OUR TRUSTEES AND TEAM

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SEYED AMMAR NAKSHWANI

Patron

Dr. Seyed Ammar Nakshwani is an Associate and Research Director on the Global Shi'a Diaspora at the Project on Shi'ism and Global Affairs at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs where he focuses on Islamic political and intellectual thought, Shi'ism in the West and the global Shi'a diaspora, and sectarian conflict and peace building in the Middle East. 

Dr. Nakshwani is a historian and specialist of Islamic intellectual history and was the Inaugural Imam Ali Chair in Shi’a Studies and Dialogue among Islamic Legal Schools at Hartford Seminary, a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, and an Associate at the Iran Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Prior to joining Hartford, Dr. Nakswhani served as a Visiting Scholar of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Exeter where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on authority and leadership in early Islam.

Dr. Nakshwani serves as a Special Representative to the United Nations where he promotes women's rights initiatives, social development and religious tolerance, and was listed as one of the top 500 most influential Muslims.

AHMED ZAIDI

Director of Development

Ahmed is a researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. He's a specialist in machine learning, natural language processing and educational AI. Ahmed is also the Co-Founder of Catalyst AI, an AI advisory firm based out of Cambridge, UK. 

Ahmed has a PhD and MPhil in Computer Science with a specialisation in machine learning and natural language processing from University of Cambridge. He's a King's College Stanley Scholar and a Cambridge International Trust Scholar. Ahmed also serves as an advisor to numerous public sector organisations in the UK where he advises them on technology and data. He is also an advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister's Technology Driven Knowledge Economy Taskforce. 

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SHEIKH NURU MOHAMMED

Lady Khadija Fellow in Shi'i Studies

Shaykh Nuru is a former ordained spiritual caregiver at Johannesburg correctional centre in South Africa and co-founded the Imamiya Islamic Research Centre in Johannesburg. He founded the Ummu ABEEHA Empowerment Centre in Kumasi, Ghana. 


After taking a BA in Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism at Al-Mustafa International University in Iran, he completed an MA in Islamic Studies at Middlesex University. He is a former visiting lecturer at the Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya.


He is also:

  • Head of ICRA (Islamic Cultural Affairs) at CoEJ

  • A qualified civil and commercial mediator

  • Member of CitizensUK Birmingham leadership and the Birmingham Muslim Liaison Committee And has served as minister of religion at centres in South Africa, Kenya and the UK.

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SAJJAD RIZVI

Advisor on Academic Research

After a liberal education at Westminster School (1986-91), Sajjad read modern history at Christ Church, Oxford (1991-1994) where he developed an interest in philosophy and in particular Islamic philosophy. At the time, because his interests were in the modern world, he read Modern Middle East Studies for an MPhil, staying in Oxford (1994-1996), specialising with a dissertation on philosophy in 19th century Qajar Iran.

Sajjad then decided to continue the study of philosophical traditions by focusing on the Safavid period and moved across to the other place. At Pembroke College, Cambridge, Sajjad ran the Graduate Parlour in 1997-98 and after a great time, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the philosophy of existence in the thought of the Iranian Safavid philosopher Mulla Sadra Shirazi (d. c. 1635), obtaining his PhD in 2000.

Sajjad spent a post-doctoral year as the first fellow in the new Quranic Studies unit at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. He then taught for 2 years in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol. Sajjad have been teaching at the IAIS since 2004.

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ZAHID KHIMJI

Trustee

Zahid is a business and IT consultant by profession and has 15+ years’ experience working with firms across Investment banking, Insurance, and Oil & Gas. 

He specialises in strategy, operating model, governance and risk management.

Zahid is accustomed to managing both strategic and transformational projects. He has worked on engagements in the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

Zahid’s voluntary experiences include: fund-raising in emergency disaster relief situations; organising conferences and seminars on theology, history and contemporary matters; and supporting humanitarian endeavours.

SHIRAZ JAMAL

Trustee

Shiraz is an entrepreneur by background, working in the family business involving coffee (production, processing and export), cotton ginning, trading and real estate development. He graduated with a degree in Business Finance from the University of Southern California. 


Shiraz’s education and work has taken him to Uganda, India, the USA and the UK where he has actively supported various humanitarian projects. 

In Kampala, he held voluntary positions as both Secretary and Vice President (in separate terms) for a community-based charity. Shiraz led capital projects related to low-cost housing, and the acquisition of businesses to support self substance within the community.

SAIYAD NIZAMUDDIN AHMAD

Advisor on Academic Research

Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad is currently a Reader in Shīʿah Studies at The Shīʿah Institute, London. He received a PhD in Islamic Studies from Princeton University.

Dr. Ahmad has about twenty years of teaching experience having served on the faculties of a number of universities both in the US and abroad, most recently at the American University in Cairo.

His recent works include:

  • The Epitome of Doctrine: An English Translation.


  • Critical edition of the Arabic Text of Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’s Tajrīd al-Iʿtiqād (forthcoming). 


  • Philosophy and the Intellectual Life in Shīʿah Islam, edited with Sajjad H. Rizvi (London: The Shīʿah Institute Press, 2017).


FATHER CHRISTOPHER CLOHESSY

Advisor on Interfaith Development and Research

Father Christopher Clohessy is a South African-born Catholic priest who holds a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome, and a PhD from the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI), also in Rome. He is at present a resident faculty member of PISAI, lecturing there in Shî‘î Islamic studies, Qur’ânic Studies, Islamic Ethics and Christian-Muslim dialogue, and is visiting lecturer at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, where he lectures in a number of areas of Christian theology, as well as in Christian-Muslim Dialogue. He is author of Fâṭima, Daughter of Muḥammad (2009, 2018 2ND ed.) and Half of My Heart: the Narratives of Zaynab, Daughter of ‘Alî (2018), both published by Gorgias Press.

 

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