Abdul Rahim Afaki is professor of philosophy at the University of Karachi. He received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Karachi and currently holds chairmanship of the Department of Philosophy at the same university. Specializing in Islamic and Western hermeneutics and phenomenology, he has authored research papers not only on phenomenology but also on the issues mutually semantically shred both by Islamic and Western hermeneutics. His Many works on such themes have been published in various philosophy journals of international repute like Analecta Husserliana, Phenomenological Inquiry, Islamic Philosophy and Occidental Phenomenology in Dialogue, Transcendent Philosophy etc. He has been presenting his research in many international conferences worldwide.
SeyedAmir Asghari serves as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Religion at Baylor University. He completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University, Bloomington. His extensive research spans topics such as Abrahamic Religions, natural law, Islamic Intellectual and legal traditions, Sufism, and interreligious understanding. He takes an active role in interreligious dialogues aimed at promoting the expansion of interfaith understanding. He contributes to CSME's program "Shia Islamic and Jewish Legal Reasoning in Dialogue". As a postdoctoral research assistant, Dr. Asghari contributes to understanding of how natural law, or its equivalents, can be interpreted and understood in an Islamic context. Moreover, his work delves into how this conceptual framework fosters interreligious especially Islamic- Christian cooperation, addressing the complex array of contemporary global challenges such as justice, equality etc. Dr. Asghari has taught at Indiana and Butler Universities, and his scholarly work has been featured in prominent journals, including Brill Journal of Sufi Studies, Journal of Religious and Theological Information, Journal of Religion, and Journal of Islamic Shia Studies among the others.
Ambassador Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi is the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East at Indiana University—Bloomington, where he is the Michael A. and Laurie Burns McRobbie Professor in Global Strategic Studies and Professor in the Central Eurasian Studies Department at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. From 2004 to 2010 he represented Iraq at the United Nations, having previously acted as legal advisor to the Iraqi Foreign Minister during the negotiations for U.N. Security Council resolution 1546 recognizing Iraq’s re-assertion of its sovereignty. In 2003-04, he was principal legal drafter of Iraq's interim constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law, and was advisor on constitutional and legal affairs to Dr. Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council Presidency. Al-Istrabadi’s book, The Future of ISIS: Regional and International Implications, edited with Sumit Ganguly, was published in 2018 by Brookings. His monograph, The Iraqi Supreme Criminal Tribunal: National and International Dimensions, assessing the trials of prominent members of Iraq’s previous regime, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. Amb. al-Istrabadi is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Zainab Naqvi has completed her masters in Medieval Indian History from the Centre of Advanced Studies, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, India. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the Department of History on Mughal visual arts. Her research interests include social and cultural history, gender relations, intersectional feminism and minority issues. She is currently the student member of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies, 2023-24. She has written extensively on the erasure of Muslim contributions from the curriculum of Indian history amid recent syllabus changes.
Dr Negar Partow’s research bridges theory and practice, fostering dialogue among academics, government, and communities. Her expertise in global political issues translates research for diverse audiences. In her publications Negar offers a unique perspective on religion, politics, and security in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, aiming to indigenise security ideas and practices, resolving conflicts rooted in the relationship between religion and politics. Her research explores how these conflicts affect security in multicultural democracies as well as in authoritarian regimes. Negar has extensive experience in studying ethics and writes on the ethics and politics of security in Middle East and Southeast Asia. She has extensive research on the role of the United Nations in conflict resolution, and her expertise is sought after through consultations and media appearances in New Zealand, Australia, and North America.
Carl Pearson became the Associate Director of the Indiana University Center for the Study of the Middle East in 2018. He received his PhD from the History of Science Department at Harvard University in 1999. His research interests include Aristotle and the history of Aristotelianism, Late Antique Christianity, Biblical exegesis, contemporary science studies, and the history of skepticism. He has taught at Harvard, Rice University and Indiana University.
Syeda Nada Qadri is a distinguished academic research scholar, hailing from the Department of West Asian Studies and North African Studies at Aligarh Muslim University. With a profound focus on Peace and Conflict Studies, Middle East Politics, and Faith-Based Peace Building, she stands as a dedicated scholar who seeks to bridge the gaps between religion, politics, and societal harmony. Her scholarly journey is a testament to her unwavering passion for academia, where she has excelled not only in her research endeavors but also in the realm of oratory and linguistic prowess. In 2020, Syeda Nada Qadri's remarkable speaking abilities led her to be recognized as one of the Top 30 Speakers in The Federal Bank Speak For India Debating Tournament. Her eloquence and debating skills have consistently earned her accolades, including the prestigious K.A. Nizami Quranic Speech Award in 2018. Syeda Nada Qadri's research initiatives have encompassed a wide array of pressing topics. She has presented papers on subjects such as the "Role of faith-based organizations in building peace in the Syrian refugee crisis," "Religion as a factor in India-Iraq relations," "Role of Muslim women in combating patriarchy," and "Iran’s Foreign Policy: Implications for The West," among others. Her scholarly contributions have been recognized by leading academic journals, including the Indian Journal Of International Studies (2022-2023) and the Aligarh Journal Quranic Studies. Her paper titled "Unravelling The Qadri Sufi Insurgency Movement In Iraq" and another titled "Maqasid Approach To Political Islam" have been published as seminal works in the field. Beyond her individual pursuits, Syeda Nada Qadri has actively engaged in collaborative research. She played a pivotal role in conducting research under the Research Cell of Loreto College, focusing on the "Role of media in the 16th Lok Sabha Elections." Additionally, her contributions have extended to vital research projects such as the "Critical analysis of Neo-liberalism: Theory and Practice" and the "Role of Environment as a non-state threat to International Security."
An expert in Shiʿism, Ali Ahmad Rasekh achieved his BA and Ma degrees in history, sociology, and political sciences from Ferdowsi and Allamah Tabatabaei universities, Iran, respectively, which happened following the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan at the end of the 1970s. As an immigrant, he resided in Mashhad, the largest religious city in Iran, where he attended the Seminary School for more than a decade. Establishing a new political system led by a jurist, a fascinating and unique phenomenon for a young person like him, made Shiite political thought a study and research goal for him from then. To understand politics appropriately, he obtained his MA in political sciences. For a decade, he has worked as a part-time researcher for the history and economics departments of the Islamic Propaganda Office of Qom, Khorasan branch. He co-authored the four-volume book Phenomenology of Poverty & Development and Khums: Challenges and Opportunities. The Book on Woman was the third book he co-authored in that period, published by Amīr Kabir. In 2002, he left Iran to resettle in Canada. Rasekh pursued his Ph.D. at Concordia University and compiled his dissertation, Agents of the Hidden Imam: Shiite Juristic Authority in Light of the Doctrine of Deputyship, on Shiite leadership. The chapter on al-Mufīd, First Moment of Deputyship: Struggling with Political Limitation, published by the Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies, was his first challenge to the dominant approach in the study of political leadership in Shiism. Amid unsuccessful attempts to find an academic position in 2015-2020, Rasekh continued his research on the political heritage of Shia. He contemplated and proposed the theory of hybrid, compound deputyship, which is rooted in the opinions of early Shia scholars. By offering political niyābah to the amīrs and religious deputyship to the jurists, this theory presents researchers with a new approach to rereading and analyzing Shia political history. Apart from his research task, he works for the Canadian federal government.
Dr. Mashal Saif's research interests include Islam in contemporary South Asia; the trans-temporal dynamics between medieval and modern Islamic discourses; contemporary Muslim political theology; the intersection of religious studies and postcolonial theory; and the anthropology of the state. Dr. Saif's first monograph The 'Ulama in Contemporary Pakistan: Contesting and Cultivating an Islamic State was published in 2020 with Cambridge University Press. Her co-edited volume State and Subject Formation in South Asia was published in 2022 with Oxford University Press. She is currently working on her second monograph, tentatively titled, Traditional Islam and Modernity in Pakistan: An Intimate Account. Dr. Saif's scholarly articles have appeared in a variety of journals: Modern Asian Studies, The Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies, Islamic Studies, Fieldwork in Religion, Annali and Thinking About Religion. She also authored several book chapters, book reviews and encyclopedia articles. Dr. Saif has received multiple research awards. In 2022 she received a University Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award; a Humanities Hub Faculty Fellowship; and was chosen as one of the college's Creativity Professors. In 2021 she received a senior fellowship from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. And, in 2020, within the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, she was the sole recipient of the Dean's Excellence in Research Award and was the CAAH nominee for the University's Junior Researcher of the Year."
Alexander Shepard is a doctoral candidate in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He is also an adjunct professor at Butler University. He earned his MA from Indiana University in 2017, and his BA from Le Moyne College in 2013. He is a recipient of the Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship, the Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship, the Greenberg Allee Fellowship, among others. He has presented at conferences organized by MESA, ASMEA, Le Moyne College, Indiana University, Massey University, Leiden University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Tasmia Tahira has completed her PhD from the centre of Defence and Security Studies, Massey University. Tasmia Tahira is a founding member of the national research network Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEISA) hosted by the University of Otago. Her research focused on the construction of the military’s political legitimacy in Pakistan. She is currently working in Pakistan higher Education Department as lecturer of Political science.
Leyla H. Tajer, scholar and researcher from Iran, holds a graduate degree in Islamic studies and comparative religion. Her academic journey took her to Malaysia, where she pursued her doctoral studies at the prestigious International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), earning a respected award for her exceptional contributions. As a dedicated participant in international seminars, Dr. Tajer has presented her research at 25 conferences, establishing herself as a prominent scholar. Her contribution includes 16 research articles, 14 book reviews, two chapters in books published by the University of Oxford, and two authored books. She also contributes as a co-investigator to the project on the Study of “Love in Religion” at Regent's Park College, the University of Oxford. Beyond her academic pursuits, she is a passionate advocate for gender equality, women's rights, woman empowerment, and self-improvement.
Mr. Mati Tareen is a PhD candidate at the Center for Defense and Security Studies, Massey University, New Zealand. His research focuses on the nexus of militarization and human security in Pakistan.
Dr. John Walbridge teaches in the Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures department at Indiana University. His research and teaching interests include Islamic Philosophy, Military History of the Middle East, Classical Arabic Literature, and Koranic Studies. Publications include God and Logic in Islam: The Caliphate of Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2011); The Wisdom of the Mystic East: Suhrawardi and Platonic Orientalism (SUNY Press, 2001); The Philosophy of Illumination of Shihab al-Din Yahya Suhrawardi (with Hossein Ziai) (Brigham Young University Press, 1999); and, Sacred Acts, Sacred Time, Sacred Space: Essays on Bahá'í Law and History (George Ronald, 1996).