The College of Islamic Studies (CIS), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), recently participated in the 2018 Harvard Islamic Finance Conference as an Academic Sponsor. The conference aimed to engage students, academics, and professionals in topics relating to ethical commerce and the social aspect of finance. Held on October 26 and 27 at Harvard University in the United States, the conference was hosted by Harvard University Muslim Alumni (HUMA) and attracted experts from all around the world.
The opening remarks were co-delivered by the Director of the Research Division at CIS, Dr. Syed Nazim Ali, who is also an academic advisor to HUMA and a distinguished thought leader in the field of Islamic finance and its development in the modern world.
Commenting on his leading role in the establishment of this event in the mid-1990s, Dr. Nazim said: “The conference has been an impressive venue for globally leading scholars, experts, and practitioners in the areas of Islamic finance, impact investment, and social entrepreneurship as well as TED talk-style presentations highlighting businesses and social entrepreneurs that embody Islamic ethics and seek to leverage Muslims’ talent and resources.” Dr. Nazim further added that the conference was an ideal opportunity for CIS to establish partnerships with globally renowned universities such as Harvard University, MIT, and UMASS Boston.
Dr. M. Evren Tok, associate professor and associate dean of innovation and community engagement at CIS, participated in a panel discussion entitled ‘The Building Blocks of a Muslim Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’. Together with other members on the panel, Dr. Tok discussed the many challenges and opportunities for Muslim entrepreneurs. The panel covered various issue areas in relation to values and entrepreneurship, attitudes, the state of Muslim world in establishing start-ups and potential advantages of Muslim entrepreneurs in global markets.
Commenting on his participation at the conference, Dr. Tok said: “Bringing perspectives to entrepreneurship and innovation from the Islamic finance angle is a relatively understudied area, and the Harvard Islamic Finance Conference facilitated discussions on key factors that ensure entrepreneurial success in tandem with the tools and products that exist in the Islamic finance sector. The conference has highlighted the need for relevant information about ethical investment, finance, and banking to be made easily and more widely accessible, thus ensuring entrepreneurs have all the necessary information at their disposal to make informed and financially (as well as morally) sound business decisions.”
Throughout the conference, delegates attended a number of plenary and parallel sessions on numerous topics, including ‘The Role of Multilateral Institutions in Promoting Islamic Finance’; ‘Islamic Finance 101’; ‘Impact Investing and Domestic Institutions: A Path Towards Sustainability’; ‘Stories of Excellence: How They Built Social Enterprises’; and ‘Fintech, Blockchain and Crowdfunding: Its Role in Impact Financing’.
The College of Islamic Studies offers Master’s and PhD programs in Islamic Finance, which are two of the most innovative Islamic finance programs taught in the Islamic world. They combine the fast-growing field of Islamic finance with global developments, cutting-edge technologies, and current concepts such as Fintech and Blockchain, to equip their students with the most up-to-date skills and expertise. CIS’s stance as an academic leader in the field is embodied by its commitment to forging local and international partnerships as a means of enhancing learning and outreach, and providing a contextual understanding of the issues that affect Muslim societies worldwide.
HBKU was founded with the four foundational pillars of Excellence, Innovation, People, and Partners, which underscore the University’s commitment to becoming a globally minded institution. The University is deeply committed to local, regional and international partnerships, and consistently emphasizes the value of synergy in its endeavors.
To learn more about HBKU and CIS, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa.