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The Miller Bell Tower is an icon of the century-old Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York.

In their quest to broaden their relationships with religious communities, the prestigious Chautauqua Institution in New York state reached out to the Muslim community. With a mind to creating greater awareness about Islam and Muslim cultures, members of the Ismaili Muslim community responded, drawing in Muslim intellectuals to Chautauqua, who could share an understanding of Islam that is hard to find in mainstream media.

Dr Nooredin Nurani (at the far left) and his team of dedicated volunteers offer free dental treatment at an annual event in Atlanta.

Described as grassroots because they are led by concerned citizens rather than governments or established institutions, such community action initiatives can be a powerful means in addressing difficult issues. Some Ismailis are successfully using grassroots action to magnify the impact of their volunteer work.

The Ismaili volunteer team took charge of the Water Station at Mile 20, handing out hydration and plenty of encouragement to runners as they passed a critical junction along the course.

Thirty Ismaili volunteers extended a hand of friendship and support – and many bottles of water – to some 8 000 runners at the 2011 Brighton Marathon. The event was an opportunity to get involved and give back to the wider community.

Saloni Firasta-Vastani, Member of the Ismaili Council for the Southeastern United States, Imam Plemon El-Amin, and Priyanka Sinha, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Michael C. Carlos Museum gather with Dr. Hussein Rashid (second from the rig

Dr Hussein Rashid delivered a lecture titled Everyday Art: An Islamic Impact on American Art on 13 February 2011 at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. In the talk, Dr Rashid highlights Islamic influences on popular art in America – from architecture and popular media to poetry and writing – by the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his From Persian of Hafiz II, to Toni Morrison's portrayal of Muslim characters in her novel Beloved. The lecture followed two exhibitions on Islamic calligraphy at the museum.

Family Day activities at the Museum included hands-on activities like this Calligraphy Corner.

From 28 August to 5 December 2010, the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia became a hub of Islamic calligraphic exploration. The Museum presented two complementary exhibitions that explored calligraphy in an interactive context.

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