On December 17, 2007, the Working Group symposium on Global Development, Organizations, and Faith in the Muslim World was held at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. The symposium, geared toward practitioners across the Muslim world, was a working group consultation event co-sponsored by CIRS and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and the Henry R. Luce Foundation. The symposium focused on institutions; relationships among public, private, and religiously inspired actors; financing issues; and other issues such as children, education, health, and gender. The event ended with a Distinguished Lecture by Hany El Banna and Azhari Gasim Ahmed. El Banna is co-founder and president of Islamic Relief Worldwide and Ahmed is Senior Economist at the Islamic Development Bank.
Participants of the Working Group included Mehran Kamrava, Director of CIRS; Salman Shaikh, Director for Policy and Research at the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned; Hady Amr, Director of Brookings, Qatar; and Omnia Nour, Director of Reach Out to Asia, among other distinguished international guests.
The Working Group symposium is part of an ongoing joint Luce/School of Foreign Service multi-year research project focusing on institutions inspired by and linked to faith. Kamrava, Director of CIRS, said that the symposium’s program “will be fully integrated into the Georgetown University curriculum and the students will benefit greatly from engaging directly with the research results and actively participating in the creation of a database concerning faith-related organizations, both governmental and non-governmental.” According to Kamrava, the initiative is testimony to the commitment by Georgetown University and CIRS to encourage in-depth scholarship and to also provide a forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas.
The research takes place over three years; the first of which focused on the United States and concluded with a conference debating issues of faith-inspired institutions. The current year is the second stage of the investigation, which focuses on the Muslim world and the role of global Muslim-inspired institutions such as Islamic Relief, the Red Crescent Society, and the Aga Khan Network. Further phases will focus on European faith-inspired institutions in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
The project will be completed in 2009 and the results will be published as a book.
For more information, view the Working Group’s symposium summary prepared by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.