Once again, this year’s International Summer Programme which took place from 18-29 July 2011 in London, attracted participants from around the world including from Canada, Hungary, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Tajikistan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Offered jointly by the Aga University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) and Simon Fraser University’s Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures (CCSMSC) the Summer Programme serves as an ideal learning opportunity for those seeking a comprehensive introduction to Muslim cultures and a better understanding of contemporary challenges, particularly those of relevance to Muslim societies. An underlying principle of the Programme is that education about cultures is a necessary precursor to the enhancement of intercultural dialogue.
This year’s courses included lectures on sufism, the Prophet, Muslims in the West, science, music, contemporary challenges and related topics that explore the various facets of the histories and cultures of Muslims. Classroom sessions were supplemented by a series of co-curricular activities (i.e. neighbourhood walk, museum visit, film show and dinner) to provide a rich, vibrant and multicultural experience.
Statements from 2011 participants:
‘The 2011 Summer Programme gave me a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which Muslims interpret and express their faith. It was particularly interesting to investigate the ways that Muslim communities in different contexts are negotiating their responses to 'modernity'. The course answered questions, but raised many more, giving me a starting point for future investigation and thought.’ (Alexandra Holland, United Kingdom, based in Mombasa, Kenya)
‘The International Summer Programme provided the participants a comprehensive study opportunity about Muslim civilizations and cultures. The content of the course was very rich and diverse in nature. ... speakers were highly learned and equipped with the skills to transfer their knowledge. The lectures and discussions broadened my vision of understanding Islam and Muslims and the difference between the two. I got a deeper understanding and insight about diverse Muslim cultures and societies across the globe.’ (Syed Akbar Ali, Pakistan)
‘The summer program of ISMC is an excellent approach to understand the diversity that exists within Islam. The expert team of faculty and a diverse group of participants ensures that the learning is not just bookish but something that one can understand and easily relate with.’ (Moaiz Gilani, India)