On 29 October 2022, the IIS held a hybrid graduation ceremony for students of GPISH 2022 and STEP 2019 and 2021 at the Ismaili Centre, London. 

This was a milestone graduation as it celebrated the achievements of the first cohort of Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP) and Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) students to graduate with a master’s degree from SOAS. It was also the first in-person graduation since the pandemic.  

The event was an opportunity to celebrate the hard work, commitment and passion for learning demonstrated by the students. The well-attended ceremony was also live-streamed for graduands, family, friends and supporters unable to attend in person. 

The IIS’s three-year GPISH programme provides training in the intellectual tools of the humanities and social sciences. It acts as both preparation for a research degree and a stepping stone to a variety of career opportunities around the world. 

STEP takes exceptional graduates and works with them to develop their skills and shape them into teachers and mentors who can inspire and teach. STEP graduates embark on teaching roles in their home contexts following the completion of their programme at the IIS. 

Professor Denise Cush, Professor Emerita of Religion and Education at Bath Spa University—who became the first female professor of religion and education in England in 2003—gave the commenment address. Dr James Caron and Sophie Kerslake from SOAS and UCL respectively warmly congratulated students on their achievements.   

Although all students were recognised for their accomplishments, the ceremony also celebrated the outstanding performance of the following valedictorians on their respective programmes: 

  • GPISH 2022: Anika-Amin Kabani 
  • STEP 2019: Zulaira  
  • STEP 2021: Naveed Ullah Baig   

Anika also took the opportunity to remember her much-missed cohort mate Nabila Walji, who we lost earlier this year. Nabila’s parents collected her MA degree on her behalf, and guests had the opportunity to view her photographic exhibition displayed at the Ismaili Centre to commemorate her life and achievements.   

Reflecting on the life-changing journey and the challenges posed by the pandemic, Dr Halani (Head of Graduate Studies at the IIS) shared her aspirations for the graduants:

“I truly hope that this journey, with all its ups and downs, has made you better leaders, better educators, and better human beings who will give back manifold what you have received with responsibility and integrity.” 

We congratulate all the students and their families on their graduation and look forward to hearing more about the next steps in their careers. 

IIS Graduate Studies