The College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently collaborated with the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) to deliver a public lecture and workshop on Islamic Finance in London. The events were jointly hosted by QFC and the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL) at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – University of London, with HBKU’s CIS and the International Islamic Research Academy (ISRA) of Malaysia as academic partners.
The public lecture is an annual tradition that began in 2006. Initially hosted at Harvard University and then transferred to SOAS, each year since has witnessed a public lecture and a workshop that tackles a contemporary theme in Islamic finance. The theme for this year was “Responsible Investment, Value-Based Intermediation and the Future of Islamic Finance,” which was prompted by the new value-based intermediation (VBI) initiative proposed by the Shariah Advisory Council of the Central Bank of Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), which aims to widen the scope of Islamic finance from being strictly Shari’a compliant to one which addresses broader and longer-term issues of public interest.
The inaugural public lecture, delivered by the CEO of the Malaysia-based CIMB Islamic Group, Rafe Haneef, outlined CIMB’s groundbreaking initiatives in adopting a more responsible corporate strategy and incentivizing clients to make more sustainable decisions.
The workshop on February 14 brought together leaders and pioneers of the industry to engage in open dialogue on key issues facing the industry, and considered the VBI initiative in light of other global programs, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the upcoming UN Principles of Responsible Banking, taking into account environmental, social and governance considerations. A report will be published capturing the discussions.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, the CEO of QFC, highlighted QFC’s commitment to continuously find ways of cooperating with institutions on Islamic finance, while positioning Qatar as a leader in the sector by welcoming Islamic financial institutions to join its competitive ecosystem through the QFC platform. Al-Jaida expressed his confidence that QFC’s support of academic events such as the ones at SOAS would help facilitate the exchange and flow of ideas among practitioners, thought leaders, and the public, and would contribute towards the development of a sustainable and vibrant Islamic finance industry moving forward.
Dr. Nazim Ali, director of the CIS Research Division, and the originator and facilitator of the annual events, commented on the uniqueness of this series, which generates rich discussions enriched by multi-faceted knowledge and experience in the spirit of academic freedom. “I am truly grateful to SOAS and QFC for hosting and organizing these annual events, which are a much needed platform for the Islamic finance phenomenon to grow. The leadership of CIS and ISRA should also be commended for their continuous support of our efforts in building bridges between industry, academia, and the wider community, both locally and internationally.”
CIS continues to build local and international relationships to deepen the understanding of Islamic finance, and aims to produce regional and global leaders in Islamic finance through its Master of Science in Islamic Finance and PhD degree in Islamic Finance and Economy. Collectively, CIS offers five academic degrees at the master’s and PhD levels.
For more information on CIS’s programs and its research center in Islamic finance, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa.