About 25 people attended the reception, including prominent scholars, such as Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina and Prof. Ingrid Mattson, both of whom occupy IIIT-endowed chair positions at George Mason University and Huron College at Western University in Canada, respectively. IIIT’s Student Fellows, Mohammad Syifa Widigdo (doctoral student in religion at Indiana University-Bloomington) and Aamir Bashir (MA student in religion at Washington University in St. Louis), also attended the event.
Ermin Sinanovic, Director of Research and Academic Programs at IIIT, welcomed the attendees and explained possibility for research opportunities at the Institute. He also invited the attending scholars and graduate students to apply for IIIT’s summer programs. Prof. Timur Yuskaev of Hartford Seminary talked about the IIIT-Hartford Seminary cooperation and Imam training programs. He was followed by Prof. Lucinda Mosher, also of Hartford, who discussed upcoming programs between IIIT and Hartford Seminary. The Director of Marketing and Publications then took the floor and explained IIIT’s publication programs, including book publishing and two refereed journals published by IIIT, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences and Islamiyah al-Ma’rifah.
Expanding on the IIIT’s involvement with academia, Prof. Sachedina talked about his experiences in working with the IIIT, highlighting the Institute’s unique position among Muslim research institutions and think-tanks. He invited the attendees to connect with the Institute and contribute to its research and study programs. Following Prof. Sachedina’s address, Dr. Ayman Shabana, a visiting research fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School and a visiting assistant professor of theology at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, talked briefly about the upcoming encyclopedia of Islamic bioethics.
After the official program, informal conversations and networking continued for another hour. The event strengthened IIIT’s academic outreach and created opportunities for new collaborations with a new generation of scholars and researchers in Islamic studies.