Message from the Dean

Professor Leif Stenberg

Dean, Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations​


2022 marks the 20th anniversary of AKU-ISMC’s inauguration by His Highness, Aga Khan IV. This year includes a range of events which showcase what AKU-ISMC is all about.  Our focus is the study of Muslim cultures and contexts across the diverse societies of the world, past and present. It is through world-leading research​, publications, education​, and outreach ​that we contribute to public discourse; enabling both citizens and leaders to address complex challenges and to shape the world around them.​

I am therefore delighted to begin the New Year with the news that AKU-ISMC has been awarded two endowed chairs. We are very grateful for the generosity of our donors who made this possible. In December 2021, Professor Jonas Otterbeck​ became the holder of the Rasul-Walker Chair in Popular Culture in Islam, and Professor Philip Wood became the holder of the Tejpar Chair in Interreligious Studies. Professor Wood ​and I recently published the joint volume What is Islamic Studies, and Professor Otterbeck released The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music in full Open Access. Our esteemed colleague, Farouk Topan, was also awarded an Emeritus Professorship in December 2021.​​​

At its heart, AKU-ISMC is a research-focused institution driven by the belief that academic enquiry and education can enable understanding and positive social change. Informed by the wider work of AKDN, we foster vital connections with the diverse Muslim societies of the world for the benefit of many.​

Our work has always been supported by the generosity of others through donations and endowments. If you would like to learn more about how to support AKU-ISMC, please contact​.

I wish you all the best of health, and thank you for your continued support which will allow AKU-ISMC to thrive and prosper in its 20th Anniversary year. ​