Step into the world of Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST), an ingenious non-profit initiative igniting the passion of high school students across the U.S. and Canada. With its roots tracing back to 2002, MIST has been a dynamic presence in gathering North America’s top students for over two decades. Other than competitions, MIST goes beyond the surface, fostering collaboration, creativity, and professional insights while offering an enriching exploration of Islam and Muslim culture. Although designed for Muslim high school students, participation is open to all.
Duke University played host to MIST 2023, marking the largest national tournament in its history. Over 700 aspiring high school participants from across North America gathered on our campus. The cohort of top-tier students compete in 39 diverse categories ranging from basketball and debate to art, film, math, and Quranic recitation. The competition is rigorous but exhilarating as MIST brings together the best young writers, scientists, mathematicians, athletes, public speakers and thinkers! This year’s tournament had an energy that was palpable as participants also had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Duke’s atmosphere, with some even taking official campus tours guided by the Admissions Office.
Joining forces, MIST, the Center for Muslim Life, and the Duke Muslim Student Association (MSA) orchestrated Friday prayer services, drawing over 300 attendees to Penn Pavilion. Guided by Yusuf Zayan (T’25) and Rakan DiarBakerli from Nasher Museum of Art, these joint Jumu’ah prayers demonstrated unity and reverence.
At its core, MIST envisions a vibrant community founded on creativity, knowledge sharing, and mutual respect. By embracing diverse talents and nurturing interdisciplinary academic rivalry, MIST cultivates not only personal growth but also a strong sense of Muslim identity. This approach seamlessly aligns with the ethos of diversity-driven excellence championed by both the Center for Muslim Life and Duke University. MIST’s influence doesn’t end with the tournament; it nurtures a reservoir of Muslim talent, inspiring achievement that extends into higher education.
As we consider the larger canvas, the next 25 years project Muslims as the world’s largest faith group and the second-largest in the U.S. This vibrant community thrives on diversity, boasting a mosaic of racial and ethnic backgrounds, as highlighted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
Duke recognized these shifting dynamics early on, appointing its first full-time Muslim chaplain in 2008—making it one of the pioneering American universities in this respect. Today, a network of Muslim staff spans higher education institutions, with the Center for Muslim Life at Duke positioned at the forefront. MIST, a nationally acclaimed endeavor, not only amplifies this leadership but positions Duke as a nurturing haven for Muslim students, embodying its commitment to excellence through diversity.