|Asian Chapter Group meets in Dubai|
The Asian Chapter Group of the IIS Alumni Association held a three day Annual Meeting in Dubai over the weekend of 19th – 20th April 2008. The keynote speakers were Mr Shiraz Kabani, Head of Operations, Finance and Development at the IIS, and Rizwan Mawani, Research Co-ordinator in the Department of Community Relations at the Institute. Representatives of the Alumni Relations Unit of the IIS also attended the meeting.
27 Alumni from various parts of the world including, Bangladesh, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Kenya, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Tanzania gathered in Dubai to attend the second Annual Meeting.
The meeting was opened on Friday evening by the President of the Chapter Group, Rahmat Ghassmi (Class of 1983), who formally welcomed the Alumni and thanked them for their ongoing support and commitment to the alumni body. He went on to outline the objectives for the Meeting which included:
Mr. Ghassmi thanked all the alumni for their support and cooperation to him and the Secretary of the Chapter Group, Farzana Karim Haji (Class of 1997) over the past two years. He mentioned that, during last two years, the Asian Chapter Group had made progress in many areas and had been able to enhance a team spirit, friendship and collaboration amongst the alumni. He concluded by wishing the incoming office bearers success in their endeavours.
This was followed by a presentation by the Alumni Relations Unit (ARU), which updated the alumni on the work of the ARU and informed them about forthcoming events and plans.
The morning session on Saturday was led by Shiraz Kabani. His presentation entitled ‘IIS Priorities and the Role of the Alumni’ focussed on the future of the IIS and the various possibilities and opportunities for the alumni to get involved in the work of the IIS, AKDN and other Imamat institutions. The alumni were excited by the progress of the IIS and its future plans.
The Saturday afternoon session was led by Rizwan Mawani, who made presentations entitled ‘Muslim Diversity: Explorations in Ritual, Space and Piety’ and ‘Moving Beyond the Masjid’. Rizwan continued with his final session on ‘ Approaches to Ritual, Space and Ismaili Traditions’ on Sunday morning. Through his presentations he highlighted the diversity in the places of gathering and practice of faith amongst Muslims, including the Ismaili community. Rizwan’s sessions were extremely well received by the alumni, who were impressed by the depth of the research undertaken by him and the wealth of knowledge he was able to share with them.
The academic session was followed by an informal discussion session, where the Alumni voiced their appreciation for the ongoing support they had received from the IIS and indicated that the formation of the Alumni Chapter Groups and their annual meetings had provided a sense of comfort, feeling of affiliation with the IIS and pride in being part of its alumni network. They further provided feedback on the format, content and duration of the next annual meeting.
The meeting formally concluded with the nominees for the positions of President and Secretary addressing the alumni. The elections are currently being held online, and the results will be announced at the end of this month.
The final event for the 2008 Alumni Chapter Group Meeting was the guided tour of the newly opened Ismaili Centre in Dubai. It was a breathtaking experience for all the alumni present. One of the alumni stated: ‘ To me this was the jewel in the crown. And the guides were very knowledgeable and gave very useful information. It transported me to a completely different world: a world of harmony, peace and tranquillity. I did not feel like leaving the Centre.’ (Karim Ratansi, Class of 1983)
The social aspects of the meeting included a dinner on a Dhow (traditional boat) and a Desert Safari, which provided opportunities for social interaction amongst the alumni.