The ninth Summer Programme on Islam was held at the University of Cambridge from 13 - 20 August 2011. Thirty-nine participants from 14 countries (Canada, India, Mozambique, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, United Kingdom and the United States) participated in the eight-day programme.
The Programme’s faculty comprised accomplished scholars from the IIS as well as esteemed professors from various universities. The topics of study, which were carefully selected to present both historical and contemporary perspectives, included Encountering Islam, the Holy Qur'an, Prophet Muhammad and the Prophetic Tradition, Imamat as a Model of Authority and Leadership in Islam, Ismaili History, Law and its Muslim Contexts, Discourses on Women’s Status in Islam, Esoteric Traditions in Islam, Muslim Spaces of Worship and Gathering, Muslim Ethics and Approaches to Contemporary Issues Facing the Umma.
Each session included group activities as well as time for questions. Participants were encouraged to explore a variety of approaches and perspectives in order to enhance their understanding as well as develop their capacity to contribute more effectively to contemporary discourses.
One participant commented: “The beautiful setting at the University of Cambridge put me in a different mind space for a week, and is having a lasting effect on me. By meeting terrific participants from a variety of traditions and countries, I felt a unique feeling of joy knowing that I was experiencing a microcosm of our global community”. Another said, “I came to the programme with a lot of questions and left with more. But it has lit a fire in me to look for answers. My thirst for knowledge has increased and even if I cannot quench that thirst immediately, I will not let it die.”
The programme included a formal dinner for participants and the faculty as well leadership from the Ismaili community in the United Kingdom.