Over 120 guests, including faculty, staff and students of the Institute as well as its key supporters, commemorated the graduation of the Class of 2005 at a ceremony held at London’s Royal Geographic Society on November 27th, 2004. The students, who commenced the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities in September 2002, are now pursuing Masters Degrees at various UK universities.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies organised a series of events to commemorate the 1,000th birth anniversary of the poet, philosopher and traveller, Nasir Khusraw, in early September 2003. In addition to hosting a three-day international conference on Nasir Khusraw in Khorog, Tajikistan, the Institute also collaborated in the production of a play and concert, the hosting of an awards ceremony and the release of several publications in Tajik-Cyrillic.
A ‘Historical Atlas of Islam’ was published by Harvard University Press in May 2004. In this beautifully illustrated work, Dr. Malise Ruthven, in collaboration with the Institute’s Director, Professor Azim Nanji, has consolidated an eminently accessible account of various facets of Islam and Muslim societies.
The largest ever meeting of the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA) took place in Washington, DC from November 23-26, 2002. This year's conference attracted over 2,200 participants and provided a forum to share recent scholarship as well as showcase new art and cinema focusing on the Middle East and the Muslim world. "Identity and Community in Ismaili Societies" was the theme of the Institute's panel.
Muslim Ethics: Emerging Vistas by Amyn B. Sajoo is the third monograph in the Institute’s category of publications that explore specific aspects of Muslim faith and culture. The present work explores Muslim ethics in the contemporary context, investigating a wide range of themes.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Divinity Department of Eton College in Windsor, UK has invited an IIS scholar to address issues of Islam and the contemporary world. This year, Dr Nader El-Bizri spoke to 250 Lower Sixth Form (17-year-old) boys on the nature of Islam and the political world order.
The fourth in a series of collection catalogues published by the Library of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, Arabic Ismaili Manuscripts: The Zahid ‘Ali Collection by Delia Cortese, completes the cataloguing of the Library’s Arabic Ismaili corpus of 738 manuscripts acquired up to 1998. The latest catalogue is entirely devoted to the body of manuscripts which formerly belonged to the Musta‘li Ismaili scholar, the late Dr Zahid ‘Ali(1888-1958), and was donated to the IIS by the ‘Ali family in 1997.
The Institute’s latest publication, Culture and Memory in Medieval Islam, edited by Farhad Daftary and Josef W. Meri, is a festschrift honouring the contributions of Wilferd Madelung, Laudian Professor of Arabic (Emeritus) at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow at The Institute of Ismaili Studies. The collection of articles, written by 19 of Professor Madelung’s colleagues, friends and students has been published to coincide with Professor Madelung’s 75th birthday.
The three-day international colloquium, “Word of God, Art of Man: The Qur’an and its Creative Expressions”,was launched on October 18, 2003 with an evening reception and plenary lecture by Gulru Necipoglu, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at MIT. The formal preceedings, beginning with an address by His Highness the Aga Khan on October 19, was followed by the Opening Lecture by renowned Art Historian, Oleg Grabar.
Following the success of the Institute’s first film festival in the summer of 2002 , the IIS launched a follow-up series of screenings exploring representations of Islam, and religion more generally, in contemporary cinema. This year’s festival, showcasing six films, continues to explore the interplay of perceived tensions, negotiations and representations of Islam, both as a cultural and religious system, as it manifests itself in various cultures, societies and narratives.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies, in collaboration with Emory University, conducted its first residential Summer Programme on Islam for university students from July 21-August 3, 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Thirty-two students from across North America participated in the intensive two-week residential course.
More than 3,000 participants and approximately 1,000 scholars from around the world gathered in Moscow for the 37th Congress of the International Congress of Asian and North African Studies (ICANAS), held on 16-21 August 2004, under the aegis of the Institute of Oriental Studies (IOS) of Russian Academy of Sciences, headed by Professor Rybakov Rostislav Borisovich. During the opening of the Congress greetings and messages were received from the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and His Highness the Aga Khan along with a number of other heads of states and world leaders.
Speaking about the Qur’an’s vision of an inclusive and embracing pluralism, Reza Shah-Kazemi, Research Associate at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, has been delivering a series of keynote lectures at important research centres in Lahore, Kuala Lampur and Amman. The tour is sponsored by Jordan’s Aal al-Bayt Foundation.
A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics by Dr Aziz Esmail is the first publication on the Ginans to be issued through the Institute. The Ginans are a corpus of religious hymns which have been, and continue to be, a central part of the religious life of the Indian Nizari Ismaili community.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies has embarked on an ambitious project to publish a complete critical edition and annotated English translation of the Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). Scheduled to begin publishing in 2006, the series will provide the first comprehensive study in English of the 9th/10th century corpus and its authors.
Speaking at the recent ‘Diversity in Islam: Bridging the Gaps’ Conference held at Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, Professor Azim Nanji, Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, presented his thoughts on ‘Muslim Civilisations: The Challenges and Opportunities in the Postmodern Era.’ The one-day conference, sponsored by Women Engaging in Bridge Building (WEBB), aimed to build an understanding of the legitimacy and value of diversity and human pluralism in Muslim societies.
Exploring an Islamic Empire: Fatimid History and its Sources is the latest publication in the Institute's Ismaili Heritage Series. In the work, Paul E. Walker surveys the shape and content of the dynasty's history and examines the sources used to reconstruct and analyse that history.
The IIS is pleased to announce its most recent publication: The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought by Professor Mohammed Arkoun. Formally launched on March 25th at the Ismaili Centre, London, and published in association with Saqi Books, the book makes available for the first time in English, the breadth and depth of the author’s work, updated to reflect the changing Muslim landscape over the past decade