HIU Hosts First International Ghadir Conference

June 26, 2024
Man at podium

Hartford International University welcomed Muslim Shi'a scholars and artists from around the world to Connecticut for the first-ever International Ghadir Conference on Shi'a Studies on June 23 and 24.

The conference, held at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, provided a venue for discussing state-of-the field research in Islamic studies with a focus on "The Life, Times, and Works of Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad al-ʿĀmilī:
An Early Modern Muslim Polymath."

Dr. Hossein Kamaly, HIU's Imam Ali Chair Professor of Shia Studies & Dialogue Among Muslim Schools of Thought, organized the conference and gave a welcome address on Sunday evening. He described Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad al-ʿĀmilī as a "person of great learning" and a "light of his time" who wrote 123 works on topics as wide-ranging as poetry and astronomy. 

Also Sunday, Dr. Mahmood M. Kazmi, a medical doctor who teaches at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and also studies at HIU, spoke about the Imam Ali Library and Research Center, which launched as of June 25, celebrating Eid Ghadir. With headquarters in Mahopac, NY, the library's goal is to collect 10,000 books in print and to create online connections to libraries in Qom, Iran, and elswhere. Dr. Kazmi described the library as a "knowledge repository on Islam resources and work done by the Imam Ali Chair" at HIU. An independent board of governors will oversee the library, which already has 6,000 square feet of space in Mahopac. 

Announced at the conference was a special issue of The Muslim World that will focus on the papers presented at the conference. The Muslim World, founded in 1911, is an Islamic studies journal dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of scholarly research on Islam and Muslim societies and on historical and current aspects of Muslim-Christian relations.

"I am grateful to HIU, as well as all our guests -- scholars, artists, and the audience," Dr. Kamaly said.

Academic speakers at the conference included:

  • Dr. Sajjad Rizvi of the University of Exeter. His keynote, delivered via Zoom from the UK, focused on "Philosophy and Poetry as a Way of Life."
  • Dr. Amirhosein Pourjavady, an indepdendent schoolar, spoke on "Echoes of the Court: Musical Writings and the Royal Library in Seventeenth-Century Safavid Persia."
  • Dr. Younes Madhavi of the University of Oklahoma addressed "Patronage and Science in the Career of Bahāʾ al-Dīn al-ʿĀmilī." 
  • Dr. Mahdieh Tavakol of the Institut für Islamwissenschaft in Berlin, Germany, presented via Zoom on "A Meeting Point of Two Intellectual Traditions: The Library of Bahāʾ al-Dīn al-ʿĀmilī (d. 1030/1621) in Safavid Iran."
  • Shadi Shafiie of the Los Angeles County Museum spoke about an exhibit there called "Elite Gatherings: Envisioning a Feast with a Safavid Ruler."
  • Dr. Hadi Jorati of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, presented on "Sugar in the Beggar's Bowl: Persian Poetry in Baha' al-Din al-Amili's Kashkul."

The conference also featured an art exhibit,Tahīb, by artist Behnaz Karjoo and a musical performance by Dr. Amirhossein Pourjavady.

Recordings of the conference presentations will be available on our YouTube channel shortly.


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