Student Success Series: Global Islamic Studies | HBKU

Student Success Series: Global Islamic Studies

15 Feb 2021

Student Success Series: Global Islamic Studies

In this exclusive interview, we speak to Khairunnisa Hussain, a Master of Arts in Islam and Global Affairs student at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Islamic Studies, about her future aspirations, and why the master’s was her program of choice.

Please tell us about your area of study at HBKU. 

I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Islam and Global Affairs (IGA) at HBKU, and I am now entering my final term whereby I am undertaking a research project for my master’s thesis on Investigating the Dynamics of Social Edupreneurship Towards Combatting Educational Marginalization in the MENA Region. This is being done  under the supervision of Associate Professor Dr. Evren Tok, who is also the assistant dean of Innovation and Community Development and program coordinator of the IGA Masters program. 

What motivated you to pursue this area of study at HBKU? 

Approximately four years after relocating to Doha from my home country, Singapore, I realized that life had become a little too comfortable for me. I felt that I needed to push myself beyond my limits. I recognize and appreciate my placement in life, having been blessed with generally fortunate social and financial circumstances so far. Yet, there is so much more that I personally feel I could do beyond just displays of empathy and compassion towards others in less favourable conditions around the world.    

At the same time, I wanted to learn more about Islam and how it has been and is being perceived, both within the Arab Worldand beyond. Having already obtained an MSc in Medicine and a PhD in Infectious Diseases, the IGA program would have enabled me to redirect my academic focus and explore the Islamic faith in greater detail, while continuing to engage with current global socio-political events. 

What are your short-term and long-term aspirations? 

In the near future, I hope to graduate with a good MA degree, and possibly pursue my second PhD in the Islamic and social sciences fields, or embark on a meaningful career in this area. I also hope to inspire my children to pursue their dreams diligently, no matter what they may be, and what challenges and obstacles lay in their paths.  

My long-term aspirations would be to create a positive and significant social impact within my community and beyond, as well as to provide substantial opportunities and purposeful avenues for future generations to do their parts for the society in order to achieve sustainable progress. 

How have your studies helped you develop and advance your career? 

The diverse, interdisciplinary range of courses in the IGA program ensures that one receives high-quality education from accomplished academic and hands-on experts, and gains invaluable knowledge in the fields of Islamic worldviews, globalization and faith-based development, conflict transformation and peacebuilding, and global inequalities. Through research and integrative laboratory assignments, I have also been able to foster practical relationships with local and international organizations, which would undoubtedly advance my career opportunities. 

What is the impact you see yourself making in your society in the future? 

With multidimensional skills that were developed throughout the program, I hope to establish myself as an ethical changemaker, aiming to provide valuable contributions to Muslims and other marginalized communities in particular and the global society in general. 

What was the highlight of your time at HBKU, and why? 

Developing close friendships with fellow coursemates has been the main highlight of my time at HBKU. The welcoming, personalized student-centered environment ensures that relationships established throughout the course will last beyond the course of our study. With coursemates hailing from various parts of the world, I have learned from their personal experiences as much as the knowledge I have gained from lectures and professors, and for that, I am truly thankful. 

In what ways did your HBKU experience differ from your expectations when you first joined? 

Prior to joining the program, I anticipated that it was going to be just like any other traditional graduate program. However, the dynamic structure of the program meant that I was able to assimilate vital knowledge to a larger degree and incorporate it for practical use. By offering both traditional and disruptive learning tools and techniques, the program has opened my mind up to novel and innovative ideas and strategies in examining the complex relationships between Islam, human development and global transformation. 

Any additional thoughts for potential HBKU applicants. 

Enrol in HBKU’s graduate programs with an open mind; be receptive to new learning and teaching methods, and embrace change. HBKU offers high-quality, innovative experiential learning with top-notch facilities to spur one’s academic abilities to greater heights.