Leading Expert on Contemporary Islam to Hold Public Discussion at UB

Akbar Ahmed here with a group of young Americans as part of "Journey into America" project

Release Date: October 22, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Western New York community will have an opportunity to discuss issues related to contemporary Islam this week when renowned Islamic scholar and author Akbar Ahmed, Ph.D., considered the world's leading authority on contemporary Islam, will speak at the University at Buffalo.

The talk, sponsored by the UB Muslim Student Association, will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in 110 Knox Hall on UB's North (Amherst) Campus. It is free of charge, open to the public and will be followed by a question-and-answer period and discussion.

Ahmed's visit to Buffalo is part of his extensive "Journey into America" project, a cross-country journey he has undertaken with a group of young Americans to learn how Muslims fit into contemporary American society and how the uniquely American ideals of pluralism, openness and cultural integration have held up in post-9/11 American society.

Ahmed is the Ibn Kahaldun Chair of the Department of Islamic Studies in the American University School of International Service and a Fellow of the Brookings Institution. He is the former high commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain and has advised heads of state on Islam. His many books, films and documentaries have won prestigious awards and his books have been translated into several languages, including Chinese and Indonesian. Among his many honors was a 2004 invitation to join legendary figures in the Anthropology Hall of Fame as part of the "Anthropological Ancestors" audio-visual interview series at Cambridge University.

Ahmed is interviewed regularly on the BBC, CNN and CBC, and has appeared on MSNBC, PBS's "Think Tank," NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, "Nightline" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

He is the author of 15 books, most recently "Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization" (Brookings Institution Press, 2007), "After Terror" (co-edited with Brian Forst, Polity Press, 2005) and "Postmodernism and Islam" (Routledge, 2004).

Ahmed is the recipient of the Star of Excellence in Pakistan, the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal given by the Royal Society of Asian Affairs in London and the "Free Speech Award" given by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He has also received the 2004 Gandhi Center Fellowship of Peace Award, the Safeer Pakistan Award and the Coudert Institute Award, the 2004 Scholar of the Year Award by the Pakistani-American Congress and was nominated by American University for the national-level Professor of the Year Award.

He was named a trustee of the World Faiths Development Dialogue by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was appointed to the World Wisdom Council and as co-chair of the "Hope Not Hate" Town Hall meetings in the U.S. organized by the Americans for Informed Democracy in 2004.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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