Dr Farah Ahmed 

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Farah Ahmed is Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Research Fellow at Hughes Hall College. She co-convenes the ‘Cultural, religious and philosophical traditions in educational dialogue’ strand of the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research group. Her current project is: Rethinking Islamic education for British Muslim children: a philosophical investigation of dialogue in Islamic educational theory and an empirical study trialling dialogic pedagogy in UK madrasahs (supplementary schools). Farah has published widely on holistic Islamic educational approaches and is founder and Director of Education at Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation; where she oversees two independent schools and works on developing research informed curricular resources and teacher professional development. She is also Founding Fellow and Council Member of the Chartered College of Teaching, UK. 

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Dr Claire Alkouatli

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Canadian-born Claire Alkouatli is Research Fellow at Cambridge Muslim College and a Lecturer at the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education at the University of South Australia. She currently has research projects active in Australia, Canada, England, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. With a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Claire’s research focuses on the roles of culture, relationships, and pedagogies in human development across the lifespan, including imaginative play, dialogue, inquiry, and challenge. She is committed to the theoretical study and practical advancement of self, social, and spiritual development and well-being in children, youth, women, and families.

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Dina El Odessy

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Dina El Odessy is a DPhil researcher in the University of Oxford, her current doctoral research focuses on the relationship between pedagogic practices, cultural values and educational principles espoused and enacted in community schools in Egypt. Her research primarily explores the potential of critical pedagogy in empowering school stakeholders by attempting to discover their potential to become sites of praxis. Dina holds an MA in Education from University College London (UCL) and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Alexandria University. She believes in the interconnected and multi-disciplinary nature of knowledge, and accordingly has been pursuing different learning opportunities in positive psychology, brain-based learning, postcolonialism, educational leadership, conflict resolution, history and cultural studies. She also currently works as a deputy director in an international school in Egypt, a freelance writer, an encouragement consultant and holistic coach. Hoping to become a happiness activist, she aims at bringing about small ripples of change through intermittently running lectures and workshops on well-being, the science of happiness and human development. Her research interests center around: equity and empowerment, Islamic education, alternative education, decolonizing pedagogy, social and emotional learning, community schools, critical pedagogy, and holistic education.

Project: Nawah Global Academy

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Dylan Chown

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Dylan Chown is a lecturer in the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE) in Education Futures at the University of South Australia (UniSA). His research focuses on teacher education and school renewal, with emphasis on Islamic pedagogy and culturally and religiously responsive pedagogy as well educational inclusion. Dylan is also a member of UniSA’s Centre for Research in Education and Social Inclusion (CRESI) and Pedagogies for Justice Research group. Dylan coordinates courses in an online accredited graduate program in Islamic Pedagogy offered through UniSA. Prior to joining UniSA, Dylan was a member of an International network of educators on the Islamic Teacher Education Program (ITEP), a project of Razi Ed (Canada/UAE). Dylan’s PhD research focuses on the exploration Islamic pedagogy in practice, based on a case study of an Australian K-12 Islamic school. He was a co-editor of the book: Islamic schooling in the West: Pathways to renewal (Palgrave MacMillan).

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Research Assistants

Arwa Al-Qassim

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Arwa Al-Qassim is a PhD student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her project is looking at educating for hikmah through dialogue in UAE Islamic Studies classes. She previously worked as a Projects Manager at the Future, Foresight and Imagination department at the Dubai Future Foundation.  Al-Qassim holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) with a major in International Relations and a minor in Psychology, as well as a master’s degree in Islamic Studies from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) in London, UK.  

Usama Javed Mirza

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Usama studied Physics and Philosophy at LUMS (Pakistan), and Education as a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University. He is an experienced educator and social entrepreneur. He is researching science and religion education in Pakistan at the University of Cambridge as a PhD student in Education on the Gates Scholarship. Usama leads on IELC’s Science, Islam and Education activities.

Curriculum Developers

Maya Shaaban

Maya Shaaban is an IELC Course Facilitator and holds an M.A. in Educational Studies (Concentration: Design & Technology for Learning Across Culture & Context) from the University of Michigan and a BS.Ed. in Integrated Language Arts Education from The Ohio State University. Maya served as a high school teacher for three years, gaining valuable classroom experience. Her passion lies in developing innovative curricula rooted in Islamic values, aimed at empowering students and educators alike to reach their full potential.

Lamis M. Karim

Lamis Karim is an IELC Curriculum Developer with a BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Abdullah Gul University in Turkey. She has five years of experience as a teacher for primary, secondary and high school students, also teaching English as a second language in Pakistan and Turkey. She also has worked with publishing companies, AFAQ (Association for Academic Quality) in Pakistan and Canterbury Education in the UK as a curriculum designer, author and voice over narrator, developing new holistic teaching methodologies integrated with Islamic values.