumstances can leave us unmotivated, frustrated, and overall unhappy. In many instances, the mountain of tasks and difficulties that pile up in front of us can discourage us from seeking our greater aims in life. Allah says in the Quran, "Seek help through patient perseverance and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with those who patiently persevere." (2:153) This verse reassures us that, in times of difficulty, Allah is with those who stay focused and persevere. And who better is there to have by our side than Allah? Maintaining perseverance in the face of difficulties will only earn us greater success in this life and in the hereafter. As the saying goes, "It's not how many times you get knocked down that count, it's how many times you get back up."

For this year's event, we have tried our best to bring you the most beneficial conference and theme by continuously improving ourselves. We have reached out to the youth in both high schools and universities and we have listened to your suggestions by modifying the program and adding more interactive sessions. We hope that you will find this year’s conference both valuable and enjoyable.

As our prophet (SAW) said, the one who does not thank the people does not thank Allah. I am grateful to the I.LEAD organizing committee members, the vice chairs and the numerous volunteers, without whose generous contributions this conference would not have been possible. Special thanks to our esteemed speakers, who are taking the time to travel from different cities in Canada and the USA to contribute to I.LEAD. I would also like thank the Presidents and Board Members of all the participating organizations and the Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau for their strong support of the I.LEAD conference. In addition, I would like to thank our many sponsors for their ongoing support of the I.LEAD conference. A special mention goes to our Executive sponsor ICNA Relief Canada for their generous contributions.

Most of all I thank you, the participants, for enriching this annual conference with your presence. As is a tradition with our ILEAD conferences, I hope you will enjoy the content, renew your faith, make new friends, get inspired and, above all, strive for excellence in all aspects of your lives.

Jazakum Allahu Khairan,
On Behalf of the The I.LEAD Conference 2019 Team
Yasser Hassan