Alumni from across Europe met in Istanbul for their annual meeting on 7-10 December 2012. The meeting brought together 19 alumni to explore “Ethics in the Modern World”.
Speakers at the meeting included Dr Hadi Adanali (Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey), Prof Ihsan Fazlioglu (Istanbul Medeniyet University), Dr Laljuba Mirzohasanov (Khorog State University), and Mrs Zahide Ay (PhD student in Konya Necmettin Erbakan University). Ula Zeir, Laila Kadiwal and Mehmonsho Sharipov, IIS alumni from Europe who are currently pursuing their PhDs, also presented to the audience on subjects related to the main theme.
The meeting began with an address from the European Chapter Group (ECG) President, Dr. Otambek Mastibekov, who said: “The choice of Istanbul for this meeting, or rather for this particular topic of Ethics in the Modern World, has a good reason. I believe that there is no unique universal norm for ethics applicable to the modern world. So, what is needed is to build bridges of understanding between different civilisations. That is why we have decided to bring the ECG to Turkey, which is at the crossroads of multiple civilisations.”
Dr Hadi Adanali spoke on “Science and Sensibility: How to secure ethical responsibility in a modern world”. He explored the scientific development of the modern world on the one hand and the challenges of the sensibility of ethical norms and various cultural values on the other. At the end of the second day, Dr Adanali also talked about the role of ethical values in state policy of Turkey.
Professor Ihsan Fazlioglu spoke about the substantiation of ethical values in a modern world. His presentation, titled "Both Real and Mental: Substantiation of Ethical Values in a Modern World - Implementation of Nafs al-Amr Theory to the Ethics", looked at the work of Muslim and non-Mulsim philosophers, from modern to classical. Beginning with Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle up to medieval Muslim philosophers such as Avicenna and Farabi, Prof. Fazlioglu explored the notion of the Nafs al-Amr from a theoretical perspective within the context of human ethics.
Dr Laljuba Mirzohasanov and Mrs Zahide Ay talked about the role of ethics in Persian Literature and the Turkish academic approach to the study of Islam, respectively.
Dr. Mirzohasanov highlighted the role and the impact of Persian poetry on human ethics in general and on Muslim society in particular. He began his presentation with the recitation of his own poem that was devoted to Jalal al-Din Rumi.
Mrs. Zahide Ay highlighted that there has not been much research on the Ismailis by Turkish scholars until very recently. However, for the last few decades, numerous scholars, including herself, are beginning to work on Ismaili history as well as their doctrine and philosophy.
The first day included presentations from Laila Kadiwal (GPISH 2009) and Ula Zeir (GPISH 2009), who spoke on “Conducting ethnography of the contemporary ‘Ismailis’: Ethical dilemmas and solutions” and on “Moral values in the Qur’an”, respectively. On the second day, Mehmonsho Sharifov (IIS alum from the class of 2003) presented on “The Problems with Traditional Self-World-Truth Constitutive Experiences and Contemporary Philosophy (A Defense of Phenomenology in Tajiki Context)”.
Programme participants also explored the rich cultural heritage of Istanbul, visiting many of the key landmarks in Istanbul including the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia. Alumni chapter group member Ula Zeir remarked, “Istanbul is an imperial city which takes you through history; from the glory of the Byzantine to that of the Ottoman Empire; all of which was represented in the astonishing architectural sites we visited.”
Commenting on the importance of the annual chapter group meetings, Nibras Aldibbiat, secretary of the European Chapter Group said: “The Alumni meetings offer us the opportunity to discuss and debate academic issues and topics related to the Muslim world. They also allow participants to share knowledge and network with their peers.”
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