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.
“Civil Society in Comparative Muslim Contexts”, a new seminar series organised and hosted by the Institute of Ismaili Studies, will engage leading scholars in a consideration of civil society, both in principle and in practice, from Iran, Central Asia, and the Maghreb to Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The seminars will address the interplay of ethics, law and culture in Muslim contexts and the range of broad issues related to civil society, and will culminate in a volume of essays to be published by the Institute.
Project Tajikistan of the Institute of Ismaili Studies has released Expressions of the Pamir: Music and Song, a double multimedia companion CD to the Expressions of the Pamir: Culture and Heritage of the Ismailis of Tajikistan programme, which toured 12 North American cities in 1999. The CDs contain 25 tracks, including a 13 minute extract of a soon-to-be-released video documentary.
One of the important components of study for students of the Institute's Graduate Programme is a foundation in Classical Arabic to be able to study the Holy Qur’an and other historical texts. This year an intensive Arabic summer programme was developed to offer IIS students an opportunity to improve their competence in the Arabic language as well as to study classical Arabic texts, and to learn about the culture and traditions of the Fatimids in Cairo.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies is participating in the 34th Annual Meeting of the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA), one of the world's leading academic organizations promoting research on the Middle East and the Muslim world. This year's annual meeting, held from November 16 - 19, 2000 in Orlando, Florida, expects to draw more than 1,500 participants.