Graduate students in the Master of Arts in Islam and Global Affairs programme at the College of Islamic Studies (CIS), Hamad Bin Khalifa University, recently organised a community dialogue initiative at Doha’s Innovation Café.
The students shared their Integrative Lab (I-Lab) research projects, which span topics of contemporary relevance and aim to contribute to scholarship on the place of Islam in the context of global affairs. The event led to an inspiring discussion, exchange, and fruitful engagement with members of the public as well as their families who joined the session.
The I-Lab course is one of the unique features of the Islam and Global Affairs MA programme, aiming to build theories of change to identify and advance solutions to economic, social, human, and environmental challenges encountered in Muslim societies. Students are supported with creative design, thinking tools, and production platforms that help them work on and develop solutions to global problems.
Nine students posted their theories of change designs around the Innovation Café – which offered the creative space to create, connect, and collaborate. During short presentations, the students conveyed the rationale behind their models and how they contribute to the Muslim world and global society in general.
Saad Khodr’s model focused on designing a platform to educate the public about proper ways of recycling copies of the Holy Qur’an. Alreem Al-Ali’s model was based on the Amal City, an urban development initiative in northern Syria for internally displaced Syrians. Her model explored potential ways of aligning Amal City with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Firdous Omar designed a model titled Amani Ya Dada or “Peace for Girls” in English, which focused on empowering young women with economic opportunities in the Mandera County of Kenya. The Taarraff Station model by Ali Al Buainain offered an innovative design to help non-Muslim visitors during the FIFA World Cup Qatar develop a comprehensive understanding of Islam and correct any misconceptions.
Dr Evren Tok, programme coordinator at CIS, said: “Our community dialogue event gave students the opportunity to engage the public and share their understanding of how Islamic values and teachings promote innovative solutions to interconnected, global socio-economic challenges. Our students demonstrated their academic knowledge but also their creative thinking and willingness to lead open conversations about contemporary priorities such as sustainable development and the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.”