In line with its commitment to framing intellectual debates on Islam in a global context, the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) partnered with the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sport to co-organise this year’s Islamic Co-operation Youth Forum (ICYF).
Held recently in Antalya, Turkey, the ICYF attracted 53 women aged between 18 and 30, representing 33 different nationalities. Over the course of four days, participants learnt about an array of national and international actors involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid, programmes and services.
These include the European Union (EU), which is currently working with Turkish authorities to tackle the Syrian refugee crisis. Participants also had the chance to apply their newly acquired knowledge in key workshops focused on specific humanitarian projects and share their perspectives on lessons learned.
The ICYF provided an opportunity for two students from the CIS’ Masters in Islam and Global Affairs programme to deliver workshops on humanitarian aid and volunteering issues. Delivered by Lebanese student Zinat Hassan, Humanitarianism and its Legal and Ethical Aspects traced the evolution of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee laws. Discussions were also devoted to considering and developing responses for crises that challenged traditional humanitarian principles and values.
Best Practices of Humanitarian Aid in the European Union and Turkey was the theme of Nataliya Lukova’s workshop. The student, who also serves as youth trainer for the European Commission, provided key insights regarding the principles and structures that define both actors’ humanitarian activities. After considering how these applied to ongoing projects by the EU and Turkey, Nataliya offered her perspectives on the importance of volunteering and how it could really benefit students’ personal development.
Speaking after her presentation, Zinat Hassan said: “The opportunity to develop and deliver a workshop at the ICYF was an honour. I’m in no doubt that coming here has enriched my overall learning experience. I think it will do the same for any young Muslim woman interested in humanitarian action and volunteering.”
“It was great to represent HBKU at this year’s ICYF,” added Nataliya Lukova. “Leading a workshop enhanced my teaching experience and allowed me to share knowledge with participants from across the Muslim world.”
Speaking after the ICYF, Dr M Evren Tok, co-ordinator of Islam and Global Affairs Programme and assistant dean of Innovation at CIS, said: “It was an honour to not only co-organise this year’s Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum but also send two students to play an integral role in delivering content. I’m delighted to confirm that Zinat’s and Nataliya’s workshops were well-received by participants. Their contributions also reflect CIS’ determination to equip all its students with the experience and skills required to pursue a range of careers including in the governmental and non-governmental sectors. I’d like to personally thank them for the dedication and passion they showed at the ICYF.”