The twelve students, who embarked on their studies at the Institute in August 2005, completed their Masters Degrees in a wide variety of fields at universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics and Political Science, University College London and University of Columbia.
Dr Alnoor Dhanani, Head of the Department of Graduate Studies, welcomed the gathering. Speaking about the aims of the programme and the aspirations of the IIS, he drew an analogy with the Fatimid period of Ismaili history. The aim of the IIS, like the aspirations of the Fatimids, is “purposive, for the sake of constructing and engaging in a distinctive vision of Islam – a vision that contributes [in the case of the IIS] in a practical and intellectual manner to the ‘problem of Islam and modernity’”.
Professor Paul Webley, the Director of SOAS, delivered the commencement address in which he commended the interdisciplinary nature of IIS’ Graduate Programme. He also noted the long association between the IIS and SOAS. The IIS counts SOAS lecturers among its key visiting faculty and SOAS regularly admits GPISH students to its Masters programmes. Ambreen Saleh, who gave the Vote of Thanks, also graduated from SOAS.
The valedictorian, Sabrina A. Bandali, reflected on the journey – physical, spiritual and intellectual - that the class covered during their two years at the IIS – a place that became their home where joys, challenges and dreams were shared. The graduates were presented with certificates by Dr Farhad Daftary, Acting Director of the IIS, and Professor Paul Webley.
The Course Director for GPISH, Dr Laila Halani, reflected on the graduation ceremony as a rite of passage marking the end of one journey and heralding the start of another, an exciting and challenging journey. She hoped that in this new journey the intellectual tools gained during the programme would enable the graduates to engage with the issues and concerns that affect Muslim societies around the world. Shah Hussain, the President of the European Chapter Group of the IIS Alumni Association, welcomed the graduating class as fresh alumni.