A major breakthrough was achieved over the last few days at Ditchley Roundtable Conference jointly organized by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The three-day conference which focused on Science in Muslim Societies: Past and Present, was held in Ditchley Park, Oxford, 11-13 May 2012 saw a fully packed three day conference with leading experts in the world and intellectuals deliberated on the historical, philosophical and ethical aspects of science in Islam to include in aspects of the state of science in contemporary Muslim Societies with select professors from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
This is a landmark conference which saw the full participation of HRH Raja Zarith from beginning to end, and select members of Malaysian scientific community such as Tan Sri Ahmad Zakri, Tan Sri Tajudin, and Tan Sri Mohd Salleh and Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim.
The conference also saw brought together figures such as Sir Terence English (the first surgeon performed heart transplant) and Judith English (prominent physician), Dr. Farhan Nizami, Sir Crispin, Sir David Clary, Prof. Roger Davis, Prof. George Saliba, Prof. Nomanul Haq, Prof. Wan Mohd Nor, Prof. Salim al-Hasani, and the head of the Kuwait Foundation.
Among the UTM team who took part in the plenary and discussion sessions were Prof. Azrai, Prof Rose Alinda, Prof Azlan and Prof Jasmi and Prof Muhammad Zainiy.
In her concluding remarks, HRH Raja Zarith Sofia highlighted some efforts to inspire science among young children and the importance of intilling in them the sense of awe and wonder of science. HRH Raja Zarith also suggested how of the state of science in Muslim societies can be shared with the use of the Internet as one technology to be harnessed to create access to greater educational content. A website about Islam and Civilizations and Science that is accessible by any child around the world with ability to respond to any questions must be developed and maintained.
The conference concluded with several agreed initiatives to be carried out by UTM. The Vice Chancellor, Dato Zaini Ujang, reiterated the main features of UTM and that the Prime Minister of Malaysia champions the Global Movement of Moderates and one of its main thrust is to present Muslims as being champions in science, development, and living in harmony with non-Muslims and UTM is a good example with 60% Muslim students in UTM and the rest are non-Muslims.
UTM is going to host the next exhibition of “1001 Muslim Invention” a new venture between Foundation of Science,Technology, and Civilization and National Geographic in KL, co-organised by various sponsors led by UTM. The exhibition will be preceded with a Conference on Science and Technology in the Muslim World: From Past Achievement to Future Revitalization in Malaysia sometime in later part of next year. Some of the scholars from Holland, America, and England who attended the Ditchley have agreed to spend their sabbatical time at CASIS to continue their discussion and complete their research works. A summer program on Islamic Civilization is being planned between CASIS and OCIS, and a program on biodiversity initiative will see a collaboration between Sir Crispin and Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor.
Date: 11-13 May 2012
Venue: Oxfordshire, UK