Selected Initiatives

A proposal submitted to the Anna Lindh foundation in 2008, comprising the structure & working of an ideal parliament for NGOs in the Euro Med region.

Anna Lindh EuroMed NGO Forum

A proposal for cooperation on implementation of a yearly intercultural summer camp for children from conflict zones and Europe....

Intercultural Summer Camp

A proposal for the establishment of an Islamic studies institute providing academic level teaching and research....

Ibn Khaldun Institue for Islamic Studies

A proposal for the establishment of offline e-library centers, with a massive collection of e-books to be donated by the Association.....

Offline Multicultural E-Library

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Ibn Khaldun Institute for Islamic Studies

معهد ابن خلدون للدراسات الاسلاميه

A Proposal by dr. Amir A. Abdi 

Interkulti Association 2006

Table of contents

  • I. Summery and introduction:  The Institute
    • a. Choice of name
    • b. Aims and Objectives
    • c. Projects
  • II. Organization
    • a. Form
    • b. Location
    • c. Staff
    • d. Fellows
    • e. Management board
    • f. Advisory board
    • g. Assembly of fellows
    • h. Supervisory board
  • III. Teaching Services
    • a. Masters level programs
    • b. Ad hoc workshops
    • c. Fast track courses 
  • IV. Research and Publishing
    • a. Research center
    • b. Long thesis track
    • c. Publication of research
    • d. Periodical
    • e. Web presence
    • f. Library
  • V. Public Awareness and intercultural Dialogue
  • a. Public lectures
  • b. Round tables
  • c. Conferences
  • VI. Financing
    • a. Donations
    • b. Fees
    • c. Limp sump for the parent University
    • d. Scholarships
    • e. Sponsorship
  • VII. External Relations
    • a. Other Institutes
    • b. NGO’s
    • c. Governments
    • d. Intergovernmental Organizations
    • e. Businesses
    • f. Private donors
  • Concluding remarks
  • Summery and introduction:

    At the outset, one has to point out that there is a marked absence of academic research centers for Islamic studies in Central and Eastern Europe.

    Whereas the other fact is that there is a growing number of experts in the field in the region, and given the new global realities, both the public and its intellectuals are showing great interest towards this area.

    It follows, then, that the establishment of the first Islamic studies center in Central and Eastern Europe is a desired objective.

    The vision outlined below is to create an interdisciplinary studies center, which would provide a meeting point for all experts on Islamic study subjects in central Europe. In particular, the Institute will aim at recruiting the best experts on the covered subjects, and to attract interested students for masters level study and research.

    I touch upon various aspects of the proposal, starting with a sketch of the proposed institute, aims and objectives and then a detailed description of activities, organizational and financial aspects.

     

    I. The Institute

    1. Choice of Name

    Excerpt from Wikipedia:

    “Ibn Khaldūn (full name Abū Zayd ʕAbdu l-Rahman ibn Muħammad ibn Khaldūn al-Haḍramī) (ابو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي ), (May 27, 1332/732AH to March 19, 1406/808AH)

    was a famous Arab historiographer and historian born in present-day Tunisia, and is sometimes viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics. He is best known for his Muqaddimah "Prolegomena". 

    British historian Arnold J. Toynbee called the Muqaddimah "undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place."

     Bernard Lewis describes Ibn Khaldūn as "the greatest historian of the Arabs and perhaps the greatest historical thinker of the Middle Ages" (from The Arabs in History, 1950, page 160) “.

    The choice of the name of the Institute is not accidental, owing to the fact that Ibn Khaldun advanced the interdisciplinary study of reality, and stood firmly for the promotion of intercultural and interfaith dialogue for better understanding of that reality.

    The Institute ought to embrace those endeavors of Ibn Khaldun, as outlined below.

    2. Objectives and Aims

    The Aim of the institute is to advance the academic study of Islam, and to foster comparative research in the field.

    The objective is to engage in interdisciplinary research and study of the various issues pertaining to the Islamic civilization, covering law and theology, history and sociology, politics, economics and business.

    The Institute also aims at becoming a focal meeting point for intellectuals from different cultures and religious backgrounds, where open and sincere dialogue can take place on a regular basis on the covered subjects. (Euro-Med etc.,)

    The Institute shall also provide masters level courses to interested students, both exchange and fee paying students.

    It shall also serve as a think tank, preparing background studies and analysis on demand, for governments, NGO’s and businesses.

    3.Projects

    1. Teaching services:

    The Institute shall provide the following teaching services:

    a. regular 2 semester masters program (Islamic Law and Culture, see more below)

    b. ad/hoc courses on demand, in house or in other locations (public awareness)

    c. fast track course on demand (country profiles, business advisories)

    2. Academic Research and publishing

    The institute will aim to attract researchers and students, and engage them in comparative research on prominent issues embraced by the Institute.

    The Institute shall strive to attract talented and able students and where it is possible, to provide for scholarships for those in need. The

    Institute shall publish papers and researches done at the Institute, and should also publish a periodical for shorter articles.

    3. Exchange programs, external relations

    The Institute will aim to engage in dialogue with other similar instates, NGO’s. Governments, the business community and the public at large.

    Exchange programs should be established, students exchanged, special courses could be offered through NGO’s – international, local and regional.

    The Institute shall strive for good working relations also with businesses, and to seek their financial support of the Institute and its research.

    4. Public Awareness and intercultural Dialogue

    The Institute will strive to raise public awareness in central and eastern Europe to issues pertaining to Islam, and therefore will organize from time to time round table discussions, public lectures, seminars and conferences.

    In particular, the Institute will strive to host as many events as possible on the subject of interfaith and intercultural dialogue on various topics.

    II. Organization

    a. Form

    Much though must go into the question of the legal form the Institute will take.

    A combination of corporate and not-for-profit forms for the Institute owned by the foundation might be advisable. (E.g. Ibn Khaldun Foundation for Islamic Studies and a separate corporate form such as the Ibn Khaldun Advising Ltd.)

    A pure foundation form can also be imagined, whereby the foundation delegates management rights to a special advising company.

    b. Location of the Institute

    The Institute ought to be located in Hungary, in an easily accessible building.

    The building ought to be rented by the Institute and should have enough space to host offices of staff, library and an auditorium or larger hall or two.

    c. Staff

    The Institute ought to have at least 6 permanent staff members, as follows:

    1. central coordinator, secretarial tasks, budget, accounting,

    2. students affairs coordinator, student recruitment, alumni affairs, exchange programs, courses, coordination with fellow and visiting lecturers

    3. head of institute, general management, PR, planning and development

    4. research coordinator, external relations, workshops, publications, periodical editing, public lectures organization, press relations, deputy head of institute

    5. info technology advisor, webmaster

    6. librarian

    d. Fellows

    The Institute should become home for all experts in Hungary and the region on subjects related to the activities of the Institute.

    Thus, fellowship status should be awarded to all quality experts who either seek to be fellows, or are invited by the Instate to become fellows.

    Fellows take part in teaching courses, research activities, workshops, conferences, writing for the periodical, and exchange program eligibility.

    Fellows are not paid for their status, but when engaged in specific projects, then they ought to be compensated depending on the budget of the project.

    Fellows should represent a wide range of academic disciplines, such as economics, political science, philosophy, theology, law, sociology, history, etc.

    Visiting lecturers

    In additional to the fellows, the Institute ought to invite visiting lecturers from various countries and backgrounds to teach in the masters program. (Hourly fee payment)

    e.Management board

    The Institute ought to be managed by a management board, headed by the head of Institute, who is also the chief executive of the company running the enterprise and a member of the curatorium of the foundation.

    The management board runs the day to day business of the Institute, and prepares strategic plans to be submitted for comments to the advisory board, and thereafter submitted to the supervisory board for adoption.

    The management board ought to comprise the head, the deputy head and the student’s affairs coordinator. The Management board is assisted by the central coordinator, the accountant and the info technology advisor. All staff should be eligible for a monthly payment by the Institute.

    f. Advisory board

    In order to be credible enough vs. the students and other universities and institutes, the Institute will need to appoint a special advisory board on academic, business and strategic matters.

    The names should be as well-known as possible locally and internationally.

    g. The Assembly of Fellows

    Fellows of the Institute are also eligible to take part in the annual assembly, where issues pertaining to the institute and its life are debated.

    Recommendations of the Assembly of fellows ought to be considered by the management and the supervisory board of the Institute.

    h. Supervisory board

    A joint the investor – Institute supervisory board should be appointed, with powers to review all aspects of the operation of the program.All strategic decisions are taken by this board based on proposals to be made by them or the management of the Instate.

    Decisions are to be taken by a simple majority. In cases of deadlock the opinion of the advisory board should be requested.

    The board should be comprised of 5 members, 2 from the University, 2 from the Institute (the head and his deputy), and one from the Advisory Board.

    III. Teaching Services

    a. Islamic Law and Culture Masters Program

    The Institute undertakes to manage its own master’s level program, which would concentrate on Islamic law, culture and business in a globalized world.

    The purpose of this unique program is to provide students with a solid foothold in both Islamic theory and practice, comprising Islamic law, theology, philosophy, history, and modern business management.

    This interdisciplinary program could be highly appealing to graduates having an interest in specializing in Islamic law and culture.

    Most important of all, the program should provide students who have academic & research aspirations with the inspiration necessary in order to engage in the comparative research.

    i.

    Target Students:

    The program targets graduates of any subject related to the Humanities. The students targeted can be divided into four potential levels:

    1. Level 1:

    Being a masters program, it should be appealing to the graduate students of the investor , and the students of other universities in Hungary;

    2. Level 2:

    Central, south and east European students;

    3. Level 3:

    West European students;

    4. The program should be highly appealing also to international students, in particular from Asia (China & India), the Middle East & North and Latin America.

    ii. Academic Structure of the program

    a. Diplomas awarded:

    The program should provide for a masters diploma in Islamic Law and Culture to be accredited by the mother University in Hungary.

    b. offered course

    • Commercial law,
    • family law, Co
    • nstitutional law,
    • Comparative law,
    • History,
    • philosophy,
    • theology,
    • politics,
    • economics and Islamic banking,
    • modern business practices

    d. Program Time Table:

    1-year 2-semester program providing two-tracks:

    Thesis Track or Project Track divided into 8 modules as follows:

    • Semester I:
    • Module 1: September 1 – October 13 Modu
    • le 2: October 20 – December 21
    • Semester II:
    • Module 3: February 1 – March 13
    • Module 4: March 20 – June 21
    • July 1 – August 1 (research)

    B. Ad hoc workshops

    The Institute should organize ad hoc workshops on specific issues pertaining to Islamic law and culture in a globalized world.

    Fellows should be encouraged to participate, as well as students and external visitors.

    C. Fast track courses

    The Institute should organize on demand fast track courses on various issues pertaining to the profile of the institute.

    IV. Research and Publishing

    a. Research center

    The Institute should primarily aim at stimulating academic research by some of the students and the fellows through the research center and the library.

    The main objective of research is to explore issues of Islamic law and Culture in a comparative and interdisciplinary manner.

    b. Long thesis track

    Students interested in research should be given the possibility of writing long thesis as part of their graduation requirement.

    The Institute should help them travel for research purposes, and to provide them with en expert fellow as thesis advisor.

    c. Publication of research

    The center should strive to publish selected thesis of students, books and articles by students or any of fellows.

    In addition, the Institute ought to publish conference texts, workshop reports and edit special compilations on any of the areas of interest.

    d. Periodical

    The Institute should strive to publish a quarterly, in which contributions of the fellows are published, in addition to news and conference transcripts (e.g. Ibn Khaldun Islamic Studies Quarterly)

    e. Web presence

    The Institute should purchase ibnkhaldun.org or .edu domain, or preferably .eu domain. The website should contain all news, background info, research projects, articles by fellows, announcements, etc.

    f. Library

    The Institute should strive to hold a good collection of books and academic articles on the subjects covered. It should seek donations by the appropriate agencies.

    The library ought to be managed and maintained by the librarian, who will assist researchers and students in doing the research.

    V. Public Awareness and intercultural Dialogue

    a. Public lectures

    The Institute and the research center shall hold periodical public lectures on selected issues pertaining to the portfolio of the Institute.

    b. Round tables and workshops

    The Institute and the research center shall hold periodical round tables on selected topics, as well as workshops with the participation of fellows and external experts. These round tables should stress the comparative method of inquiry in breeding synthesis between the different approaches.

    c. Conferences

    The Institute should hold at annual conferences on selected issues of interest.

    VI. Financing 

    a. Donations

    The Institute will need donations from Islamic countries and governments, the Hungarian government, and probably the EU. The order in which donations are hoped largely reflects the amount of time needed to actually get the funding: Easiest and fastest is to directly approach Islamic Governments and businesses for donations, then to lobby the Hungarian Government for half a building, the to get the necessary funding from the EU for building up the Institute and operating it.

    b. tuition fees

    (starting only from year 2) Once the masters program is set to start, the Institute will also generate its own income from the tuition fees of paying students.

    Costs IV. Lump sump ; V. Other costs and expenses.

    i. Annual lump sum payment for investor (starting from year 3 onwards). This annual payment ought to be paid in return for the initial investment contribution to be made by investor in the creation phases. (Year 1 expenses)

    ii. Expenses:

    • a. Faculty fees: hourly fee for visiting lecturers.b. Operational costs
    • b. Office & other related costs
    • c. Special projects costs (workshops, round tables, conferences)
    • d.Library costs
    • e. Staff payments
    • f. Marketing costs, travel,

    fund raising Scholarships

    The Institute should allocate a number of scholarships for able students.

    Sponsorship

    The Institute should focus also on fund raising and seeking donations and sponsorship.

    In addition to the general donations, events to be organized by the Institute can be sponsored by companies, or other organizations.

    VII. External Relations

    a. Relations with other academic institutes and research centers

    The Institute should establish good working relations with other institutes, and should strive to learn from their experiences and seek their help. E.g. Ths Salam Institue, Oxford, Harvard, etc.

    b. Relations with NGO’s

    The Institute should establish good working relations with NGO s, and should coordinate common programs with them (relating among others to Human rights, intercultural dialogue, etc)

    c. Relations with Governments

    The Institute should strive to build and maintain friendly working relations with interested governments

     a. Relations with the Government of Hungary

    Due to the fact that the Institute is part of a Hungarian University, and is located in Hungary, the government of Hungary should be approached for assistance and sponsorship.

    The Institute can greatly benefit Hungary, as it will make Hungary the center of attention of the Islamic world in Central and Eastern Europe. It will also help Hungary within the EU, as it could take on the role of another active euro-med coordination sponsor.

    b. Relations with the Governments of Islamic Countries

    The Institute should seek to establish good working relations with some of the Islamic states, and should seek their active help.

    c. Relations with Intergovernmental Organizations

    The Institute should seek to establish good working relations with the EU, UN, and other intergovernmental organizations, and should seek their active help.

    d. Relations with Businesses

    The Institute should seek to establish good working relations with Businesses from the Islamic world, and seek their active help. (Donations, scholarships, etc).

    a. Private donors

    The Institute should organize special fundraising events for private donors, and ought to approach potential donors in particular in the Islamic world.

    Concluding remarks

    The project is unique in the sense that no similar institute operates in the Hungary or the region.

    The project is also economically viable for investor and also for the Institute. (re: services)

    The program is also academically and socially viable, as it will focus attention on comparative and interdisciplinary studies of a neglected area.

     By no means is this presentation purporting to be a conclusive. I think, however, that with this small presentation, we have a good base to work on and further develop.

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