Chinese and European Scholars Meet at Al Akhawayn for a Better Understanding of Islam


Ifrane, September 26, 2011 – Al Akhawayn University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Oslo Coalition jointly organize the international conference on “Islam and Society in the Twenty-first Century” on September 26-27, 2011 at Al Akhawayn University.

“This is a very important meeting. We are happy to hold this meeting at Al Akhawayn to discuss Islam from its various aspects,” said President Driss Ouaouicha in his opening and welcoming speech during the first session of the conference.
Professor Connell Monnette, a faculty at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences presenting his paper on "Islam in Morocco" said “As it was visional by His Majesty the Late King Hassan II, Al Akhawayn University was meant to be created as a place of interfaith, discussion and dialogue of the three religions of the book.”

“Islam and Society in the Twenty-first Century” has gathered a dozen of scholars from China, Oslo, and Morocco to discuss Islam and its different aspects. The various panel themes address mainly the Fundamentals of Islam, Sufism, and Power and Politics in the Muslim Majority States.


Members of the organizing institutions attended the two days’ program to name a few, Dr. Driss Ouoouicha, President of Al Akhawayn, Professor Jeremy Gunn, Associate Professor of International Relations at Al Akhawayn, Professor Zhuo Xinping, a faculty at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Dr. Kari Vogt, a member of the University of Oslo and Oslo Coalition, Professor Faouzi Skali, a Moroccan Anthropologist, and many others.

Dr. Zhuo Xinping expressed his full satisfaction with the meeting saying that “It is very important for us, Chinese scholars, to understand contemporary issues of Islam. Religion is important in our life and the contradictions we face through politics and other daily matters made us join the conference for a much better understanding of a religion such as Islam. We are pleased with the atmosphere here.”

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) was established in 1977 and now it is the premier academic research organization in the fields of philosophy and social sciences of the People's Republic of China. CASS is now made up of 35 research institutes, more than 90 research centers, and one graduate school (Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). CASS is also in charge of 105 national academic communities throughout China and currently has over 3,200 resident scholars.

The Oslo Coalition is based at the Center for Human Rights at the Law School of the University of Norway. Founded in 1998, the Coalition is an international network of representatives from faith communities, NGOs, international organizations and the academia, with the aim of promoting freedom of religion or belief and strengthening interfaith co-operation worldwide.