International Training Programme
The Department of Community Relations (DCR) at The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) announced the launch of its first integrated training initiative of the International Waezeen Training Programme (IWTP) and the Professional Teacher Educators’ Programme (PTEP). The integrated programme – now known as The International Training Programme (ITP) – is guided by the needs indicated by ITREBs. This episodic training programme, in partnership with the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), follows a blended learning model consisting of distance learning, fieldwork, research, and residential components consisting of two episodes of 21 days each to be held in Dubai, UAE, in December 2013 and August/September 2014.
The Programme is aimed at developing high calibre waezeen and teacher educators through a hybrid model of traditional lecture format with an integrated multidisciplinary approach to learning using relevant case-studies. The proposed content areas and intellectual perspectives to be taught in the ITP are as follows:
- Situating devotional, ritual, literary, and intellectual traditions in their own cultural context and rooting them in the principles (including Imamat as a principle and the murid-murshid relationship; inseparability between din and dunya; affirming the values of pluralism and common humanity; role of intellect in faith; personal search for enlightenment; zahir and batin, khidmat) of the Shi‘a Ismaili tariqah shared by Jamats across the globe.
- Knowledge and perspectives that enable the learners to articulate and dialogue with confidence on principles of the Shi‘a Ismaili tariqah to other Muslim communities, affirming common beliefs (e.g., tawhid and nubuwwah) scriptural sources (e.g., the Qur’an) and ethical ideals shared by all Muslims, and which cut across and unite different communities of interpretation in the Ummah.
- Principles of common humanity and shared spiritual heritage enabling the learners to respect, dialogue and engage with people of diverse religious and secular traditions for the purpose of drawing inspiration and creating better mutual understanding.
- The centrality of the Imam’s authority and of the bond between each murid and Hazar Imam for guiding personal, intellectual, spiritual search and wellbeing of the Jamat and informing the ethos and practices of the Ismaili tariqah in relation to other interpretations of Islam.
- The contemporary institutional work of the Imamat which is dedicated to realising the social conscience of Islam through institutional action for addressing challenges confronting Muslim societies and humanity at large, such as (a) sustainable economic development; creating enabling environments; (b) effective political governance; strengthening civil society institutions.
- Understanding socio-cultural, political and economic factors that enhance or inhibit sense of communal solidarity and the responsibility of each murid’s contribution to the wellbeing of members of the community.
- Developing an appreciation for the diversity of intellectual, political and artistic expressions that reflected and shaped Muslim cultures and civilisations, the ways in which they have influenced the course of world history and the significance of this heritage for contemporary societies.
- Interdisciplinary exploration of the challenges of contemporary life: erosion of values, materialism, consumerism, breakdown of the traditional family, self-centeredness, homogenisation of culture, ethical dilemmas of new technologies, environmental degradation, dominance of technology (alienating effects) , crisis of political governance, religious extremism, and widening socio-economic disparities.