Grand opening of The CELL’s Inaugural Exhibit

The grand opening of The CELL’s inaugural exhibit in mid-February attracted a large and diverse crowd in Denver that reflected the importance and timeliness of the subject — educating citizens about terrorism.

Sen. Michael Bennet, who succeeded Sen. Ken Salazar, greets Zainab al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Congress who spoke at the event. Seated are Carol Mizel and Sen. Chris Dodd.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

The Center for Empowered Living & Learning (The CELL) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution dedicated to doing just that, and its interactive exhibit, Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism, provides an in-depth look at the topic.

The opening, held at the Denver Art Museum across from the exhibit which is located within the Denver Civic Center Cultural Complex, was co-hosted by its founders, Larry and Carol Mizel and Courtney Green, as well as Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

The evening included guided exhibit tours and keynote presentations by Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Colorado’s newest Senator, Michael Bennet. Zainab al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Congress — a non-profit established in the wake of the September 11 attacks to build interfaith understanding and mobilize a moderate voice in the American Muslim community — also spoke to guests, including elected officials from both parties and movers and shakers in the arts, religion, business and education communities.

Al-Suwaij’s personal mission is to promote a positive Muslim-American voice that strengthens interfaith relations. She has testified to the Senate, briefed the President and Secretary of State, and works with Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle.

Zainab al-Suwaij poses with Elizabeth Alderman, whose son died on Sept. 11 in the World Trade Center attacks.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Sen. Dodd, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, cited the importance of The CELL in educating people about the perils of international terrorism. During the Democratic National Convention in Denver last summer, several other Senators and dignitaries toured the exhibit and also spoke about its impact. The exhibit offers a one-of-a-kind dynamic interactive experience, using state-of-the-art multimedia tools to educate visitors. The content was developed by world-renowned experts in the fields of terrorism, counterinsurgency and public safety. The CELL?is a subsidairy of The Mizel Museum.

“The CELL provides a comprehensive look at the threat of terrorism and engages visitors in educational programs and exhibits that help us probe our assumptions and explore our own beliefs and experiences,” said Mayor Hickenlooper.

“When people understand the facts about terrorism, they can take steps to educate others, leading to a better-informed community that is not only equipped to evaluate what they learn in the news media, but also prepared to respond adequately should another terrorist attack occur,” explained Melanie Pearlman, The CELL’s executive director.

The horrendous costs of terrorism to families, and society in general, was hammered home this evening with the appearance of Elizabeth and Dr. Stephen Alderman. The New York couple lost their youngest child, Peter, in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.