Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the IIS, and Mr Alnoor Merchant, IIS’ Senior Librarian and Keeper of the Ismaili Collections, talked about Spirit & Life, a new exhibition of rare Islamic art and manuscripts from the future Aga Khan Museum Collection, to the British media. The exhibition, which includes many items never before displayed in the UK, opened on 14 July at the Ismaili Centre in London, and will run until 31 August 2007.
Wendy Robinson, a Research Assistant at IIS’ Department of Academic Research and Publications (DARP), gave a presentation at the MELCOM International (Middle East Libraries Committee) conference in Sarajevo last month on the forthcoming publication of Encyclopaedia Islamica. Ms Robinson gave the talk to the conference of librarians working in the field of Middle Eastern studies at their annual meeting, held for the first time in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
This year, the Institute accepted 12 new students into its Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH). During their first two years, students will be resident at the IIS where they will study the faith, culture, language and thought of Muslim societies. In their third year, they will pursue a Masters degree at an institution of higher education.
The Central Asian Studies project of the IIS facilitated a one month research course for local scholars in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in July 2005 on Qualitative Research Methods and Interpretative Perspectives. This course was the first of its kind in Tajikistan, with the primary aim of enhancing the research skills of scholars in the region, to enable them to produce high-quality and reflexive research.
Rahim S. Rajan, an alumnus of The Institute of Ismaili Studies’ Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities, gave a detailed overview and demonstration of the Aluka initiative on 6th June to IIS faculty, staff and students.
Dr Farhad Daftary’s The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines has just been published in a Turkish translation by Erdal Toprak, Ismaililer: tarihleri ve öğretileri. First published in English in 1990, this authoritative and groundbreaking work brought together the scattered findings of modern scholarship and extensive primary and secondary source materials on the Ismailis in one comprehensive volume...
Professor Abbas Hamdani of Milwaukee (USA) gifted a collection of rare and important manuscripts to The Institute of Ismaili Studies. The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection of Ismaili and other manuscripts, in the Hamdani family for several generations, is well-known among scholars in the field of Shi‘i and Ismaili studies.
Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the IIS, gave a paper to the Parma Symposium (15-17 May, 2007), tracing the historical framework of exchange and dialogue among institutions of learning during the medieval period. This Symposium, entitled "Islam e Occidente: Dialogo Tra Culture" (Islam and the West: An Intercultural Dialogue), included presentations from representatives of many distinguished institutions.
Alumni from across North America and from across Europe came together for the first meetings of the North American and European Chapter Groups of the IIS Alumni Association. The meetings were held in Houston, USA, on 22nd October and in London, England on 12th November. Members of the Institute’s senior management and leaders from the Ismaili community institutions in the USA and Europe were also in attendance.
From 23rd-26th June, thirty-one IIS alumni from ten countries traveled to Lisbon, Portugal to participate in academic seminar on Trends in Contemporary Muslim Thought. This seminar is part of an ongoing initiative by the Institute to provide continuing education opportunities for its graduates.
Professor Wilferd Madelung, Senior Research Fellow at the IIS, was awarded the Eighteenth Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award at the University of California, Los Angeles on May 10, 2007. The award honours his life-long commitment to scholarship, education and professional service in the field of Islamic Studies.
On May 9th, twenty students in Damascus, Syria began an intensive nine-month programme, a collaborative endeavour between The Institute of Ismaili Studies and the local Ismaili community institutions. The Syrian Preparatory Programme was established for the purpose of developing human resource capacity in Syria. The programme is being conducted by the British Council, which is implementing a curriculum devised by the Department of Graduate Studies.
The result of more than three decades of research, Dr Daftary's Ismaili Literature: A Bibliography of Sources and Studies is a new IIS publication which takes stock of the progress in Ismaili studies, from pre-modern and early modern times until today. It provides an essential reference tool for students and scholars of Ismaili and Islamic studies.
Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the IIS, delivered a talk, entitled Combating Religious Intolerance: A Perspective From Muslim Contexts, to the World Affairs Group of the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution (BRLSI) on 19th March 2007. He cited examples of tolerance and intolerance from different religious traditions, both historical and in the present-day context.
Dr. Farhad Daftary, Associate Director and Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications at the IIS, was recently in Mumbai, India, for the launch of the Gujarati translation of his book A Short History of the Ismailis. The translation, titled, Ismailio-no Tunk Ittihaas, was done by Jehangir Alibhai Merchant and Sultanali Muhammad, and published by N.M. Thakkar Publishers, Mumbai.
Professor Carmela Baffioni presented a lecture on Prophecy, Imamate and Sapiential Rule in the Ikhwan al-Safa' at the Institute on February 23rd. As part of its programmatic endeavours, the Institute sponsors seminars, conferences and public lectures that examine various facets of Islamic studies and themes of relevance to contemporary Muslim societies.