April 21, 2008


Gift from Sharjah Ruler will establish first chair in Global Islam

Hamilton, ON - A chair in Global Islam has been established at McMaster University thanks to a gift of $1-million from His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.

“A scholar himself, His Highness is committed to the advancement of knowledge and learning opportunities in Sharjah and internationally,” says Peter George, president of McMaster University. “This investment in the Campaign for McMaster University will allow us to attract a leading scholar to teach, direct scholarship, and contribute significantly to the body of knowledge on Islam in the modern world. It will have a profound and lasting effect on our University and our society.”

The changing demographic in Canadian society (2007 statistics estimates Canada’s Muslim population at between 750,000 and 1-million, the majority of whom are in their mid 20s) makes the Sharjah Chair in Global Islam all the more relevant, says George.

“There is a need to understand and inform our community about Islam as a transformative force in contemporary world politics, economy, and the changing cultural and religious context, and it makes sense for McMaster to take the initiative,” he says, noting that according to the University’s Muslim Students Association more than 1,500 Muslim students are registered at McMaster.

“Understanding the religions and cultures of the peoples of the world enhances the prospects of global peace and prosperity,” said His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah.  "The Chair in Global Islam, and the associated in-depth research and scholarly activities at McMaster, would give the students and the community at large an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the principles, ideals, and ethics of Islam, and their influence on the development of humanity in many parts of the world.”

The research group of the Sharjah Chair will be distinct from others elsewhere in Canada in that it will study and examine Islam through a modern, global lens.

“Too often our focus is on the tensions that exist between peoples and groups,” says George. “We need to pay as much if not more attention to finding long-term solutions through education and public outreach. This is an area where Canadian universities must do more.”

The gift augments the Campaign for McMaster University. The current $400-million Campaign is the most ambitious in the University’s history.

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 131,000 in 128 countries.


For more information, please contact:

Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869