2023 Annual Symposium on Education in Muslim Societies: Women’s Scholarship and Engagement in Policy, Pedagogy, and Development

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) partnered with the African Youth Center for Sustainable Development (AYCSD) in the Faculty of Legal, Economic, and Social Sciences at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, for the 2023 Symposium which was held on Nov. 28-30, 2023. More than 30 scholars from around the world contributed their research to the presentations that were featured in the Symposium with in-person attendance as well as virtual participation.

The Co-Chairs of this Symposium were Dr. Ilham Nasser and Prof. Nuraan Davids who are also Co-Editors of the Journal of Education in Muslim Societies (JEMS). They, together with Soukaina Taoufik of AYCSD, comprised the planning committee. The organizing committee consisted of Huda Kamareddine, IIIT’s Journals Coordinator; Saulat Pervez, Researcher at IIIT, and Lina El Hanafi (AYCSD). The Symposium themes included:

  • Empowering Women through Education;
  • Women’s Scholarship and Engagement;
  • Educational Initiatives and Challenges for Women;
  • Advocacy Spaces and Achievements;
  • Systems and Institutional Change,
  • Educational Leadership. Each was represented by a separate panel.

The Symposium began on the first day with Opening Remarks in which Dr. Hisham Altalib, President, IIIT, along with officials at Muhammad V University, as well as Soukaina Taoufik, Ilham Nasser, and Nuraan Davids welcomed everyone. This was followed by a keynote address by Dr. Karima Salah-Eddine (Muhammad V University) who spoke about the importance of literacy for girls in rural areas and inclusive education for the marginalized, especially deaf students. This was followed by two panels and a workshop on preparing publishable manuscripts by Prof. Nuraan Davids and Dr. Ilham Nasser. They shared expectations and insights into preparing research manuscripts for publication in JEMS.

Day 2 featured a second keynote address by Dr. Laila Kadiwal (University College London) in which she spoke about the need to decolonize the mainstream representation of Muslim women and highlighted that Muslim women are at the forefront of the struggles against unjust systems in places such as Iran, Afghanistan, and India. Three panel presentations also took place during the day’s proceedings. Panelists hailed from across the world including Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Albania, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States, and Morocco. Online attendees of the Symposium were from many of these countries as well as Pakistan, Turkey, Singapore, Tanzania, Myanmar, amongst others.

The last panel and concluding remarks marked the final day’s proceedings. The day was capped off with a special tour to Fez for in-person participants who had the opportunity to visit the historic Qarawiyyin University library where they received an extraordinary presentation on ancient manuscripts that are diligently preserved and kept under vigilant security. It was a fitting way to end the 2023 Symposium that was focused on Muslim women’s scholarship since Fatima al-Fihri (d. 266 AH) was the founder of this institution which is the oldest continuously operating university of the world.

The detailed program of the 2023 Symposium along with abstracts and bios of presenters are available here. The livestream of the 2023 Symposium can be accessed at the IIIT YouTube channel. The recordings of the Opening Remarks, Keynote Addresses, Panels 1-6, as well as individual paper presentations can be viewed here. For any questions, please contact