After four decades at the IIS, educationist and academic Dr Shiraz Thobani retired as Head of the Department of Curriculum Studies in December 2022.

Joining the IIS in 1983, Dr Thobani has contributed to the development of the Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary curriculum for the global Ismaili community.

During his tenure at the IIS, he worked closely with educators at the Institute and in the Ismaili community to develop pioneering approaches to the curriculum, which prepares young Ismailis for the challenges they face today and helps them take their place as active citizens in a pluralistic world. The curriculum materials are now being used in over 25 countries and are available in ten languages. They are currently being converted into a digital format.

Complementing this has been Dr Thobani’s input into projects and publications on cultural, humanistic and civilisational approaches to the curriculum linked to the AKDN and other international institutions. He has published widely on Muslim education, including Islam in the School Curriculum: Symbolic Pedagogy and Cultural Claims (Continuum, 2010; author) and Narrating Islam: Interpretations of the Muslim World in European Texts (I.B. Tauris, 2010; co-editor).

In a speech at his retirement event at the end of December, Dr Thobani reflected on his time at the IIS and the remarkable growth and intellectual development of the Institute he has witnessed over the years. Although stressing the impossibility of thanking each one of the many people who have supported the curriculum project during this time, Dr Thobani took the opportunity to pay gratitude to IIS Director Emeritus Dr Farhad Daftary, past and present governors, IIS department heads and staff, and “last but not least”, his team for their contributions to the curriculum. On the latter, he said “Without them, we would not have been able to achieve anything.”

Alnoor Nathani, Design and Production Manager within the Department of Curriculum Studies, addressing Dr Thobani, said “You have inspired a spirit of working as a team and encouraged an ethos focused on quality, attention to detail and providing the opportunity to explore new ideas. We have appreciated your depth of knowledge, your wisdom and your clever sense of humour.”

Paying tribute to Dr Thobani and his 39 years of dedicated service on behalf of herself and the Board of Governors, on which she serves, Nadia Eboo Jamal said “His work, his enormous contribution to this curriculum will have and has had an impact on generations of youth and children and, of course, even adults in our community, and will continue to have that for generations to come.”

We congratulate Dr Thobani on his retirement and thank him for his invaluable contributions to both the IIS and the global Ismaili community.