When it comes to religion, the need for dialogue and tolerance is paramount. Hoping to build stronger bridges between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, the State of Qatar has made a $1.25-million gift to McGill’s Institute for Islamic Studies.
The donation, announced during a recent visit to McGill by His Excellency Salem Al-Shafi (pictured at right), the first Ambassador from Qatar to Canada, celebrates the Institute’s 60th anniversary and will be used to fund a series of conferences over the coming year. It also signals a promising relationship with the progressive Gulf nation, which is proving itself to be a regional leader in education, research and the advancement of knowledge through partnerships with leading universities, including Cornell, Texas A&M and University College London.
“We believe this contribution will further assist the Institute in carrying on the distinguished role it has played, since its establishment in 1952, in advancing research related to Islam and the history and civilization of the Islamic world,” says His Excellency Al-Shafi.
The Institute is one of the world’s leading research and teaching centres devoted to the religion and civilization of Islam. In addition to promoting an open and respectful dialogue among scholars, it maintains a tradition of cosmopolitanism, drawing students and faculty from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America and Europe.
“The gift shows that the Qataris are very interested in promoting a vigorous scholarly discussion of Islam and promoting the study of Islam,” says the Institute’s Director, Jamil Ragep. “Many immigrants from the Islamic world have settled in Canada, and the Institute has played a vital role in the current relationship between Canada and Islamic world, so we have much to celebrate.”
What would you do to make the world a better place? Lauren Pochereva, BA’09, DipSci’12, and Christian Scott Martone-Dondé, BA’11, MA’12, have a few creative ideas, and now, thanks to the Pathy Family Foundation, they will have the opportunity to put them into practice.
The pair are the inaugural fellows of the new PFF Community Leadership Program, which offers McGill graduating students extraordinary opportunities to bring sustainable and positive social change to communities around the world by funding projects of their own design.
Pochereva will create a new vegetable garden program at Montreal’s St. Monica Elementary School, which will educate students about healthy eating habits and the importance of environmental stewardship.
Martone-Dondé, meanwhile, has developed a community project that aims to empower citizens and regenerate trust networks in a working-class neighbourhood in Guadalajara, Mexico. Collaborating with local NGOs, he will help to identify challenges, opportunities and strategies in the areas of economic, social and environmental development, and assist local citizens as they put these into practice.