The interest in the 1st Islamic Education Summer School at Warwick has exceeded expectations. Twenty-five delegates, from the UK and Europe, attended the programme. Participants included practitioners, research students, post-doctorate students and policy makers who were interested in exploring how education is imagined within the Muslim faith along with its diverse classical and modern expressions. The organisation and delivery of Islamic education provision within the European Muslim diaspora; its impact on the wider educational experience of young Muslims, and the pedagogic challenges facing the training of Muslim faith leaders and teachers were also discussed. Issues related to social and educational inclusion within secular and multicultural societies in Europe and the role of critical pedagogies in addressing extremism were considered.
Facilitating knowledge exchange
The Summer School has created a scholarly platform for diverse groups of researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas and engage with collaborative future research projects. The participants particularly appreciated the interactive and dialogical nature of the sessions, where relevant personal and professional experience informed the overall reflective learning environment. It also enabled them to develop confidence in formulating and articulating their perspectives on a range of theoretical and practical issues related to the themes covered and provided opportunities for networking.
Launching Islamic Education at Warwick
The delegates showed great interest in the newly launched Islamic Education initiative at Warwick and its planned taught and research activities. They had a chance to learn more about the research expertise at WRERU and the wider taught and research programmes offered at CES. The participants have appreciated the significance of hosting the project on Islamic Education within such an interdisciplinary framework and institutional context where the subject could gradually emerge as an empirical field of research and professional development. As a first step towards realizing this shared goal, it was decided to form a distinct research community that will bring together practitioners, researchers and policy makers working within the context of the UK and wider Europe. The discussions led to a shared consensus to establish a ‘European Islamic Education Research Network’ at Warwick, to enable scholarly and professional dialogue, encounters and exchanges to shape the future of the field.
It was overwhelmingly suggested that the Summer School should be offered next year too. Finally all have expressed their sincere appreciation for the admin and academic staff involved.
As the youngest person present at the seminar, I was very much impressed by every person I have met. I want to tell you one by one; thank you for your contribution to my knowledge and motivation! These three days have fed my ambitions and I am incredibly grateful to you all for this.
I wish you all a lot of success with your projects and goals, but above all much peace and happiness in your everyday life.
A delegate from Belgium
Thanks to all of the colleagues for organising this fantastic Summer School where we had the opportunity to meet so many involved in the field. I could not stop thinking and talking about it. I am sure all who left have gone with renewed motivation and energy. I believe the fruit of this gathering will soon be seen in the delegate's respective work. For one; I am organising a session with parents to discuss 'Rethinking' Islamic Education.
A UK based Madrassa Teacher.
It was an experience of openness, real exchange, sharing and inspiring ways of dealing with Islamic Education in different contexts and countries.
I really hope it will be possible to organise the Summer School next year! If possible, I sure will not miss the opportunity to be present.
PhD Student (The Netherlands)
I am sitting marking some essays for the course in Catholic education I help teach, and so many of the issues raised by these students resonate with what was said at the summer school. Thus, I want to thank you personally for an excellent few days; I found it very inspirational and it really helped me get back into the swing of discussing complex issues in the "safe space" of an academic forum.
PhD Student (Warwick)
Though I was very thankful for the intellectual stimulation that this year's event gave me, my lasting memory will be of the great assembly of people that the Summer School brought together. It always seems to me that, at any conference or event such as this, there are in fact two 'events' taking place at one and the same time - the 'formal' one described on the programme and then the 'informal' one, consisting of snatched conversations, longer conversations at meal times, eye contacts, and so on. On both levels, the summer school worked really well.
An RE practitioner (UK)