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AUS hosts its first symposium on Islamic banking and finance
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), the School of Business and Management inaugurated the First AUS Symposium on Islamic Banking and Finance today, February 20, 2013. The symposium will provide a platform for academics and practitioners to discuss the challenges faced by Islamic finance in the aftermath of the economic crisis.
One of the fastest growing segments in world financial markets, Islamic finance is estimated to have grown from 10 to 15 percent the past few years, and this rapid growth is expected to continue for many years. Since the inception of the first fully-fledged Islamic bank in the 1970s, Islamic financial institutions have been thriving and relentlessly innovating. However, academic research in this field has not kept pace with practice and has not been able thus far to support the business world with the needed scholarly guidelines and framework. Therefore, there is a need to synthesize research to date, and to address the weaknesses and neglected areas by researchers in this field.
Through the organization of the First AUS Symposium on Islamic Banking and Finance, the Islamic Finance and Banking Program at American University of Sharjah intends to provide a platform for academics and practitioners to meet and discuss the issues that need further attention from researchers. A selected number of papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Multinational Financial Management, subject to the review process.
Dr. Peter Heath, Chancellor of AUS, inaugurated the conference. Speaking on the occasion, he said, "During the recent financial crisis, the inherent ethical foundation of Islamic finance helped it handle the impact better than other systems. We all know that banking institutions based on Islamic business practices have flourished over the past 40 years. However, the corresponding growth in academic research in this field of banking remains inadequate. This conference is about connecting banking practice with academic research. Seldom do we see practitioners of Islamic finance sitting together at the same conference as academics to discuss issues pertinent to both."
"Over the next two days, you will have the opportunity of exploring ways in which you can work together to develop a framework for research to support Islamic banking and finance in a changed financial market.
I am confident that in doing so, you will discover new methodologies that will help Islamic finance grow and perhaps set a moral compass that will help repair the current, damaged global financial model," added Dr. Heath.
According to AUS Provost Dr. Thomas J. Hochstettler, "We at American University of Sharjah are proud to be sponsoring this First AUS Symposium on Islamic Banking and Finance. Islamic principles of finance represent a healthy and timely antidote to conventional financial practices, and to that extent, AUS is pleased to be taking its place in the vanguard of those seeking to curb the worst excesses of our boom-and-bust modern financial system."
"There is mounting evidence that the methods of Islamic finance are growing in acceptance throughout the world as healthy, profit-generating alternatives to the volatility-prone practices of the conventional system. We are pleased to play a part in expanding the awareness of Islamic finance and banking and in bringing the particular benefits of Islamic financial practices to a wider, critical audience," added Dr. Hochstettler.
The two-day symposium will include high-quality research and debate in the presence of renowned academics and industry experts. Topics that will be discussed include corporate governance issues in Islamic financial institutions, the effect of the financial crisis on Islamic financial institutions, limits of the Sha'riah board actions, financial engineering in Islamic finance, Islamic marketing and branding, Islamic microfinance and governments' regulations towards Islamic finance.
"Islamic finance is not another ephemeron of the financial markets; instead, it has proven its aptitude during the last couple of decades to represent the seeds of the new equitable and stable financial system that the world helplessly needs in the aftermath of the recent global crisis. Thus, it is time to have academics and practitioners finally join hands in germinating these seeds to form the antidote to the current financial system's overindulgences," said Dr. Abdelaziz Chazi, chair of the organizing committee and Interim Director of the Islamic Finance and Banking Program.
The symposium will continue until tomorrow, February 21.