Institute of Ismaili Studies set up, Boards & Legal

Ismaili Constitution, Institutional and Historical docs
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mahebubchatur
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Institute of Ismaili Studies set up, Boards & Legal

Post by mahebubchatur »

The Institute of Ismaili studies was established in July 1977

“ THE INSTITUTE OF ISMAILI STUDIES, founded by Mawlana Hazar Imam, aims to promote scholarship and learning on Islam, with emphasis on Shiism in general and its Ismaili Tariqah in particular and a better understanding of their relationship with other faiths and societies. Its programmes, informed by the full range of diversity within Islam, explore the relationship of religious ideas to broader dimensions of society and culture, paying particular attention to issues of ethics in modern life. It also encourages an interdisciplinary approach to materials of Islamic history and thought. In pursuit of its objectives, the Institute collaborates with other institutions of learning. (Ismaili constitution)

The primary objects were;

1. To assist & advance the learning, study & teaching of the Shia Imami Ismaili Tariquah of Islam,
2. To conduct & promote research into the intellectual religious spiritual & cultural heritage, of the Shia Imami Ismaili Tariquah of Islam
3. To conduct and support research into other faiths. beliefs & practices

The first Directors were

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
Andre Ardoin
Michael Curtis
Anil Ishani
Amir Bhatia
Sir Eboo Pirbhai

The first shareholders were
AKF Geneva 98%
AKF UK. 1%
His Highness the Aga Khan 1%


The first company secretary was

Mr Shamsudin Vellani
Last edited by mahebubchatur on Sat Mar 13, 2021 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New IIS Board Appointed December 2020

Post by mahebubchatur »

New IIS Board appointed 10th December 2020

https://www.iis.ac.uk/about-us/board-governors

NEWS REPORT

“Appointed by Hazar Imam as the first Dean of the IIS (1988-1999) and subsequently to the Board of Governors, Dr Esmail has been central to the development of the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of the Institute’s work in all its aspects. His broad thinking was the impetus behind the establishment of the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) in 1994.

Mr Vellani has played a crucial role in the strategic direction and growth of the IIS from its inception. Joining in 1976 as its Executive Officer and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors and then in 1988-2020, as Director of Special Projects and permanent guest of the Board of Governors, he has been a pre-eminent figure in institution-building and the nurturing of partnerships that underpin the work of the Institute.

Both Mr Vellani and Dr Esmail also played an important role in the development of the curriculum, providing intellectual and philosophical oversight, and have made significant contributions to the strength, reach, and impact the IIS enjoys today.
(source simerg) - Link to full article https://wp.me/p7IezD-7JU


Letter to Leadership IIS/ DJI/LIF/ITREBS Boards - for information and clarification below
(no response so far)

16 December 2020

Interview answers by Shafik Sachedina outgoing ex Board member of IIS

Re Selected questions & answers given by Shafik Sachedina.

Published by TheIsmaili and also on Social media (The name of interviewer is not stated. This looks like pre-set written questions and answers - If not, can we have the video of this interview & name of interviewer)

Can you please confirm what Shafik has said below is correct, (including regarding the present IIS policies and future plan & programs of IIS)
What Shafik says cannot be relied on for reasons you know (for any doubt please see my emails & his involvement in the unsuccessful lawsuit filed in the name of Hazar Imam, & blocking of Farmans & our constitution etc)

Summary of answers by Shafik Sachedina

1. Shafik is long-serving member of the outgoing board (& Head of the Department of Jamati Institutions at the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat. Is he really retiring & who is is replacing him and what positions is he still keeping, LIF, IPL, others?)
2. Board of Governors of IIS handed over the “reins of governance” to newly appointed members, after 25 years. (This group has been controlling since 1980 - Shafik joined in about 1990 - He claims his leadership was thoughtful !)
3. S Vellani and Dr Esmail are now retiring. (what positions are they still keeping and or what new positions and titles are being given to them directly or indirectly)
4. In the 1975 paris conference - E Rupani was there and is still there at IIS - He is effective CEO of LIF. The 1975 minutes say Farmans are to be published and given to the Jamat - but they blocked them and filed an unsuccessful AgaKhan copyright lawsuit - http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php ... pic&t=8185
5. There was a 15 year IIS agreed plan projections & strategies in 2011. (Can we have a copy of that plan and major changes bearing in mind what Shafik says below about the future of IIS)
6. The Jamat are and be viewed by IIS as their primary constituency (Ismaili and Ismaili faith and practices)
7. Everything that the IIS does benefits the Jamat, directly or indirectly.
8. IIS gives tuition, with empathy and responsibility for our community,
9. IIS is the reference point for academic and human resource development matters for all ITREBs around the world. (IIS teaches and trains all religious teachers Waezeens Leaders Mukhi’s and Jamat)
10. In the practice of the faith, our rituals, rites and practices, it is only the Imam-of-the-Time, that has the authority to make any changes. (The current existing practices rites and ceremonies are taught by IIS to religious teachers students Waezeens Leaders Mukhi’s and Jamat)
11. IIS expansion was undertaken by a core group comprising Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai, Vazir Anil Ishani and Vazir Amir Bhatia, assisted administratively by Shams Vellani as the newly recruited IIS Executive Officer, and Eqbal Rupani, who was coordinating the roll-out of the work streams emanating from the Paris Conference. (They are not qualified lecturers or professors of education)!
12. Dr Esmail and Mr Vellani played an important role in developing the secondary curriculum, meticulously reviewing the scholarly narratives to ensure their quality (But they blocked Farmans)
13. On the academic front, three key individuals contribution cannot be overstated: Professor Azim Nanji, Dr Aziz Esmail, and Dr Farhad Daftary, who provided consistent academic and intellectual leadership.
14. About the future of IIS Shafik says the following
15. an acceleration in the growth of our digital teaching and learning capacity, which was already under way before the virus took hold. Many of our courses have moved online, or are employing blended virtual and face-to-face learning, which has actually enabled us to develop virtual teaching skills and broaden our reach across the global Jamat. We are also excited by the potential of this expansion in online learning.
16. Aga Khan Library is also digitising its manuscripts and rare books, so that these treasures can be studied — with the help of new technologies — by scholars from all parts of the globe. More items from the Ismaili collections, such as Khojki manuscripts, will be available online. (They have blocked these for over 20 years & still are -even from Scholars and students
17. We have launched a series of eBooks of some of IIS selected publications. (should have 10 years ago)
18. A future aspiration for IIS is achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers, which would be a major turning point for the Institute and strengthen its position even further. This is still an IIS goal ( why this secularisation and if so important why not achieved when we have AgaKhan Universities- like pluralism not wanted to)
19. IIS is invested to develop knowledge-based societies, where intellectual capital and the ability to conceptualise and translate knowledge as a shared resource is a key asset. To develop tools for students of all ages to better understand their heritage and history of Muslim societies, and to relate this understanding to their contemporary, lived reality. (what about Ismaili Muslim faith and heritage)
There is no mention of the teaching of Pluralism or to actualise inclusive leadership or best Practice (& IIS and DJI have not responded to requests from their primary constituency - We the Jamat- see my many specific email requests - see 2 Links
http://ismaili.net/timeline/2020/2020-1 ... ociety.pdf
and
http://ismaili.net/source/chatur-best-practice.pdf

Shafik says IIS has 5 thematic areas - Is this true today and is it still the Ismaili Muslim constituency faith in the context of others (& not secularisation of the current Ismaili faith and practices - based on Imams Farmans)

1. development of a resource and archival base;
2. research and scholarship;
3. production of teaching and educational materials;
4. human resource development for the Jamat; and
5. building institutional capacity and partnerships.

Link to full written Questions and answers by Shafik Sachedina

https://the.ismaili/global/news/institu ... stitutions

On Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/theismaili/pho ... 78/?type=3

Looking forward to hearing from you
M Chatur

Salgirah Mubarak.
Re : New IIS Board

Some more requests please;

1. What was the process?
2. Why was this secretive.
3. Were the Jamat? & Mukhi’s? consulted or informed of the nominations , who, when, & can we have copies?
4. Who nominated them
5. Who recommended the names.
6. Was is process ethical transparent inclusive pluralistic and best practice process

Some named are the same (& musical chairs). Can we have a copy of the constitutional appointment process ? Will this group be the same mindset thinking & clique as the last Board reporting to the same DJI clique in the back ground ? Who are the members & executive members of the DJI

Please pass copies of all our requests to the New Board
https://twitter.com/chaturmahebub/statu ... 32675?s=21

Ya Ali Madad
M Chatur
mahebubchatur
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New Board of Trustees of IIS - December 2020

Post by mahebubchatur »

The Board of Trustees are as follows

His Highness the AgaKhan
Habib Motani
Naguib Kheraj
Karina Govingji

Link to Profiles
https://www.iis.ac.uk/about-us/board-trustees
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
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Shams Vellani on the establishment & Developemnt of IIS

Post by mahebubchatur »

Shams Velllani has been at IIS since 1976. He made the following, & pivotal contributions to the establishment & development of IIS 

Shams Vellani helped in the establishment of IIS “which he headed in the early years. Playing an instrumental role in the development of the Institute of Ismaili studies Shams has been with IIS since before its inauguration in 1977.

He was invited to Nairobi in February 1976 for a meeting with his Highness the Aga Khan where the roots of the idea of the IIS further developed, and subsequently took root. 

During  this process Shams was involved specifically in determining the level in specifics of the Institute legally, as there was no precedent in modern Ismaili history for such an institution to be established with the Jamaat‘s own resources. 

The initial challenge was for the Imam it to ensure quality control for the Ismaili studies and to ensure that the Institute of Ismaili  studies abided by the Imam’ policy of serving the public good. 

In this process he worked very closely with Diwan Eboo Pirbhai  Vazir Anil Ishani & Vazir Amir Bhatia. 

They were among the first board of governors of IIS under the guidance of his Highness‘s to steer the development of this nascent institution.

During his decades of service Shams met senior clerics in Qom, Mashad, & Tehran, as part of the process of acquiring official Iranian support for the Jamaat social governance apparatus under the 1986 global Ismaili constitution,  and the implementation of the IIS religious education curriculum from preschool to secondary level.

Shams  as part of a delegation working under the guidance of the Imam, was also party to the diplomatic protocol pertaining to the use of the Ismaili centre in Dushanbe as a Jamat Khanna  as well as the agreement to open other Jamaat Khannas is throughout Tajikistan

In 2005 Shams was involved in negotiations for a series of diplomatic protocols, which led to the establishment, at the invitation of the government of Portugal of the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon. 

He worked in close consultation with the Jamati and where appropriate the Agakhan development network, Ismaili leadership, under the overall guidance of the Imam

In order to understand the complex nature of an independent economic institution,  Shams met the leaders of a variety of academic institutions such as Jews College, Heythrop College, the institute  of ocean sciences, amongst others, which were part of parent universities such as the University of London and the University of British Columbia. 

Recommendations were submitted to His Highness and the Institute was established as a not-for-profit corporation. 

The institute has now been reconstituted is a charity

Shams also played a vital role in helping the IIS form partnerships with the Institute of education, University of London, and McGill University in Montréal Canada. 

The IIS started with a faculty team of three members and a librarian,  initially with two educational programs. 

One in Islamic studies and the other. a waezeen and teacher training program, offering an MA degree from McGill University in Islamic studies and credentials in education from London University, which were a result of these partnerships. 

The research and publication programs were initiated as recommended by the Ismaili Association Paris conference of 1975. 

With the help of the late Professsor Mushin Mahdi  of Harvard university, Shams  identified leading scholars to contribute to the institutes graduate training programs in partnership with McGill and London universities. 

He also worked with imminent scholars such as Professor Muhammad Arkoun, Wilfred Madelung, Toshihiko Izutzu, Annemarie Schimmel. 

He coordinated with Farhad Daftary, Who from 1984 onwards was in the process of finalising his research for a book relating to that is Mileys which was published in 1990 by Cambridge University press “ The Ismailis- Their History & Doctrines” 

At the establishment of the Institute’s  Paris branch under the guidance of his Highness the Aga Khan Shams’ coordination & work with various scholars there including the renowned Iranian thinker Daryush Shayegan,  gave the Institute of Ismaili studies the benefit of Islamic studies from both, Anglo American and French European perspectives

With the governors of the IIS, Shams met Professor Henry Corbin whose work reflects a deep understanding of the esoteric dimensions of Islam. 

After Professor Corrin’s  death Shams collaborated with Mrs Stella Corbin to publish English translations of some of her husbands works on Ismailism. Armed with this  help and support of Professor Mahdi, Shams played a pivotal role in recruiting a strong faculty for the Paris branch. 

However as a result of a review of the entire IIS operations which began in 1985, the IIS paris branch was later closed down.

At the Imam’s guidance, Shams had also prepared in number of exploratory  conceptual papers that led to the establishment of the Agakhan university (AKU). 

The first of these papers submitted in 1981 served as a basis for the Pakistan government’s  charter for the first private university in Pakistan with an international remit, using the Imamat’s  programs in the fields  such as education economic, social development culture and architecture,  as potential faculties in different parts of the world. 

In the overall scheme of things it was a herculean task undertaken by the “owners representative board”  chaired and led by Dr Vazir Shams kassim-lakha which has contributed to realising the present Imam’s vast vision of the University and its role in the Muslim and developing world. 

A  vision which is still unfolding. 

Meanwhile Shams journey of contributing to various educational endeavours at IIS continued.

In 1995 he was appointed as the director of special projects in which capacity he was privileged to work on a variety of topics.

At a dinner on 19th October 2003, held at the National History Museum London to mark the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Ismaili studies, attended by well wishes and supporters, and also by the global Ismaili leadership, His Highness the Agakhan recognised Shams  work in bringing intellectual rigour to research into the community’s strategic development by stating the following

“Shams has been the recipient of all sorts of queries of mine in the past years, ...and he has received in the past decade some of the most difficult ethical and theological questions that I could have put to him within the Ismaili Tariquah,  and within the general face of Islam... Shams has been a valiant soldier and a wise intellect, to look at issues with the same knowledge, with the same analytical capacity which has marked our own history in time, and so I want to take this occasion to say to Shams that he has been a magnificent soldier in the Institute of Ismaili studies.”

His New book published by IIS and IPL http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php ... pic&t=9379

[This from “Shams Vellani short Biography” has been composed by colleagues at the Institute of Ismaili studies London following interviews with shams vellani]  source IIS -confirmation and any clarification requested from IIS
Last edited by mahebubchatur on Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Associated Company - IPL

Post by mahebubchatur »

Islamic Publications Limited is an associated company who print books including recently 2 Farman books, and this company claims copyright and publishing rights IP.

Who is Islamic Publication Limited. (IPL) 

This is a company registered in UK in 1980. This is not named in the constitution of 1986 and 1998.  The main activity on registration was that of Printers

Directors of this company are as follows 

Naguib Kheraj  - appointed in 1995 - (Also a Director and Trustee of IIS)?

Shafik Sachedina- appointed in 1995 ( Also at IIS LIF and DJI in London and Lisbon) 

Zauhar Meghji- Appointed in 1997 (Also at IIS in London) 

(Appointments under the Ismaili constitution are for 3 years with a maximum of 2 terms)

The Sole Shareholder of IPL  is AKD Limited

This is an off shore company registered in Guernsey. Directors and beneficial shareholders of the company are not disclosed. 

IPL business and Income

IPL’s entire business and income is stated to be from United Kingdom, (principally from IIS - The Institue of Ismaili studies. The current UK Ismaili council President, Vice President, or UK ITREB chairman are not Directors of IPL. (they should be constitutionally) 

IPL business address 

This is the same address as IIS at The Aga Khan Centre in London

IPL - Who has Significant control 

The entity with significant control of IPL is stated  as “The Ismaili Imamat” in Lisbon Portugal. (This is an entity constituted and registered in Lisbon Portugal - Details of this & the constitutional instrument are not available & have been requested but not provided by the leadership in control) - The Ismaili Imamat as registered must not be confused with the person of Imam and his authority & Noor)

Link to more at 

http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php ... pic&t=9397

IPL has claimed copyright to the publication of the Ismaili constitution and Farmans but not provided the evidence despite repeated requests to IPL and the Ismaili community Leadership in control

New Board Members of IPL on 13 Dec 2020, & copy right claim by IPL

After the filing the copyright lawsuit in April 2010, the lawyer’s registered a copyright on Farmans in Canada, And in another in 2019 (see below)

They have registered the copyright in the name of Aga Khan, His Highness Prince Karim. (However In the Ismaili constitution Hazar Imam has stated his formal name as Hazar Imam is “ Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini, His Highness Prince Aga Khan,

Therefore Hazar Imam Aga Khannis the owner of the copyright.

However in the 2 books published in 2019, the copyright is claimed by Islamic publications Limited ?

Question to Leadership - No response yet. Did Hazar Imam issue a Farman regarding these registrations. Can we have a copy and the related deliberations & recommendations by IPL/LIF/IIS/DJI which will include
1. Why a copy right only on the two books in 2019 ?
2. why IPL, &
3. Why a copyright over the Tawil and Talim of the Quran, by the Noor e Imam e Zaman ?
4. Why when Hazar Imam allowed us to have keep & share Farmans. They are our Farmans given under our Bayah (covenant and contract)
👇🏽
If there is/are other court cases in future this may also require to be clarified by Aga Khan - Hazar Imam & or court

On 13 December the following resigned and new Board members of IPL are as follows were registered.

Resignations on 13 Dec 2020

Shafik Sachedina
&
Zauhar Meghji


NEW IPL Board of Directors
👇🏽

MOTANI, Habib
Correspondence address
10 Handyside Street, London, United Kingdom, N1C 4DN
Role ACTIVE
Secretary
Appointed on
13 December 2020


KARIM, Rahim Nizar
Correspondence address
10 Handyside Street, London, United Kingdom, N1C 4DN
Role ACTIVE
Director
Date of birth
November 1983
Appointed on
13 December 2020
Nationality
British
Country of residence
England
Occupation
Research Analyst

KASSAM, Alykhan
Correspondence address
10 Handyside Street, London, United Kingdom, N1C 4DN
Role ACTIVE
Director
Date of birth
February 1972
Appointed on
13 December 2020
Nationality
British
Country of residence
United Kingdom
Occupation
Chartered Accountant


KHERAJ, Naguib
Correspondence address
100j, Eaton Square, London, United Kingdom, SW1W 9AQ
Role ACTIVE
Director
Date of birth
July 1964
Appointed on
12 October 1995
Nationality
British
Country of residence
United Kingdom
Occupation
Banker


MOTANI, Habib
Correspondence address
10 Handyside Street, London, United Kingdom, N1C 4DN
Role ACTIVE
Director
Date of birth
August 1956
Appointed on
13 December 2020
Nationality
British
Country of residence
United Kingdom
Occupation
Lawyer


Copyright Registrations in Canada 2010 & 2019
👇🏽

Farmans

Registration Number:
1078158
Type:
Copyright
Author:
Aga Khan, Prince Karim
Owner:
Aga Khan, Prince Karim
Registration Date:
2010-06-23


FARMAN MUBARAK OF MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM SHAH KARIM AL HUSSAINI AGA KHAN DIAMOND JUBILEE 2017-2018

Registration Number:
1164910
Type:
Copyright
Author:
Aga Khan, His Highness Prince Karim
Owner:
Aga Khan, His Highness Prince Karim
Registration Date:
2019-12-12


FARMAN MUBARAK OF MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM SHAH KARIM AL HUSSAINI AGA KHAN 2011-2013

Registration Number:
1164911
Type:
Copyright
Author:
Aga Khan, His Highness Prince Karim
Owner:
Aga Khan, His Highness Prince Karim
Registration Date:
2019-12-12
Last edited by mahebubchatur on Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Posts: 406
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New IPL Board appointed on 13 December 2020

Post by mahebubchatur »

A New Board of Islamic Publications Limited was appointed on 13 December 2020

Habib Motani (Also a Director & Trustee of IIS)

Karim Rahim Nizar

AlyKhan Kassam

Naguib Kheraj (Also a Director & Trustee of IIS)

Resignations

Long-standing Shafik Sachedina and Zauhar Meghji resigned)
Last edited by mahebubchatur on Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Member of Board of IIS in conversation - Thinking ahead

Post by mahebubchatur »

Letter to Leadership

Karina Govindji, a member of the IIS Board & Amin Mawji (Ismaili community Ambassador AKDN resident Rep for Uganda), admit that the present Ismaili Leadership is not reflective or representative of the community. This, they say, is a failure of the present Leadership. (see link below)

We as leaders must be held to account, adds Amin Mawji, and he quotes Hazar Imam. As President of Aga Khan Ismaili Council for UK he pioneered “one Jamat” in 2009.

Further questions and requests for clarification to the Leadership,

Why did the leadership fail - the root causes ?

Why are they still not inclusive today ?

What should they do now individually and collectively (learning from failures)

What are they doing actively, as Board members, to change, to reverse & correct failures, to embrace, inclusion equality and pluralism as Aga Khan has directed http://ismaili.net/timeline/2020/2020-1 ... ociety.pdf

Watch this conversation - (at 17 min for 4 minutes)
The whole conversation is v interesting & enlightening

The Link
https://youtu.be/Pbw9UJdK0_4
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Financial Accounts & Report Year to 31 Dec 2019

Post by mahebubchatur »

A Copy of the financial accounts and report as filed with Registry
http://ismaili.net/timeline/2019/2019-iis.p

Some Important Notes - clarification in report

Ultimate holding company and controlling parties

Aga Khan Foundation, a foundation registered in Switzerland, has a 98% interest (representing 98 shares) in the equity capital of The Institute of lsmaili Studies. It is the immediate, ultimate and controlling parent company. The remaining two shares are held as follows: One share is held by His Highness the Aga Khan and the remaining share is held by the AKF
(UK).


STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT

Organisational structure

The Trustees have ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the work of The Institute of lsmaili Studies ("The Institute", "liS" or "the charity"): its academic, financial and investment policies and strategic
direction. They delegate the day-to-day management of The Institute to its Co-Director, Dr Farhad Daftary, who operates through departmental heads.

The co-ordination of the work of The Institute is the responsibility of the Co-Director.

The Trustees participate in the STRATEGIC decision-making processes of The Institute through the Co-Director AND the system of sub-committees. Concurrent with the Institute achieving charitable status in 2018, the Trustees created a sub-committee,

The Board of Governors, which comprises of a number of Trustees and some former Directors of The Board of Governors has delegated responsibilities relating to management and operations. (Who are they - names)

Governing document

The Institute of lsmaili Studies is a company limited by guarantee with share capital and was incorporated on 9 August 1977. It became a registered charity on 10 July 2018. The objects and powers
of The Institute were established in its Memorandum of Association and it is governed by its Articles of Association as amended by special resolution on 2 July 2018.

Key Management Personnel

The charity's Trustees, Board of Governors, the Co-Director and the departmental heads comprise the key management personnel of the charity in charge of directing, controlling and running the charity on a day-to-day basis. All Trustees give their time freely and no Trustee received remuneration for their roles in the year.

The pay of all staff is reviewed annually by the Human Resource Committee before being presented to the Board as part of its budget process. Pay is benchmarked periodically across similar organisations.
Pay increases take into account performance, promotions, inflation and cross sector pay levels.

Trustees Induction and Training

Trustees are appointed by the holder(s) of a simple majority of the issued share capital of The Institute. Arrangements are made to ensure that Trustees are aware of the aims and objectives of the charity
and their responsibilities.


Related Parties

The Institute owns no subsidiary companies but itself is owned 98% by the Aga Khan Foundation, a registered foundation in Switzerland. The Institute has common interests with Aga Khan University
Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation (UK) and Islamic Publications Limited.

OBJECTIVES, ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CHARITY

Aims and Objectives

The objects of the charity are for the public benefit, to assist in the advancement of education and learning or any other exclusively charitable object (under the laws of England and Wales), including
(without limiting the generality of the foregoing):

To encourage, extend, increase, disseminate and promote knowledge of, and to promote, conduct and support research (including through the dissemination of the useful results of such research) into, the
religious, spiritual and cultural heritage of the Shia lmami lsmaili Tariqah of Islam, and to conduct and support research into any other religious faiths, beliefs or practices and to disseminate the useful results
thereof.

To establish, carry on, and support the educational institution known by the charity's name and such other educational institutions and programmes as the Board of Trustees sees fit.

Related party transactions

Income represents £7,085,500 {2018: £6,118,000) of grants received from Aga Khan University Foundation {AKUF)

£508,279 (2018: £2,601 ,902) of grants received from Aga Khan Foundation United Kingdom (AKF (UK)), and

£2,600,000 (2018: £3,000,000) of grants received from His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman and a shareholder of the charity.

At 31 December 2019 £21,955 (2018: £7,848) was due to AKUF.

Included within expenditure is £165,577 (2018: £250,796) relating to the purchase of publications from Islamic Publications
Limited (IPL), a company that has a number of common Directors/Trustees with the Institute of lsmaili Studies.
The Institute
has a debtor of £480,685 (2018: £366,618) from IPL, details of which are set out in note 9 to these accounts.

The Gifts in Kind figure of £4,913,677 (2018: £2,396,106) consists of the market rental value and occupancy costs of the new premises and student accommodation, which are owned by AKF (UK). The equivalent is included in expenditure. 2019 is for the full year of occupation whereas 2018 was only from when liS moved in July 2018.
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Insights by Professor Karim, former Co Director of IIS

Post by mahebubchatur »

Professor Karim Shares very important information, and insights with suggestions on matters of governance, inclusion, Academic Board, Library, transparency and ethics.

For example Transparency and ethics have not been put into practice at IIS.
"IIS developed an AKDN “ethical framework” two decades ago; however, this theoretical document does not provide guidance for actual deontological practice. There remains ambiguity about the pragmatics of ethics in contemporary Ismaili institutions. Narratives on this subject have sometimes drifted towards trivialization; for example, one Jamati periodical’s feature on an “Ethic of the Month” seemed to reduce long-term values to fleeting tastes (The Ismaili Bulletin, Issue 54, March 2018)."


Institute of Ismaili Studies - Historical Aspirations and contemporary possibilities
By KARIM H. KARIM - Published 10 January 2021

(The author is Director of Carleton University’s Centre for the Study of Islam and former Co-Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies)

A New Face

Recent appointments to the governance structures of the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) present an opportunity to consider its way forwards.

The substantial reconstitution of the Board of Governors appears to initiate a new phase for this key Imamat institution, which occupies a unique place in-between Jamati and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) organizations.

This is a time of particular significance as the Governors are tasked with guiding the IIS towards its 50th anniversary in 2027.

Mawlana Hazar Imam met with leaders of the Ismailia Association and Ismaili scholars in April 1975 in Paris. A decision was taken at the world conference to establish the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Photo: Ilm magazine, October 1975.

The concept of the Institute was formally discussed in 1975 in the historic Paris Conference of the Ismaili Associations, at which Mawlana Hazar Imam presided.

He announced the IIS’s establishment in a Talika to the international Jamat on December 13, 1977. The institution began with a very small staff occupying one floor of a London building. Growing and traversing the city for four decades, the IIS settled into its purpose-built home at the Aga Khan Centre in 2018.

It currently has research, teaching and support staff of over a hundred and has seen some 650 graduate students pass through its doors.

Scores of publications and several sets of curricular materials have been produced.

Alumni work around the world in a variety of professions and have particularly enriched the knowledge base of the worldwide Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Boards (ITREBs).

Unintended Consequences

The Institute, which has a very distinct institutional character, operates in an organizationally and intellectually liminal space.

Governors have played an unusual hands-on role in the operation of this academic organization.

Although the IIS’s educational endeavours are limited to the community, it positions itself in the public sphere.

Unlike similar scholarly bodies, it does not identify as a theological seminary or a divinity school.

It is a post-graduate institution whose students receive degrees from various universities, including the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

IIS publishes materials on Ismaili, Shia, Quranic and Central Asian studies authored by its own researchers and external scholars.

Islamic Publications Limited (IPL), an affiliate, produces them with the imprimaturs of presses such as I.B. Tauris and Oxford University Press. Whereas substantial work has been carried out in examining Arabic and Persian documents, the study of Indic manuscripts (bearing content such as Ginans) has been miniscule in the last four decades.

Research is also conducted on the transnational Ismaili community’s living traditions, but it is not published for the most part.

The Institute prioritizes a rationalistic and civilization-centred approach over faith perspectives in its course instruction and religious education curricula for the global Jamat.

These characteristics, viewed as appropriate for the IIS’s particular mandate, have, however, raised an air of ambivalence that has apparently produced unintended consequences.

A number of students in the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH), who arrive at the Institute of Ismaili Studies expecting a faith-friendly academic approach undergo cognitive dissonance (Magout, 2020, chapter 6). Most alumni do not list the Institute on their CVs or LinkedIn profiles; faculty members have been leaving for university positions as soon as they secure them; and one of the two Co-Directors’ posts has remained unfilled for almost a decade.

Furthermore, donors who have contributed substantially to the endowment are perplexed by the asymmetry in Ismaili areas of research.

Aspirations for Excellence

At its founding, the IIS was compared to learned institutions like the Dar al-Ilm and Al-Azhar University, which were established a thousand years ago under the aegis of Fatimid Imam-Caliphs. Al-Azhar survived the fall of the Fatimids and flourishes today as a prominent centre of Muslim learning.

Can one expect that the IIS will also function for hundreds of years?

Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether it will make a lasting impact. What will the role of the governance structure be in helping it achieve this?
Although the Institute is a globally-recognized hub of Ismaili Studies, it has some ways to travel before being acknowledged as a centre of scholarly excellence.

It recently made a selection of books available electronically, but many important IIS contributions remain absent in cyberspace and from most bookstores and university as well as public libraries. It is also unfortunate that only a handful of its more than 120 books have done well in academic citation indices.

One could argue that standard scholarly metrics are inappropriate for an institution whose aspirations are drawn from millennial-long history. Is it more apt then to measure the Institute’s performance in terms of the Ismaili past? Of the many luminaries in previous eras, the most well-known outside the community are the Ikhwan al-Safa (circa 10th century), Nasir-i Khusraw (d. 1088) and Nasir al-Din Tusi (d. 1274). Satpanthi Pirs conducted ingenious syntheses of Indic and Islamic traditions that stand as major human achievements of pluralist engagement.

These intellectuals are exemplars of excellence whose contributions have been of universal significance. They maintained a rigorous independence of thought within parameters of the Ismaili movement and its intellectual universe.

Given the aspirations for the IIS, should we expect it to provide the conditions for nurturing scholars of similar calibre in our time?

Contemporary Values as Metrics

Contrarily, one can contend that it is not right to apply historical standards to 21st century contexts. Perhaps the benchmarks for success are to be drawn from the community’s current emphases on ethics, meritocracy, and pluralism. This topic is addressed here only with reference to IIS’s Boards.

The new Governors are drawn from commercial and academic sectors, and they include some IIS alumni. Mawlana Hazar Imam continues as Chairman. Membership of the current Board of Governors (BoG), which began its term on December 13, 2020, is remarkably different from earlier ones in size, gender, age, ethnicity, geographic scope, and outlook.

Although the IIS has been an international institution since inception, preceding Boards consisted almost entirely of middle aged men of British residence, with the balance tilting towards commercial worldviews. The incoming BoG’s average age has dropped considerably in comparison to the preceding one. There are now six women and eight men, and half of the Governors are currently located outside the UK.

Eight newcomers are academics, most of whom have taught at universities. Several individuals have had experience in Jamati institutions, including ITREB, which is a major partner of the IIS. It is also noteworthy one Governor has professional expertise in diversity and inclusion.

There has been some non-Ismaili presence previously; however, this BoG’s members are all Ismaili. When Professor Mohammed Arkoun passed away in 2010, the remaining six Governors were all South Asian men of East African provenance.

Whereas the new BoG is enriched by the presence of other ethnicities, all three members of the Board of Trustees (BoT), the IIS’s primary governing body and of which the BoG is a sub-committee, are UK residents of South Asian background, as are all four Board members of Islamic Publications Limited. Full time academics are absent from the BoT and IPL.

The former does, however, have a female Trustee. There is much more pluralist inclusion than in earlier manifestations of the institution’s governance structures, but they have considerable room for improvement.

A truly unique characteristic of the previous BoG was not identity but longevity. Its more than 25-year term was one of the lengthiest in the world.

Whereas this provided continuity and familiarity with the work at hand, shorter tenures usually mitigate detrimental tendencies in such organizations. Stretches that are longer than seven years seem inadvisable.

The presence of new university-linked Governors should help to assert academic norms in matters such as standardized merit-based pay scales rather than particular arrangements for some employees; remuneration for performance adjudicated according to published benchmarks instead of bonuses based on ambiguous criteria; and discontinuation of consulting contracts with Governors.

Notably, the current separation of Board members from IIS’s remunerated staff makes the organizational chart look less like the M.C. Escher lithograph “Relativity”.

Ethics, Ambiguity, and Credibility

Ismaili history has seen the development of ethical codes in the works of Qadi Nu’man (d. 974), dai Ahmad al-Naysaburi (d. circa 11th century), Pir Sadardin (d. circa 14th century), and Imam Mustansirbillah II (d. 1475). Writing at a time of deep corruption in the Fatimid state, al-Naysaburi warned that “chaos will reign” with the failure of integrity among the Imam’s leaders (Klemm and Walker, 2011, p. 75). The IIS developed an AKDN “ethical framework” two decades ago; however, this theoretical document does not provide guidance for actual deontological practice. There remains ambiguity about the pragmatics of ethics in contemporary Ismaili institutions. Narratives on this subject have sometimes drifted towards trivialization; for example, one Jamati periodical’s feature on an “Ethic of the Month” seemed to reduce long-term values to fleeting tastes (The Ismaili Bulletin, Issue 54, March 2018). Given the importance that the community gives to the subject of ethics, serious issues like conflicts of interest, cronyism, nepotism, harassment, and bullying, which unfortunately appear over time in most human organizations, will need to be dealt with much more effectively and coherently. These issues must be an integral part of a 21st century code of conduct that provides clear guidance for everyone involved with the work of Jamati as well as AKDN institutions.

Systemic deficiencies in institutional procedures have unpredictable outcomes and can be factors for reputational loss. Incoming academic Governors will know that ambiguous chains of authority in scholarly institutions lead to the unchecked promotion of pet projects with dubious merit. A book published in 2018 by the Institute (but not initiated by its Department of Academic Research and Publications) was reviewed in a recent issue of the journal Arabica. The reviewer, who is the Director of the University of Lausanne’s Institute of the History and Anthropology of Religions, assessed it to be “a book of propaganda … without method and completely devoid of critical analysis” (Halawi, 2020, 315). Such unfortunate situations can be avoided by instituting an academic editorial board that oversees IIS’s scholarly publications to replace largely ambiguous practices of vetting manuscripts for “sensitivities.” (Such an editorial board already exists for the Quranic Studies Series.) The new Governors will also be aware of the importance of ensuring that the institution’s faculty, students and academic visitors have ready access to library materials that reflect a plurality of views, including those that are considered to be “sensitive.” Such efforts will assist in enhancing the IIS’s scholarly credibility in academic circles.

Transparency and Demarcations of Authority

Despite the noblest of intentions, the tendency in human organizations is for power to accumulate in a few persons.

Whereas the doubling of the number of Governors to 14 offers advantages, it may also produce the conditions for the emergence of a hierarchy and the marginalization of some individuals. A horizontal relationship and equitable sharing of information in the globally-constituted BoG is important.

Fair and optimal participation by Governors can be ensured by upholding transparency.

Transparency and disclosure will not only strengthen the corporate governance framework, but also provide Mawlana Hazar Imam with pertinent information.

It is expected that Hazar Imam will meet with the Governors and Directors once a year, with respective Board committees working on specific policy issues in the interim.

The transnational BoG has the challenge of working efficiently across continents. Given these circumstances, safeguarding the greatest possible diversity in every committee will help ensure the pluralist expression of views. This should help to mitigate the influence of cliques and undue bias for or against specific issues and employees.

A key consideration facing the new Governors is the extent of the BoG’s involvement in operational matters. Healthy, well-functioning institutions are characterized by clear demarcations of authority and function, with Boards having confidence in duly-appointed Directors to take charge of administration. Clear protocols regarding Governors’ communications with employees, which rarely occur in universities, ensure that administrative authority is not undermined. Scholarly conventions should also determine the leadership of various organizational committees (academic, curricular, and community relations as well as finance and human resources).

A Potential Turning Point

The strong presence of university-based academics in the Institute’s new BoG signals that scholarly priorities will be paramount in the years to come. This Board’s tenure has the potential for being a turning point. It has the opportunity to put the IIS on the path to globally-recognized excellence by moving closer to academic norms of organization and outlook. Professor Mohammed Arkoun used to speak of “intellectual modernity” in contemporary Muslim contexts. Such a disposition requires not only scholarly rigour but the confidence to conduct critical introspection. There are important discussions to be had about the adoption of greater academic freedom, critical inquiry, and the broaching of “sensitive” topics as well as about effective ways to engage with the transnational Jamat, with which the Institute has an integral relationship. Governors will constantly have to account for the dual contexts of community and public scholarship. This calls for skillful and conscientious navigation between the shores of the parochial and the universal. The likes of the Ikhwan al-Safa, Nasir-i Khusraw, Nasir al-Din Tusi and Pir Sadardin have shown us that this is eminently possible.
Date posted: January 10, 2021.

link
https://simerg.com/2021/01/10/institute ... ibilities/
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

Letter to IIS re new Article by Prof Karim

Post by mahebubchatur »

Awaiting a response to earlier letters and request. A further letter to IIS, LIF & Council-ITREB - by email


Please pass this to each new Board Member of IIS and the controlling group & Dept Heads.

Title - Institute of Ismaili Studies - Historical Aspirations and contemporary possibilities

By Professor KARIM H. KARIM - Published 10 January 2021

Professor Karim former Co Director of IIS shares very important information with excellent insights and constructive suggestions, which the New Board should read and consider.

An overview & comment by M Chatur

A new Board was appointed on 13thDecember 2020. “The preceding IIS Boards consisted almost entirely of middle aged men of British residence, with the balance tilting towards commercial world-views, and of south Asian origin culture and mindsets”

IIS operates in an “intellectually liminal space”. Diversity and inclusion is still an issue “IIS’s primary governing body of which the BoG is a sub-committee, are all UK residents of South Asian background. As are all four Board members of Islamic Publications Limited. Full time academics are absent from the BoT and IPL.” (They are all in fact from the same “echo chamber” - Karina/A Mawji interview)

One of the two Co-Directors’ posts has remained unfilled for almost a decade. Last Co Director was Professor Karim who resigned. The present Co Director F Daftary is a non Ismaili academic scholar
The Board of Governors will meet once a month, BOT’s once a Year with Hazar Imam.

The day to day Management of IIS is delegated to the Co Director – F Daftery, who has delegated the management to the same controlling group (for many decades). Change at this at this level, is critical.
Ethics is only a theory at IIS - IIS developed an AKDN “ethical framework”two decades ago; however, this theoretical document does not provide guidance for actual deontological practice. There remains ambiguity about the pragmatics of ethics in contemporary Ismaili institutions. Narratives on this subject have sometimes drifted towards trivialization; for example, one Jamati periodical’s feature on an “Ethic of the Month” seemed to reduce long-term values to fleeting tastes (The Ismaili Bulletin, Issue 54, March 2018).

Given the importance that the community gives to the subject of ethics, serious issues like conflicts of interest, cronyism, nepotism, harassment, and bullying, which unfortunately appear over time in most human organizations, will need to be dealt with much more effectively and coherently. These issues must be an integral part of a 21st century code of conduct that provides clear guidance for everyone involved with the work of Jamati as well as AKDN institutions.

The transnational BoG has the challenge of working efficiently across continents. Given these circumstances, safeguarding the greatest possible diversity in every committee will help ensure the pluralist expression of views. This should help to mitigate the influence of cliques and undue bias for or against specific issues and employees.

Incoming academic Governors will know that ambiguous chains of authority in scholarly institutions lead to the unchecked promotion of pet projects with dubious merit. IIS should have an academic editorial Board

Despite the noblest of intentions, the tendency in human organizations is for power to accumulate in a few persons. Whereas the doubling of the number of Governors to 14 offers advantages, it may also produce the conditions for the emergence of a hierarchy and the marginalization of some individuals.
Transparency is not upheld and like ethics, is a theory at IIS. A horizontal relationship and equitable sharing of information in the globally-constituted BoG is important. Fair and optimal participation by Governors can be ensured by upholding transparency. Transparency and disclosure will not only strengthen the corporate governance framework, but also provide Mawlana Hazar Imam with pertinent information.

A key consideration facing the new Governors is the extent of the BoG’sinvolvement in operational matters. Healthy, well-functioning institutions are characterized by clear demarcations of authority and function, with Boards having confidence in duly-appointed Directors to take charge of administration. Clear protocols regarding Governors’ communications with employees, which rarely occur in universities, ensure that administrative authority is not undermined. Scholarly conventions should also determine the leadership of various organizational committees (academic, curricular, and community relations as well as finance and human resources). (Meeting formally at a Board meeting once a month will not achieve the change needed)

It is advisable to have an academic editorial board that oversees IIS’s scholarly publications to replace largely ambiguous practices of vetting manuscripts for “sensitivities.” (Such an editorial board already exists for the Quranic Studies Series.)

Library materials reflecting plurality of views is not available. The new Governors will also be aware of the importance of ensuring that the institution’s faculty, students and academic visitors have ready access to library materials that reflect a plurality of views, including those that are considered to be “sensitive.” Such efforts will assist in enhancing the IIS’s scholarly credibility in academic circles.

Unlike similar scholarly bodies, IIS does not identify as a theological seminary or a divinity school. (It is a post-graduate institution with about 100 staff and 650 students

IIS publishes materials on Ismaili, Shia, Quranic and Central Asian studies (authored by its own researchers and external scholars). Islamic Publications Limited (IPL), an affiliate, produces them.

The study of Indic manuscripts (bearing content such as Farmans & Ginans)has been miniscule in the last four decades.

Research is conducted on the transnational Ismaili community’s living traditions, but it is not published for the most part.

Institute prioritizes a “rationalistic and civilization-centred approach” over faith perspectives in its course instruction and religious education curricula for the global Jamat. These characteristics, have raised an air of ambivalence that has apparently produced unintended consequences.

A number of students in the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH), who arrive at the Institute of Ismaili Studies expecting a faith-friendly academic approach undergo cognitive dissonance. Faculty members have been leaving for university positions

Donors who have contributed substantially to the endowment are perplexed by the asymmetry in Ismaili areas of research.

Only a handful of its more than 120 books have done well in academic citation indices.

The incoming BoG’s average age has dropped considerably. There are now six women and eight men, and half of the Governors are currently located outside the UK. Eight newcomers are academics, most of whom have taught at universities. Several individuals have had experience in Jamati institutions, including ITREB, (a major partner of IIS)

IIS’s educational endeavours are limited to the community, but IIS positions itself in the public sphere.

A truly unique characteristic of the previous BoG was not identity, but longevity. Its more than 25-year term was one of the lengthiest in the world. Whereas this provided continuity and familiarity with the work at hand, shorter tenures usually mitigate detrimental tendencies in such organizations. Stretches that are longer than seven years seem inadvisable.

The presence of new university-linked Governors should help to assert academic norms in matters such as standardized merit-based pay scales rather than particular arrangements for some employees; remuneration for performance adjudicated according to published benchmarks instead of bonuses based on ambiguous criteria; and discontinuation of consulting contracts with Governors. Notably, the current separation of Board members from IIS’s remunerated staff

Ismaili history has seen the development of ethical codes in the works of Qadi Nu’man (d. 974), daiAhmad al-Naysaburi (d. circa 11th century), Pir Sadardin (d. circa 14th century), and Imam Mustansirbillah II (d. 1475). Writing at a time of deep corruption in the Fatimid state, al-Naysaburi warned that “chaos will reign” with the failure of integrity among the Imam’s leaders (Klemm and Walker, 2011, p. 75).

Systemic deficiencies in institutional procedures have unpredictable outcomes and can be factors for reputational loss.

A book published in 2018 by the Institute (but not initiated by its Department of Academic Research and Publications) was reviewed in a recent issue of the journal Arabica. The reviewer, who is the Director of the University of Lausanne’s Institute of the History and Anthropology of Religions, assessed it to be “a book of propaganda … without method and completely devoid of critical analysis” (Halawi, 2020, 315).

The strong presence of university-based academics in the Institute’s new BoGsignals that scholarly priorities will be paramount in the years to come. This Board’s tenure has the potential for being a turning point. It has the opportunity to put the IIS on the path to globally-recognized excellence by moving closer to academic norms of organization and outlook. This requires not only scholarly rigour but the confidence to conduct critical introspection.
Governors will constantly have to account for the dual contexts of community and public scholarship. This calls for skilful and conscientious navigation between the shores of the parochial and the universal. (The likes of the Ikhwan al-Safa, Nasir-i Khusraw, Nasir al-Din Tusi and Pir Sadardin have shown us that this is eminently possible)

Link to full article - http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php ... 1799#71799


M Chatur. 11 January 2021
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

Letter from Professor Karim replies & comments

Post by mahebubchatur »

Letter from Professor Karim, former Co Director, and replies with important information action about the Institute of Ismaili studies

Dear Professor Karim

YAM- Thank you. My response is not a reconstruction, but sharing my analysis understanding with related facts and feedback, which in fact you requested through simerg & will respond !
👇🏽
“We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a Comment.

Below are some interesting comments so far (excluding mine) which the New IIS Governors should also consider.


Prof M. Pirani
January 12, 2021 @ 9:51 am

Thank you Prof Karim for a frank and considered piece. Just to add to this from my limited experience of IIS:

1. Suspicion on part of the staff and others about too much nepotism;
2. Very poor recruitment process – open to Equality legislation;
3. Similarly no specified criteria for promotion;
4. The salary system very arbitrary;
5. Staff representation needed on the Governing Board;
6. Not sure if there is academic Board and if not it needs one; and
7. Once the curriculum is well settled a review is needed.

Good achievements:
1. Excellent teaching material but needs to review it in the next few years; and
2. Excellent publications.

AF
January 11, 2021 @ 9:27 pm

I’m grateful for Dr. Karim’s thoughts on the history and current identity of the IIS. Who better to speak to its successes and shortcoming than its former director? As a graduate of the IIS, the issues that Dr. Karim spoke about resonate with my experience of schooling there. Decisions were sometimes made with no rhyme or reason, transparency was opaque, the quality of instructors was sometimes lacking. What Dr. Karim has laid out here is a very critical yet necessary analysis of where the IIS has come from and where it needs to go in order to succeed in the future. I believe the new board will provide that important direction as I’ve seen first hand that at times the previous board’s conduct lacked professionalism. I recognize the names of several of these new governors. What heartens me is that many of them have ties to the IIS and I could see them wanting to improve the reputation and impact of the Institute over time.

One thing that Dr. Karim hasn’t mentioned was the major pivot that the IIS had to undertake with the commencement of the STEP (Secondary Teacher Education Programme) graduate program in 2007. To this day, I don’t think that the IIS has fully come to terms with the realization that THE IMAM has shifted the IIS’ mandate from being a purely academic/research institute to becoming a key player in the formation of our community’s educators. It is high time that the IIS pays considerable attention to its role as a teaching institution and that it provides STEP students and graduates the same level of care, trust, opportunities, and regard to these graduates who serve the Jamat across the world and in varying capacities. While many if not most GPISH (Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities) graduates go on to work outside the Jamat or the AKDN, STEP graduates play vital roles in our Jamat and the IIS and the Jamat more broadly need to understand the value, scholarship, expertise, responsibility, and potential that STEP teachers (can) play in their Jamat and beyond.

Reply

Nazir Walji
January 10, 2021 @ 7:55 pm

Thank you Karim; there is food for thought in your assertions. What I look at is this: Is the IIS following the lines of our previous schools of thought or is still in its infancy? Should our progeny be having a conversation 50 years from now that might have answers to your questions?

Reply

Badruddin A.
January 10, 2021 @ 8:21 pm

I have just finished reading Professor Karim’s thoughtful piece and the two comments including Nazir Walji’s that have been posted. Walji asks, “Should our progeny be having a conversation 50 years from now that might have answers to your questions?” Hopefully that 50 year duration is meant to convey the IIS’s slow path to progress thus far, with the actual hope that the reconstituted body will get things rolling along very very fast and efficiently, and keeping merit as its goal and objective. 50 days to see some meaningful changes? I hope that Nazir agrees!

Reply


Amin Merani
January 10, 2021 @ 6:42 pm

A timely muse on introspection and the road map for IIS’s 50 Anniversary!
Amin Merani

Reply


Tazim
January 11, 2021 @ 2:01 am

Another topic to address is the intended audiences of IIS scholarly publications and their accessibility to the Jamat.



On 12 Jan 2021, at 12:47, Karim Karim <karimkarim@cunet.carleton.ca> wrote:

Dear Mahebub Chatur,

To reiterate, you did not have permission to reproduce or reconstruct my article. My words speak for themselves to all audiences. They do not need an interpreter. Not do I have to explain what parts of your reconstruction were incorrect. This is my last communication on this matter.

Sincerely,
Professor Karim H. Karim,
School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University.


On Jan 12, 2021, at 7:24 AM, Mahebub Chatur <mahebub.chatur@me.com> wrote:

Ya Ali Madad. Thank you.

I posted your full article AND then my thoughts and perspective in a simplified matter having regard to the diversity of our audience ( the Jamat and Volunteers - down the line and at local level globally - & on social media)

If there is anything I have said which is factually incorrect, or you need to clarify specifically from your perspective , let me know, & let us have that conversation to understand and Learn from each other. That is also what Hazar Imam says we must do - right ? Pluralism?

I am sorry if I have touched any nerves, but as you know one way “language diplomacy” does not work (esp. with, the “south Asian“ controlling clique, who you and I both know well. You more than me perhaps.

Kind regards

M Chatur


On 11 Jan 2021, at 17:46, Karim Karim <karimkarim@cunet.carleton.ca> wrote:

&#65279;Dear Mahebub Chatur,

I have previously written to you when you rearranged my words in an article of mine to present your own perspective and I find myself having to do so again.

You have reconstructed my current article, published yesterday in Simerg, without permission from me or the publisher. Several distortions of my discourse are presented in your email message. This seriously misrepresents my writing and me.

You have stated that you are concerned about ethics. Please adhere conscientiously to the ethics of publishing and the moral rights of authors. These matters are also governed by international law on copyright.

Sincerely,
Professor Karim H. Karim.
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

Dr Khalil Andhani on Ismaili theology and IIS/Leadership

Post by mahebubchatur »

New feedback facts and questions by Dr Khalil Andhani & video below.

“We, at the Jamati and institutional level, totally lack a forum, space, or institution that allows for the exploration, construction, and proliferation of Ismaili Muslim theology.” (Khalil Andhani 21 Jan 2021) see below This is against the guidance and directions of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Letter to IIS/LIF/ITREBS/COUNCILS

Please also respond to the following, including the practice of exclusion marginalisation and blocking of our Farmans & faith (which are clearly against farmans of Hazar Imam). Please also confirm all the new members of the IIS Board have been informed regarding earlier requests, and now this. 

Mahebub  Chatur 21 Jan 2021


21 January 2021 
By Dr Khalil Andhani 

What do we mean when we say "Ismaili theology"? 

I have often remarked that the Institute of Ismaili Studies, ITREB and the Jamat at large needs to focus more on constructing, promoting and teaching Ismaili theology.  

We, at the Jamati and institutional level, totally lack a forum, space, or institution that allows for the exploration, construction, and proliferation of Ismaili Muslim theology. 

Every Ismaili Muslim today who actually engages in constructive theology - including Allama Hunzai, Ismaili Gnosis, the late al-wa'z Abualy Aziz, al-wa'z Kamaluddin, and a few others, are doing so at the margins of the Jamati institutions and some of us actually face harsh marginalization for doing this sort of work. 

It was hoped that the IIS would be that space for Ismaili theological production, but it has not aspired to this task. Ironically, one of the most popular speakers/scholars of the IIS is Reza Shah-Kazemi who writes and teaches from a Sufi theological perspective.

Perhaps because our Jamati leaders and educators have an aversion to the word "theology" - easily confusing it with polemics - or simply do not see theology as a priority based on their understanding of the Imam's guidance. 

In this short video, I explain clearly the following:

1) What is Ismaili Theology?

2) What is the difference between the Secular Academic Study of Islam and the Theological Study of Islam?

3) Is Mawlana Hazar Imam against Theology (as several Jamati leaders & scholars have claimed), or does he encourage us to do Theology?

4) Is it Hazar Imam's sole prerogative to produce Ismaili Theology? Or are Ismaili Muslim murids permitted to produce theology?

5) How would an Ismaili Muslim today go about engaging in theological reflection and discourse?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DYKDpOZkjo

Link to earlier requests now in the public domain 

Link http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php ... pic&t=9397

https://twitter.com/chaturmahebub/statu ... 43745?s=12
#AgaKhan #Ismaili

 
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

25th Anniversary of IIS in 2003

Post by mahebubchatur »

On the 25th anniversary of IIS in 2003. There were a number of speeches with guidance & foresight’s by Hazar Imam - His Highness the Aga Khan. And a review & reflections by IIS

QUOTES

 “true jihad is the war that must be waged against the perpetrators of bigotry**, THROUGH spreading of knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance and nourishes the seed of peace that is innately embedded in the human soul.”

** bigot is a person who is obstinately devoted to negative prejudices, even when those prejudices are proven to be false.- a person who is intolerant , with opinions based on prejudices not facts. 

 “unless we have the courage to face unpleasant reality, there is no way that we can aspire realistically to a better future.” 

“There are attempts at transforming what are meant to be fluid, progressive, open-ended, intellectually informed and spiritually inspired traditions of thought, into hardened, monolithic, absolutist and obscurantist positions.”

“On the opposite sides of the fissures, are the ultra-rich and the ultra-poor, the Shia and the Sunni, the Arab and the non-Arab, the theocracies and the secular states, the search for normalisation versus the valuing of pluralism, those who search for and are keen to adopt modern, participatory forms of government (leadership) versus those who wish to re-impose supposedly ancient forms of governance.” 

“What should have been brotherhood has become rivalry, generosity has been replaced by greed and ambition, the right to think is held to be the enemy of real faith, and anything we might hope to do to expand the frontiers of human knowledge through research is doomed to failure for, in most of the Muslim world, there are neither the structures nor the resources to develop meaningful intellectual leadership.”

“Yet, there are many across the length and breadth of the Muslim world today, who care for their history and heritage, who are keenly sensitive to the radically altered conditions of the modern world. They are convinced that the idea that there is some inherent, permanent division between their heritage and the world of today is a profoundly mistaken idea; and that the choice it suggests between an Islamic identity on one hand and on the other hand, full participation in the global order of today is a false choice indeed.” 

“The Qur’an’s is an inclusive vision of society that gives primacy to nobility of conduct,”

“In what voice or voices, can the Islamic heritage speak to us afresh -- a voice true to the historical experience of the Muslim world yet, at the same time, relevant to the technically advanced but morally turbulent and uncertain world of today?”

Link to  Press release 
https://www.facebook.com/15348147601242 ... 42083/?d=n

Aga Khan speech on 19th Oct 2003 - IIS
https://www.iis.ac.uk/content/video-add ... n-ceremony

25 Years - Anniversary of IIS
https://www.iis.ac.uk/lifelong-learning ... t-25-years
mahebubchatur
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IIS Meeting with Hazar Imam -Aga Khan 18 Feb 2021

Post by mahebubchatur »

IIS New Board meets Hazar Imam #AgaKhan online on 18th February 2021 - Hazar Imams (full guidance- Farmans and minutes not given so far to the Jamat -transparency ! more below)

Professor Ali Asani and Professor Tashmin Khamis reported a meeting with Hazar Imam on 18th Feb 2021. (this was virtual -  who was present is not known yet  - were all Board members present & who else) 

They reported that the IIS  operational plan and budget for the year were presented to Hazar Imam with a set of guiding principles for the workings of the new IIS Board. These were endorsed by Hazar Imam. 

These guiding principles & focus is on three main areas: 
1. mutual trust & respect;
2. responsibility
3. inclusion & belonging. 
Mutual trust and respect, Professor Asani emphasised, was important to sustain and develop an IIS culture built on the sharing of ideas. Inclusion and belonging were also essential in this respect, to ensure an openness of discussion and free exchange of creative thought. 

These code of ethics and policy was further explained & summarised - (includes #pluralism - inclusion & belonging - transparency accountability and inclusive governance) 

Mutual Trust and Respect

* Integrity in our decision making and conduct.
* Conducting our activities with a commitment to transparency.
* Creating the space and freedom for constructive challenge and debate and listening to other points of view.

Responsibility

* Striving for excellence in all we do.
* Being clear about our roles as Governors and the responsibilities of the senior management team and staff.
* Relying on facts, contextual realities, and thoughtful analysis as the basis for sound decision making.
* Focusing on the needs of IIS’ beneficiaries and stakeholders in all our policies and decisions
* Sustaining financial probity and fiscal responsibility.

Inclusion and Belonging

* Building an inclusive and equitable environment.
* Creating a thriving community and a place where everyone can belong.

The IIS’s new Board  met staff and shared their thoughts on, and early plans for, the Institute on March 5th in an online meeting. The full minutes are not published so far. 

The meeting was a chance for the governors, who took up their roles in December 2020, to share their aspirations after their recent inductions and initial Board meetings, as well as an opportunity for staff to get to know them a bit better on a personal level, a process otherwise complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Board will meet IIS students at a second Town Hall on March 19th.

To improve efficiency and to encourage greater collaboration between different areas of IIS 

1. the number of Board-led committees has been reduced and a new committee covering all Jamati Programmes has been formed.
2. The remit of the Academic Committee has been broadened and it will have an increased frequency of meetings going forward.  
3. The existing committees in Finance and HR, and the Constituency Studies Advisory Group will continue with new members from the Board. 

Alongside this, short- to medium-term working groups have been established to address some of the IIS’s key areas of focus: 

1. AKDN Linkages; 
2. Climate and Sustainability; Digital Strategy; 
3. Management Succession Planning; 
4. Review of Resource Allocation; and Student and 
5. Alumni Engagement. 

Achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers has also been earmarked as an important initiative. His Highness repor  commented at the Board meeting on 28th February that obtaining this status would serve the IIS well. 

The Board also underlined the importance of 

* harnessing technology and 
* reflecting and building on the expansion in digital resources and 
* offerings expedited by the Covid-19 pandemic, 
* to expand the IIS’s international reach, particularly across the global Jamat

Before outlining the planned initiatives, the governors reflected on the Institute’s progress ( list of progress not provided) 

Naguib Kheraj, who was re-appointed to the Board in December 2020. “Overall, the IIS has achieved a level of standing and maturity across a lot of different areas of activity in what is a relatively short space of time, and done it in a way which has got the Institute in a position that’s also financially stable, and I think that’s thanks to the leadership and guidance and support we’ve had from His Highness since the beginning and the wonderful work of the team,” 

A number of governors identified the quality of the Institute’s research and publications in Ismaili and Islamic studies and its associated academic reputation as a particular strength. They also emphasised the impact of this in breaking down barriers.

The  IIS’s academic work is “a door for understanding … that has built bridges between diverse Islamic traditions and communities, and non-Muslim communities,” said Dr Shogufa Mir Malekyar. 

Professor Nacim Pak-Shiraz felt that the intellectual tradition and legacy of the last Ismaili centres of learning and its vast libraries in Alamut after their destruction and hundreds of years of polemical writing against the Ismailis, had “finally found a home”.

Others emphasised the importance of people—students, scholars and staff. “It’s the staff and the students and the alumni that make the IIS. It’s not a building or a bunch of books, it’s a group of people, and that’s what I would highlight,” said Naguib Kheraj.

Addressing staff directly, Tashmin Khamis concluded

 “We look forward to working with you with open discussion, we look forward to your creative ideas, we look forward to benchmarking always to best practice, to create that strong institution with a strong purpose.”

https://www.iis.ac.uk/news/new-board-go ... vision-iis
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

Aga Khan’s advice Inclusive Leadership & Best Practice

Post by mahebubchatur »

This latest Leaders assurance endorsed by Aga Khan on 18th Feb 2021 is not new.

For over 25 years #AgaKhan has been asking all Leaders of all the constitutional entities of the community to be and actuslise inclusive & pluralistic Leadership with benchmarking best practice, and stand by our common ethics and values every day in every thing they do.

They have not done that, and they now say they will do so going forward.

We look forward to responses from the New Boards/committees of the IIS

Link to his advice- Farmans for 25+ years
http://ismaili.net/source/chatur-best-practice.pdf
Last edited by mahebubchatur on Sat Aug 07, 2021 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

Former Co Director - Key note address

Post by mahebubchatur »

A critical question today - If there is no real change now, by for example the new Board of IIS, & the constitutional entities how long before history repeats itself & chaos reigns in the Ismaili community again.

Former Co Director of the Institute of Ismaili studies Professor Karim H Karim gave an eloquent, key note address at the Ismaili studies conference with informed insights & facts about the state of present Ismaili leadership, administration bureaucracy, faith, scholarship and the critical need to seek & obey the truth - Dawat al Haq. He spoke of knowledge politics & imposed “claims” of truth by present leadership in control.

Ethical codes & buzz words are used but not practiced. Scholars are asked to promote specific positions & views of the Leadership - and not to challenge leaders positions & policies. For example they will not organise lectures research & publications, where probing questions are asked and addressed - Their Knowledge politics use tactics like gate keeping which restrict access to library collections - and books are withdrawn which are critical of community & imposed policies & truth claims. - The staff, scholars waizeens & faculty have to abide by the limitations and conditions - Some have had a crisis of conscience- The propaganda of the leadership with a pervasive mindset of apologetics is advanced & promoted

Prof Karim added “ Indeed I engaged in the same way in my own community”

He cites guidance/Farmans from Imam, AgaKhan in 1986 & recently. And he draws parallels to the rule of the Fatimid empire by Ismaili Caliphs, who were overthrown by leaders including top military commanders at the time

A critical question today - If there is no real change now, by for example the new Board of IIS, & the constitutional entities how long before history repeats itself & chaos reigns in the Ismaili community again.

He give a number of informed suggestions of the way forward. However
wiill the “clique of leaders in control” want to change or make real change voluntarily. Will the community seek and advance the truth from the Imam and not the imposed truth policies & will of the group of leaders in control.

He explains there is NOW an incipient challenge for change by community members & a sustained critique is beginning to take shape. Therefore & because of social media, Leaders in control cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand, as they did tactically

The search for truth is a central Ismaili Value - Ismailis until a century ago were known as haquiqatis (seekers of the truth) - Sathpanth (path to the truth )

Dawat Al Haq, invitation to and seeking the truth, should be the means and the end - This requires a coming together of Scholars, Volunteers & the community, with mutual understanding & a sincere commitment to common goals for the collective good

Full Video clip starting at 5:08. &#11015;&#65039;

https://twitter.com/chaturmahebub/statu ... 49315?s=21

https://youtu.be/jPxpzAEZ4Ms
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:01 pm

Dr Ali Asani member of IIS Board explains change at IIS

Post by mahebubchatur »

Dr Prof Ali Assani of Harvard & a New member of the IIS Board is attending the current Ismaili studies iconference. day 2

He is Chair of one of the sessions. Other Speakers, for example Prof M Magout today echoed Prof Karim H Karim’s concerns & suggestions. Prof Magout added his IIS experience, concerns, the critical need & suggestions for change. He named Shams Vellani.

Dr Ali Assani responded, & explained that there is a new IIS Board. This is a radicle shift in the thinking at IIS. He said the New IIS Board are asking the hard questions that Prof Karim spoke about. The new Board will be inclusive & responsive and will consider the complaints requests and suggestions.

He said they have met Hazar Imam. He referred to the new guidance approved by Hazar Imam, who said “ This is very very important (see below**) They will implement the Farmans & the ethical and scholarship of Ismaili faith including the exclusion and control of research and content by the previous Board & Leaders

I attended and said that the challenge is the current Farmans and the codes of ethics and best practice are not being implemented and followed top down by those in control. That is the biggest & first challenge for the new Board who will need to be proactive.

I shall look forward to hearing from the new Board and or Dr Assani who also said to Mohammad Magout (University of Leipzig): that he will work with him and that he now knows of the suggestions & concerns by Prof Karim, & Dr K Andhani re Ismaili theology at IIS.

I sent this link with the list of the concerns suggestions and requests to Dr Assani on Zoom. And a reminder by email to the IIS Board http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php ... pic&t=9397

The Video
Dr Assani - starts at 1.33.01

Prof M Magout starts at 28.28

Link
https://youtu.be/AWaWF4cPkCc

** The guiding Principles for IIS Board & Management approved by Hazar Imam in Feb 2021

These guiding principles & focus is on three main areas: 

1. mutual trust & respect;
2. responsibility
3. inclusion & belonging. 
Mutual trust and respect, Professor Asani emphasised, was important to sustain and develop an IIS culture built on the sharing of ideas. Inclusion and belonging were also essential in this respect, to ensure an openness of discussion and free exchange of creative thought. 

These code of ethics and policy was further explained & summarised - (includes pluralism - inclusion & belonging - transparency accountability and inclusive governance) 

Mutual Trust and Respect

* Integrity in our decision making and conduct.
* Conducting our activities with a commitment to transparency.
* Creating the space and freedom for constructive challenge and debate and listening to other points of view.


Responsibility

* Striving for excellence in all we do.
* Being clear about our roles as Governors and the responsibilities of the senior management team and staff.
* Relying on facts, contextual realities, and thoughtful analysis as the basis for sound decision making.
* Focusing on the needs of IIS’ beneficiaries and stakeholders in all our policies and decisions
* Sustaining financial probity and fiscal responsibility.


Inclusion and Belonging

* Building an inclusive and equitable environment.
* Creating a thriving community and a place where everyone can belong

DAY 5 of conference & round table.

This included members of IIS faculties/Board including S Jiwa A Lalani D Asani - There was consensus to ask & address the hard questions & the recommendations which those in control have not, not allowed & resisted.

The question is will the New Board, now ask and more important be able to enforce the wishes of Imam and what is in the collective best interests of Ismaili studies, scholarship, Institutions, and therefore the Jamat/community, and therefore reverse the trend of decline & transmission. Will history be repeated ?
Link to the video
https://twitter.com/chaturmahebub/statu ... 60037?s=12
mahebubchatur
Posts: 406
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Insights & research by Professor Karim H Karim

Post by mahebubchatur »

A concise instructive new article by Prof Karim H Karim re “Khoja Isma’ilis in Canada and the United States” He was a Co-Director of IIS (link below)

He shares insights on when the word Ismaili and Ismailism became an Identifying factor, re Khoja’s, re Sathpanth, re IIS, re generational Leadership by elite “Khoja’s” re constitution, re pluralism re challenges, etc

Some quotations from the article - interesting and thought provoking - (a movement within & the religion, the realities today and the challenges facing the Ismaili community going forward)

“The Satpanth tradition and Khoja cultural identity has been in the process of marginalization since the early 20th century”

“An essentialized Isma’ili Muslim identity is favored over what was, since the movement’s earliest days, a pluralist pursuit of universal truth.”

“The leadership’s education-centered rhetoric on meritocracy has decontextualized societal discrimination with respect to class, race, religion, gender, and other factors. It also belies the reality that members of some families of adherents, especially from East Africa, have tended to be generationally appointed with inordinate frequency to North American & transnational leadership posts.

“There is a rising level of autonomous activity among marginalized members who are using digital media to express discourses that are alternative to those of the centrally controlled jamati communications systems. The coming years will demonstrate the ability of jamat’s leadership to develop a well-defined progressive approach to the larger societal issues which invariably affect community members in Canada and the United States.”

“The institute (IIS)has received hundreds of Satpanth-related manuscripts from communal and family collections since the late 1970s; however, these sources have suffered from neglect and their cataloguing was still awaiting completion in 2021. Harvard University published its catalogue in 1992.”

“Even though the endowment of the IIS has been funded mainly by Khojas, it has produced only three monographs on their tradition. Most of the materials on Satpanth in South Asia, its ginans, and the pivotal Aga Khan Case have been published elsewhere”

“Re IIS “However, little of this is done (by IIS) with reference to the jamat’s own traditions, even though Satpanth and its ginans are the outcomes of a unique and organic religio-cultural pluralism. This heritage is being preserved through online initiatives of individuals”

“The steady devaluation of Satpanth is diminishing the community’s longstanding tradition; it obscures the profoundly pluralist engagement between religious cultures in South Asia, a process in which the community played an integral role”

“The standardization of a multidimensional and multilayered spiritual endeavor into a uniform “Isma’ili” category threatens to reduce a dynamic and open-ended religious search to an essentialized creed.

“ Khojas urgently need to protect their spiritual and cultural heritage and share it with their coreligionists. Navigating inter-ethnic relations is a significant challenge for this community that has publicly put its weight behind the concept and practice of pluralism.”

Link
https://oxfordre.com/religion/view/10.1 ... 0378-e-841
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