Arabic is a core subject in the first two years of the IIS Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies & Humanities. Students who come to the IIS are not presumed to have knowledge of Islamic Studies and Humanities and, as such, it has been important to develop a comprehensive and intensive Arabic Language programme, which can benefit students with varying abilities and backgrounds.
In addition to improving their language skills, students experienced first-hand the culture of the historic city of Cairo. One of the highlights of the trip was an educational walk through the city which was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid Imams. The walk began at the northern Fatimid gate, Bab al-Nasr, along the main artery of Fatimid Cairo (called to this day by the name of its founder, Imam al-Mu'izz li din Allah). The students visited various Fatimid mosques along this main artery and exited from the southern Fatimid gate, Bab al-Zuwayla. They also visited the site of the Azhar Park project being developed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Three students from the Class of 2002 also attended an intensive Arabic programme at the Yemen Language Center. Yahia Baiza, Nacim Pak and Rahim Gholami attended Arabic classes and were immersed in the culture and sights of Yemen. The students visited historical sites, such as Shibam, Kawkaban, Al-Ajer and Hajja, as well as visiting the National Museum.