The Aziz Foundation’s Scholars’ Induction Day took place on Sunday 29th September at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre and was a busy and inspirational affair. Over a hundred scholars attended, with the vast majority consisting of this year’s cohort, with a sprinkling of alumni.
The day commenced in Al Manaar’s spectacular atrium with Rahima Aziz giving an introductory speech on behalf of the Aziz Family. She touched on her family’s values and the importance of education, which have underpinned the Foundation’s strategic focus on scholarships. She ended by stressing her wholehearted belief in the potential of the Aziz scholars to lift British Muslim communities and wider society, fully enthusing the assembled audience.
Following on from this were the keynote addresses. Miqdaad Versi, Executive Director of the Centre for Media Monitoring, talked about the onus to act in the face of Islamophobia. This was ably complemented by Sh. Suleyman Van Ael’s address – he spoke passionately about effective Muslim leadership needing to work on behalf of society and humanity.
The first session ended with a Q&A panel discussion between community and civil society organisations, with representation from the MCB, NZF, MEND, MCF, ConsortiuM, as well as the NUS, with the newly elected president Zamzam Ibrahim speaking on its behalf. The discussion revolved around the challenges facing British Muslim communities and what these vital organisations were doing to help resolve them. Aziz Scholars took part in the discussion, with thoughtful questions being put to the panel.
The second session gave the scholars the opportunity to reflect on the important issues within their discipline through the medium of group discussions. This gave way to a community fayre, with community organisations pitching their projects and work.
Finally, the day was drawn to a close with networking between scholars. Overall, the entire day was well and truly marked by the sheer energy and dynamism of the Aziz Scholars.