Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary
On the authority of the Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the Board of Trustees of Aga Khan University, I am pleased to announce the conferment of the title of Professor Emeritus on Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary. Abdou Filali-Ansary is a distinguished philosopher and writer who was instrumental in the establishment of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, and who led it throughout its formative years.
Professor Filali-Ansary was educated in Morocco and France, and received his doctorate from the University of Dijon in 1970 for a thesis on Spinoza and Bergson. He was a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at Boston University in 1979-80. In Morocco, he taught at Mohammad the Fifth University in Rabat, where he was Secretary-General from 1981-1984 and was then until 2001 the Founding Director of the King Abdul Aziz Foundation, also in Rabat. Professor Filali-Ansary’s publications in Arabic, French and English have contributed greatly to our understanding of the place of Islam in the contemporary world. In 1973 he initiated Prologues, a bilingual Arabic-French journal devoted to promoting intellectual exchange between scholars in the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Professor Filali-Ansary is recognised internationally for his work, and has participated in many international conferences. In 2012-13 he was Humanitas Visiting Professor in Interfaith Studies at the University of Oxford’s Research Centre in the Humanities.
In 1998 he was asked to chair the task force that created the blueprint for the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations that had first been envisioned in the Chancellor’s Commission report of 1994. This report laid out very clearly the mandate of the institute to be a place of intellectual exchange and inquiry. He was then invited to be the founding Director of the Institute when it opened in 2002, a position he held until 2009. As Director he recruited outstanding scholars to participate in the Institute’s activities, both as full-time faculty and as visitors, established a Master’s programme in Muslim cultures that trained young scholars to understand how the methods of the humanities and social sciences could be applied to an understanding of the place of Muslim cultures within world history and encouraged an active research and publications programme. More recently he has taken the lead in the Institute’s project on ‘Governance for the Public Good in Muslim Contexts’. This project has focused on understanding how traditions of good governance in the Muslim world can be the basis for governance in the contemporary world. Throughout his association with Aga Khan University and with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations Professor Filali-Ansary has always shown the strongest personal commitment to promoting pluralism as the basis for a common future for humanity.
With deep appreciation of his contributions to the advancement of knowledge and his leadership in the field of education and research, the University this day confers the title of Professor Emeritus on Professor Abdou Filali-Ansari.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the University’s Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the Board of Trustees, it is my great pleasure to confer the title Professor Emeritus on Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary.