The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies is at the forefront of research and public engagement on the role of Islam in wider society. Working with partners across the University of Cambridge and beyond, from academic institutes to civil society organisations and the government, the Centre has developed a reputation for enriching public debate and knowledge through high-profile and innovative research projects about Islam in the UK, Europe and globally.
The Centre's commitment to high-quality research and public outreach builds on a well-established foundation at Cambridge. It was established in 2008 as the successor to the Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, which was founded in 1960 by Professor Arthur Arberry. That Centre fostered an interest in the Middle East and in Islam among generations of Cambridge scholars, students and the broader public.
The Centre of Islamic Studies is firmly rooted in this twin tradition of research and public engagement. Supported by a generous donation from the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, it is committed to translating its research into high-quality informative outreach initiatives to policy makers and the public, and makes all of its publications available for download for free from here.
Its report 'Contextualising Islam in Britain' won plaudits from the House of Commons Culture committee as a self-managed independent research project capable of retaining broad credibility. The second phase of the project, which brings together Muslim scholars, community activists and faith leaders from a variety of backgrounds across the United Kingdom, deepens reflection on some of the most sensitive and central issues in public debate about Islam today.
Other initiatives include a two-year research project into conversion to Islam, exploring both female and male perspectives; an Islamic studies programme that combines modules taught at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, with modules taught from a different perspective at Cambridge University; workshops that bring practitioners, policy makers and scholars face-to-face; and academic conferences – for example on reforms in Islamic education involving twenty countries, and on the emerging field of the 'Judaeo-Islamic tradition'.
The Centre of Islamic Studies has developed a global reach through its activities and partnerships, and in particular its 'Cambridge in…' series. This initiative disseminates the results of its research projects and explores new perspectives on Islamic studies through a series of joint events with international universities around the world. The Centre also boasts an international fellowship of respected scholars.