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 strives to enrich public debate and knowledge through rigorous and innovative research projects about Islam in the current global age.
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 Alwaleed Philanthropies, it is committed to translating its research into informative outreach initiatives to policy makers and the public, and makes all of its publications available online to download for free.
The Centre supports between two and four post-doctoral research associates whose research ranges widely across topics relevant to the Centre’s remit. We are proud that our researchers all have outreach firmly embedded in their day to day work – whether this is through educating people about varied aspects of Islam, helping organisations like the hospice movement to improve their knowledge and understanding of Muslims or helping to steer government policy in regard of the criminal justice or adoption systems. We have a dedicated research associate studying and teaching about Islamic art – and this has led to superb exhibitions of art in recent years.
The Centre’s other initiatives include contributions to University of Cambridge PhD and MPhil studentships; annual symposia of postgraduate work on Islam in the UK and Europe; educational outreach to schools; regular seminars on current affairs in the Middle East; an annual research conference on an aspect of Islamic studies; and the provision of Arabic teaching to graduate and undergraduate students across the University of Cambridge whose research interests include the Arab and Islamic world. Previous work includes a project on “contextualising Islam in Britain” which won plaudits from the House of Commons culture committee; a research project on anti-Muslim hate crime; and reports on conversion to Islam which generated considerable public and media interest