ISP 30th Anniversary Celebrations
As most of you know, 1999 was the 30th anniversary of the ISP, and the Aga Khan Foundation held three celebrations to mark the event. They were held in Toronto, Boston and London, cities where a very large number of ISP students have studied or are studying. Some 100 current students, alumni, spouses and AKF friends participated in the dinners which included presentations by scholars and staff.
We are posting some of the photos and speeches from these events, so you can share in the fun and read about the topics that are close to the heart of the speakers who celebrated with us.
from Toronto, Boston and London Meetings
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Public Health Journey in Pakistan
Anwar Merchant (ISP 88-89, 98-00) is a PhD candidate at the School of Public Health, Harvard University, on leave from the Aga Khan University's Department of Community Health Sciences. He gave this talk at the ISP alumni/student dinner in Boston in November 1999. Find out more
Aga Khan Foundation's Education Programmes
By Harriet Gordon-Brown
Harriet Gordon-Brown is a Programme Officer at Aga Khan Foundation (UK), and ...
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Green Places and Cyber Spaces
By Shiraz Allibhai
Shiraz Allibhai (ISP 93-96) is Programme Officer in Education and Culture at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva. He gave a presentation on AKTC's activities and showed a short film on AKTC's Cairo Park Project at the Boston ISP celebration in November 1999. He based his talk on the following information.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture
The essential purpose of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is the improvement of built environments in societies where Muslims have a significant presence. Buildings and public spaces are physical manifestations of culture in societies, past, and present. They represent human endeavours that can enhance the quality of life, foster self-understanding and community values, and expand opportunities for economic and social development into the future. To underwrite the vitality and integrity of built environments in the Muslim world, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture has developed programmes that support:
The Trust conducts three major programmes: the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Historic Cities Support Programme, and the Education and Culture Programme. All address the Trust's essential purpose, but do so in ways that are distinct, have their own geographical coverage's, and have different, though overlapping, target audiences. All make use of workshops, seminars, publications, and the media to stimulate thinking and disseminate outcomes, although the form as well as the content varies according to the needs of each programme.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture identifies, honours, and disseminates information on contemporary work that contributes significantly to the quality of built spaces in Muslim communities. It is presented every three years to projects in the Muslim world (or serve an Islamic interest in the West) that demonstrate excellence in conception, realisation, and use. Award recipients are chosen by an independent Master Jury which makes its selections from among hundreds of nominated projects, which are carefully documented, and become a permanent part of the Trust's archive. In the six cycles completed since 1980, 69 building projects in 26 countries involving more than 200 individuals and organisations have received Awards. Successful projects have included buildings, larger scale community developments, restoration and re-use initiatives, and environmental improvements. The jury looks for endeavours exhibiting high regard for physical, cultural, economic, and social needs, as well as creative use of local resources and appropriate technology.
The Historic Cities Support Programme
This programme, formalised in 1992, undertakes specific, direct interventions focused on physical, social, and economic revitalisation of historic sites in the Muslim world. The challenge taken up by the Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP) is to demonstrate that cultural concerns and socio-economic needs can be mutually supportive. Accordingly, the programme tests new strategies which combine state-of-the-art restoration, conservation, and urban development principles with community based institutions and fresh entrepreneurial initiatives designed to make local resources self-sustaining for the future. The projects carried out by HCSP are diverse and wide ranging from a restoration of a centuries old wood fort in Northern Pakistan, the restoration of parts of Zanzibar stone town and the seafront, a large urban park in the heart of historic Cairo, and initiatives in Mostar and Samarkand.
Education and Culture
The Education and Culture Programme has three interrelated goals: improving the training of architectural professionals for work in the Muslim world; increasing cross-cultural understanding of Islamic architecture and the intimate connection between architecture and culture in Islamic civilisations; and creating greater awareness and appreciation of the diversity and pluralism of Muslim cultures - within the Muslim world itself as well as in the West. In contrast to the other two programmes of the Trust, the Education and Culture Programme is primarily focused on academics and academic institutions. Its resources are the Trust's archive, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, research, resources, publications, faculty, and students, and the Trust's contacts with architectural educators and scholars in related fields around the world. Increasingly, the Trust is seeking to disseminate this wealth of knowledge and twenty years of history accumulated by AKPIA and by the Trust's owns initiatives. New advances in technology and communication have made the flow of information and dialogue easier to facilitate. It is important that the knowledge and resources generated by twenty-one year commitment of AKPIA be channeled and made more widely available. The hope being that the Aga Khan Program acts as a vehicle to stimulate and enhance discourse at other institutions. Given the advent of new technologies, the Trust believes that a borderless network of institutions contributing to, and learning from each other could have considerable influence in the way that architects and planners are educated and practice. A large part of the Education and Culture portfolio is ArchNet.
ArchNet is an exciting new project being developed at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning with the support of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The central goal of ArchNet is to provide an extensive, high-quality, globally accessible, on-line resource focusing on architecture, urban design, urban development, and related issues in the Muslim world. It will be made available through the Internet and the World Wide Web to scholars, practitioners, and interested non-specialists. ArchNet will capitalise on the 20 year wealth of knowledge and history accumulated by AKPIA and the Trust.
New computer and telecommunication technologies have great potential for supporting communication and collaboration among architectural and planning students, faculty, scholars, and practitioners throughout the world. ArchNet will provide opportunities for realising that potential.
ArchNet will provide an extensive, high-quality, globally accessible, intellectual resource focused on architecture and planning issues and would include restoration, conservation, housing, landscape, and related concerns. It is to be achieved by providing on an accessible server, images, Geographic Information System and Computer Aided Design databases, a searchable text library, bibliographical reference databases, on-line lectures, curricular materials, papers, essays, and reviews, discussion forums and statistical information on an accessible server maintained by the MIT Press. The structure will be designed to offer each user a personal workspace tailored to his or her individual needs. From this space, they will be able to contribute their own findings and research to the larger site. The website will aim to foster close ties between institutions and between users. Through the use of on-line forums, chat rooms, and debates, it is hoped that the site can encourage and promote discussions amongst participants. ArchNet will be accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. It will be a bottom-up system, in which information will eventually flow directly from the user to a continually expanding database which can be shared by all. The system will be designed to promote ready intercommunication and maintenance of an international scholarly community of ArchNet members.
This resource is expected to be maintained in a highly decentralised fashion at sites distributed throughout the world. High priority will be given to providing good access in locations where the need is particularly pressing due to lack of traditional library resources and poor terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure. The most important component of the proposal involves the selection of partner institutions in the Islamic world to generate, share, and exchange information. Each partner institution undergoes a thorough site assessment. The site survey is then reviewed by the Trust's technical consultants who recommend the appropriate hardware and software which can make maximum benefit from the telecommunication network in place. In its infancy, ArchNet will rely on the Aga Khan Program and the Trust to provide the initial content. However, as ArchNet matures and gains greater membership, the aim is to have the content generated through member interaction and exchange, as well as through the research, holdings, and studios of the partner institutions.
The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) was established in 1977 and has the status of being both a Trust grantee and a major resource for its work in Education and Culture. An endowed centre of excellence in the history, theory, and practice of Islamic architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AKPIA's mandate is to educate architects, planners, teachers, and researchers who can contribute directly to meeting the building and design needs of Muslim communities today. AKPIA teaching and scholarship also serves to increase sympathetic cross-cultural interest in Islamic arts and culture. To date, the Program has graduated 126 professionals from throughout the Muslim world. Trust endowments have supported the operation of Harvard's textual and visual collections on the history of Islamic art and architecture, and have enabled the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an outstanding visual and reference collection on the architecture of the 20th century Muslim world. The Trust has also underwritten the publication of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, produced since 1983 through AKPIA's office at Harvard University.
In 1999, the Trust established an endowed chair for the Aga Khan Professorship of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Islamic Societies at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. This chair, it is hoped, will enable the school to provide leadership and greater focus in both historic and contemporary aspects of open-spaces and built environments in Islamic societies.
Social Responsibility as Explained
in the Qur'an
By Dr. Ali S. Asani
Ali Asani (AKH 73-84) was the recipient of one of His Highness the Aga Khan's personal scholarships while studying at Harvard. Since finishing his doctorate in 1984, he has pursued an academic career at his alma mater where he is currently Professor of the Practice of Indo-Muslim Languages & Cultures. Ali chose to speak about Islam and Social Responsibility at the Boston alumni dinner in November 1999.
It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteous is the one who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels and the Book and the prophets and gives away wealth out of love for Him (God) to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask and sets slaves free... 2:1777
The above verse from the Holy Qur'an makes a fundamental observation on the nature of religiosity. In trying to explain to mankind what it means to be religious, to truly follow the sirat al‑mustaqim, Allah makes it clear that piety basically comprises two dimensions. The first, which we may call 'ibadat, consists of worship and prayer, obligations to God, and the acknowledgement of the status of a human being as an 'abd (servant) of the Almighty. The other usually termed as Mu'amalat, is social or communal in nature for it stresses the obligation of the believer to the surrounding society, in particular its disadvantaged segment. Religiosity in Islam, then, does not distinguish between or separate the sacred and the secular. A person cannot be truly religious without fulfilling the responsibilities enjoined on him/her in both dimensions ‑ towards the Almighty and towards society. To call oneself religious and just pray and worship God, oblivious of the needs of the less fortunate, is to have only partially fulfilled one's responsibility. Indeed, mere prayer without concern for fellow human beings is hypocrisy.
The Holy Qur'an repeatedly emphasizes the dual nature of humankind's obligations. For example, every verse that commands men and women to pray to God also urges them to pay zakat, the obligatory charitable contribution that every Muslim must pay to provide for those who are poor and in need. The social dimension of the pillar of zakat is clear: those who possess wealth should concern themselves with those who lack it ‑ "to have is to share". Moreover, zakat, as its Arabic root signifies, has a purifying aspect as well, for it cleanses the giver of greed and excessive materialism, promoting, at the same time, the general level of well being and happiness in society. Looked at from another angle, the ummah (community) has a right and stake in whatever a Muslim owns ‑ a notion radically different from Western conceptions about individual ownership of wealth.
The Holy Qur'an also provides specific guidance on the manner in which these societal obligations are to be fulfilled. Those who wish to do good by performing charitable actions are warned:
Believers! do not nullify your charitable deed by posing as munificent or by painfully embarrassing others, as do those who expend their wealth just to be seen of men, with no faith in God and the Last Day. 2:264
This verse cautions against doing good works for egotistical and self‑centered reasons, such as earning praise from one's fellows or improving one's status in society. Such works are of no merit before God. Not surprisingly, the Qur'an distinguishes in many verses between those who spend openly in the way of Allah, that is in full public eye, from those who spend in secret (e.g., surah 35:29‑30). The above Qur'anic verse is also emphatic that charitable actions are to be done without placing recipients under any obligation, embarrassment or humiliation. According to surah 2:263, "a kindly word and a forgiving attitude are better than a charitable action which brings hurt in its train. " In this regard the position of Hazrat Ali (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad) is instructive. In a letter to the Governor of Egypt, Hazrat Ali reminds him of his duties towards those of little means for they are a responsibility for which he has to render account before Allah. Be humble before them, Ali urges him, and do not ignore them out of haughtiness and pride ‑ "a luxurious life should not keep you away from them". Furthermore, he advises his Governor to make special efforts in identifying social outcasts who, on account of their unsightly appearance and extremely low position in society, are not even in a position to come forward and ask for assistance. To look after the affairs of such people, Hazrat Ali recommends the appointment of God‑fearing, humble and trusted leaders for, among all the subjects of the land, they are the most deserving of equitable treatment.
The extensive humanitarian and social welfare activities of the Aga Khan Development Network are, thus, an expression, in our contemporary world, of concerns that are fundamental and integral to the faith of Islam. It would be appropriate here to mention an excerpt from the convocation address His Highness the Aga Khan gave at the University of Peshawar on November 30, 1967:
"It would be traumatic if those pillars of the Islamic way of life ‑ social justice, equality, humility, and generosity, enjoined upon us all were to lose their force or wide application in our young society. It must never be said generations hence that in our greed for the material goods of the rich West we have forsaken our responsibilities to the poor, to the orphaned, to the traveller, to the single woman."
In Search of a Voice: an Intellectual
By Shuruq Naguib
Shuruq Naguib (ISP 96-00) from Egypt is a PhD candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Manchester...
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The following students were selected to receive scholarships under the International Scholarship Programme (ISP) and the Tajik Scholarship Programme (TSP) in 1999-2000.
New ISP Scholars
Mr. Salmaan Ahmed, Indian, MD, University of Southern California
Mr. Javaid Akhter, Pakistani, MSc, Community Health Management, University of Heidelberg
Mr. Rezah Bahadoraly, Malagasy, DECF, Accounting/Finance, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, La Réunion
Ms. Sheena Chadha, Indian, MA, Sustainable Environmental Management, Middlesex University, London
Ms. Anar Haidaraly, Malagasy, MBA, ESICAD, Toulouse
Dr. Rustam Hailobekov, Tajik, PhD, Laparoscopic Surgery, Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery, Moscow
Ms. Kulsoom Jaffer, Pakistani, MA, Educational Management & Administration, Institute of Education, London
Mr. Khayol Karambkhudoev, Tajik, MA, International Economics & Marketing, Moscow State University
Ms. Khadija Khan, Pakistani, MA, Organisation, Planning and Management in Education, University of Reading
Ms. Zainur Khakoo, Canadian (b. Tanzania), OD, Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry
Dr. Hasib Mahmud, MPH, Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
Ms. Salimah Meghani, Pakistani, MS, Adult Acute Care Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
Ms. Farzana Mohamed, Kenyan, MCP, City Planning, MIT
Ms. Noorani Moloo, Tanzanian, MSc, Clinical Pharmacy, University of Bradford
Mr. Nelson Muturi, Kenyan, PhD, Animal Science, University of Aberdeen
Mr. Md. Karim Rajani, Pakistani, PhD, Textile Technology, UMIST
Ms. Zamira Rakhmatova, Tajik, MA, Economics, Moscow State University
Ms. Mishta Roy, Indian, MA. Fine Art, Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, London
Ms. Nadya Sabuwala, Indian, MS, Public Health Nursing, University of Minnesota
Mr. Abakhon Sultonazarov, Tajik, MA, Economics, Moscow State University
Mr. Farrukh Zafar, Pakistani, MS, Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California
New TSP Scholars
At American University in Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek:
Mr. Shodi Abdulvasiev - International Relations
Mr. Mukhsinjon Akhmadiv - Economics
Ms. Saodat Asanova - Journalism
Mr. Atobek Gulanori - Business Administration
Mr. Bekhruzz Gulruzov - Law
Mr. Umed Temurshoev - Economics
At Slavonic University, Bishkek:
Mr. Rozik Chorshambiev - Computer Science
Ms. Shabnam Karimova - International Relations
Mr. Oshik Oshikov - Medicine
Ms. Parvin Shofakirova - Medicine
Ms. Mavzuna Yaminova - International Relations
A BIG THANK YOU to alumni who have made recent monetary or other contributions to the International Scholarship Programme:
Zujian Xing (ISP 86-88) - US$500
Amin Hooda (ISP 83-84) - Canadian$8,000
Rumina Sunderji (ISP 90-94) - developed the electronic format of the ISP application form
Karim Ismail (ISP 78-80) - initiated and developed the AKF Scholarship website
Alnashir Ismail (ISP 79-82), Khalil Pirani (ISP 82-89) and Amina Hirani (ISP 80-83) - helped to organise the ISP 30th anniversary celebrations in Toronto, Boston and London respectively
KUDOS to alumni on recent Master's and doctoral dissertations:
"Management of Waste from an Oil Installation" by Baig Ali, MSc, Energy Systems and the Environment, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, September 1999
"The Investigation of Resource Allocation Models to Estimate the Impact of Social Factors on Health Outcome", by Fahra Kurji, MSc, Health Information Science for Health Services Management, University of Warwick, September 1999
"Rapid Appraisal of Community's Perception of Hysteria Amongst Women in Western Rajasthan, India, Jaada Jhgupey: A Daughter-in-law's illness" by Sunil Kaul, MSc, Public Health in Developing Countries, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, September 1999
"The Making of NGO's: Global Influences and Local Responses from Western India" by Alnoor Ebrahim, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, July 1999
"Sustaining the Virtual Commons: End User Support for Apache Web Server Software on the Usenet" by Karim Lakhani, MS, Technology and Policy, MIT, May 1999
CONGRATULATIONS to Pinki Virani (ISP 79-81) on her second book, Once Was Bombay, which was on the Indian non-fiction best seller list for several months in 1999.
Scholarship Contact Information
Salman Muhammad (ISP 93-96) (ISP 04-06) has an MA degree in Conservation of Monuments and Sites from the Catholic University Leuven in Belgium and is currently working for the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan on the Lahore Walled City conservation project.
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