Winter Student Program 2016 Begins
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) launched its very first Winter Student Program today, Jan. 6, 2016; it will continue till Jan. 11, 2016. Eighteen students from a variety of universities poured into the IIIT office in Herndon, VA, to begin a condensed Islamic Studies program. These young scholars were chosen for the Winter Student Program from a large pool of applicants in a very rigorous selection process.
The six-day intensive has been designed by Dr. Ermin Sinanović, the Director of Research and Academic Programs at IIIT. It is an offshoot of the month-long Summer Student Program, which was initiated many years ago by Dr. Abubaker al-Shingieti, the Executive Director at IIIT. While the Summer Student Program is aimed at graduate students, the Winter Student Program is dedicated to undergraduates.
Both of these student programs offer an alternative lens to the study of Islam as experienced in universities, which are often focused on obscure and arcane theological questions instead of the lived experience of Muslims all over the world, Dr. Ermin Sinanović explained. As a result, “it prevents them from seeing the richness and diversity and heritage of Islam and Muslims,” he said.
As such, the student programs seek to supplement their education with a taste of Islamic Studies and Islamic thought – “what you usually do not get at college,” Dr. Sinanović remarked. The Winter Student Program will give the students a glimpse of the much longer Summer Student Program, he added.
Dr. Yaqub Mirza, President and CEO of Sterling Management Group (SMG), which provides accounting and financial services to IIIT, praised Dr. Sinanović’s efforts, calling it a “fine program, all in one place.” He generously gave signed copies of his book, Five Pillars of Prosperity: Essentials of Faith-Based Wealth Building (White Cloud Press, 2014) to every student, encouraging them to “save in time of plenty and spend in time of need,” as illustrated in Surah Yusuf in the Qur’an.
As the students introduced themselves, it became clear that they hail from every part of the country and are studying a diverse array of disciplines, including social sciences, business studies, and natural sciences. Dr. Sinanović concluded the opening session by advising the students to let the Winter Program be a “time of discovery, opening new lines of research and inquiry for you.” In addition, he hoped that this will be the beginning of a lasting relationship between the students and IIIT, which will become “one of the stations on your path of life-long learning where you will be visiting and revisiting continuously.”
Feel free to read more about the students and schedule of the Winter Students Program!