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Promoting understanding through education

first_imgThe Harvard program is one of six created through a gift from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.  The others are at Georgetown University, the American University in Cairo, the American University of Beirut, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh.At Harvard, the gift funds four new professorships promoting scholarship and teaching about contemporary Islamic life and thought and Islam beyond the Middle East. In 2009, the University appointed Malika Zeghal as the first Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Life and Thought. Searches to fill other professorships are underway.“What we are trying to do is leverage the resources we have here at Harvard — the world-class faculty, programs like the Religious Literacy Project, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Art and Architecture, the Islamic Legal Studies Program, along with many others — to address a serious gap in education about Islam and Muslim cultures not only at Harvard, but in the larger community beyond the University,” Asani said.To that end, Asani has helped coordinate a number of initiatives since the program was created, including educational outreach for journalists and K-12 teachers and students, and the creation of two seminar series — one for college and university faculty in Greater Boston, and one for area graduate students. In 2010 he organized the second annual Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Conference on the topic “Contemporary Muslim Voices in the Arts and Literatures,” which brought leading Muslim artists, musicians, and scholars to Harvard.“We are living at a time when misunderstandings and misrepresentations of both the Muslim world and the West and America are growing exponentially,” Asani said. “The educational initiatives in which Harvard is engaged are intended to counter these distortions. If unchecked, misinformation and stereotypes can create fear and prejudice of those who are different from us, thus constituting a danger to democracy and international and intercultural relations. Democracy cannot function when you are afraid of your neighbors. I see this program as an effort to address widespread global illiteracy about religion and culture, an illiteracy that has serious national and international consequences.” “One of the goals of this program is to examine Islam as a global civilization, not just as a Middle Eastern one,” Asani said. “I’ve been engaged in that study for more than two decades. One of my main interests is the practice and interpretation of Islam in various cultural environments. Directing a program that is transnational and interdisciplinary in its scope is a particularly exciting opportunity for me.”Although Asani has been a faculty member for more than two decades, his association with Harvard goes back even further.Born and raised in Kenya, Asani came to Harvard as an undergraduate in 1973. A concentrator in comparative religion, he graduated summa cum laude with the Class of 1977, and immediately began work on a doctorate from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. In 1984, he received his first faculty appointment as an assistant professor of Urdu and Indo-Muslim Culture. Today a tenured professor, his research focuses on Shia and Sufi devotional traditions of Islam, Muslim communities in South Asia, and the relationship between religion, literature, and the arts in Muslim cultures. Ali Asani, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic religion and cultures and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, has been named the director of Harvard’s the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program.Established in 2005, the program aims to foster understanding between the Islamic world and the West through scholarship, teaching, and educational programming. As director, Asani will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the program, proposing outreach efforts to promote informed education about Islam and providing overall direction with the help of the program’s steering committee.A world-renowned scholar on Islam and Muslim cultures, Asani has worked with students and educators from Texas to Pakistan and served on the American Academy of Religion’s task force on religion in schools. He lectures extensively on various aspects of the Islamic tradition. At Harvard, in addition to seminars for graduate students, he offers several general education courses on Islam and Muslim societies designed to educate undergraduate students about the dynamic relationship between religion and the complex contexts in which it is embedded. In 2002, Asani was awarded the Harvard Foundation medal for his efforts to improve intercultural relations through a better understanding of Islam and Muslim cultures.“Ali Asani’s dedication to the scholarly study of Islam, his admirable commitment to teaching our undergraduates, and his leadership in curriculum reform and outreach have served the University well,” said Jorge I. Dominguez, Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico and vice provost for international affairs. “I look forward to working with him in his new role directing this program.”last_img read more

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It’s official: Indonesia halts live animal imports from China until virus ‘subsides’

first_img“The restriction is only temporary until the coronavirus epidemic subsides,” he said. Among those animals banned from imports are horses, donkeys, mules and hinnies, pigs, sheep, goats, oxen, buffaloes and other types of bovines. Reptiles, including snakes and turtles, are also on the contraband list.For poultry, the government has banned imports of chickens of the Gallus domesticus species, ducks and geese, turkeys and guinea fowls. Primates, whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions are also banned. The temporary ban also outlaws animals in traveling circus, traveling menageries, traveling theaters and amusement park animals.  Importers are obliged to send back the animals or exterminate them if they arrive at Indonesian ports after the regulation takes effect, Agus said, adding that the cost for the procedure would be incurred by the importers.Read also: Indonesia to ‘stand together with China’ in battle against COVID-19, Jokowi tells XiThose who fail to take responsibility for sending back the animals or exterminating them within the span of 10 days will receive sanctions, according to the regulation. The ministerial regulation is drafted in accordance with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which stipulates that each WTO member country may apply its own technical regulations for the welfare of consumers. Jakarta asserted last week that only live animals were subject to the import ban, while other goods shipped in from China would continue as usual. Beijing has previously expressed concerns over the import ban, with Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian saying on Feb. 4 that there had yet to be any evidence suggesting the coronavirus could spread via imported goods. He was also worried it could affect trade relations between the two countries. Secretary to the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister Susiwijono Moegiarso said the import ban would not disrupt the economy significantly as it was unlikely to affect Indonesia’s trade balance with China.“Last year, the import [of live animals from China] amounted only to an estimated US$231,000 out of the total $170 million [of trade],” she said on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.Susiwijono said the ban was necessary to protect citizens at home from the virus outbreak as live animals were said to be able to act as carriers of the virus — which is believed to have originated from a market selling wild animals in the Chinese city of Wuhan. As of Friday, the death toll from the coronavirus had surpassed 1,300 globally with more than 64,000 confirmed cases worldwide, Reuters reported. Indonesia has recorded no confirmed cases of coronavirus so far. (ydp)Topics : Indonesia has officially halted imports of live animals from China as the Trade Ministry issued a regulation stipulating the temporary ban, another in a series of government efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading to the country.Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 10/2020 stipulates a temporary import ban on at least 53 animals, ranging from reptiles and mammals to poultry, which has been in force since Feb. 7.“In response to the outbreak […] the Indonesian government has banned the import of live animals originating from China or transiting in China into Indonesia’s territory,” Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said in a statement on Thursday as quoted by Antara.last_img read more

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Trojans leave Ojai with four Pac-10 titles

first_imgThe No. 5 USC men’s tennis team built upon its regular season Pac-10 title by capturing the Pac-10 championship team title along with three individual championships last weekend in Ojai, Calif.Champ · Senior Robert Farah won both the singles and doubles titles at the Pac-10 championships. Former Trojan Kaes Van’t Hof achieved the same feat in 2008. – Geo Tu | Daily Trojan Senior Robert Farah led the way by capturing both the Pac-10 singles championship and Pac-10 doubles championship with partner sophomore Steve Johnson.Farah followed in the footsteps of former doubles partner Kaes Van’t Hof, who won both the singles and doubles titles in 2008.“It’s a great achievement,” Farah said. “I was working for that; it was the ultimate goal. It feels awesome to do whatever Kaes did, and now I feel ready to play in the NCAAs.”In the doubles bracket, top-seeded Farah and Johnson triumphed over fourth-seeded Amit Inbar and Nick Meister of UCLA in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (4).The win helped Johnson overcome a personal barrier in the tournament and extended his winning streak when paired with Farah to 12.“Definitely enjoyable,” Johnson said. “I have lost twice in the final before. It feels good to finally get a win at Ojai.”Earlier in the day, top-seeded Farah defeated second-seeded Stanford Bradley Klahn 6-2, 7-6 (5) to capture the singles crown — his third singles victory over Klahn this season.As the top seed in the invitational bracket, Sundling stuck to the script and won 7-5, 7-6 over UCLA’s Alex Brigham.Sundling became the second straight Trojan to take the invitational singles crown after sophomore Daniel Nguyen achieved the feat last year.The top seeds were not the only Trojans to play well throughout the weekend.Four singles players and three doubles teams participated in respective championship brackets as well as four singles and two doubles inclusions in the invitational bracket.Apart from the champions, Nguyen and junior Peter Lucassen performed impressively in the competition’s top flight.“Nguyen was a couple of points away from a big win,” USC coach Peter Smith said of Nguyen’s three-set loss to Klahn in the semifinals.Lucassen dominated his two matches during the first day of play, including a win 6-1, 6-1 over sixth-seeded junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of Washington.“Peter did have a good day, and this tournament is perfect for someone like Peter where he can get a little more comfortable of the tennis court and gain some confidence,” Smith said.In his following match, Lucassen fell short to Klahn but had the opportunity to build positive momentum following a tough stretch toward the end of the season.In another positive development, sophomore Matt Kecki returned to the courts for the first time since March 3, but he fell short 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to Martin Kildahl of Washington.“Good to see Kecki back on the courts,” Smith said. “He had some flashes of great tennis but wasn’t fit enough to finish the match.”USC players said they are using this tournament as a building block for the upcoming NCAA championships and beyond.“I’m taking the tournament seriously this year,” Farah said. “Not that I did not take it seriously the last couple of years, but since I will be turning pro in June, these are the tournaments where I need to measure myself against the competition.”Planning for this tournament often relies on a delicate balance between resting players and having others participate to make sure the team is in top shape when the NCAA championships commence in mid-May.Johnson, junior Jaak Poldma, and senior Jason McNaughton took a break from singles play last weekend, but other regular contributors gained confidence in hopes of another championship run.“A couple of players were able to build momentum for the NCAAs,” Smith said. “That’s what we’re here for.”last_img read more