Launch of first university Islamic Finance and Business Centre in Europe

Islamic Finance
Aston Business School's ground-breaking Islamic Finance and Business Centre is the first of its kind in Europe.
11 January 2010

Aston Business School  will be launching a ground-breaking Islamic Finance and Business Centre this week (Tuesday 12 January) – the first of its kind in Europe.

The Centre has been developed as a result of a £1.5 million grant from Dubai-based business Surgi-Tech and aims to establish Birmingham as the centre for Islamic finance in the UK. The largest financial gift on record for the University, it will be used to develop qualifications and advance research in the Islamic finance field.

To be named after the director of Surgi-Tech, the El Shaarani Centre for Islamic Finance and Business will develop a suite of qualifications on Islamic finance for 2010, including undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD and executive programmes. It will also continue with research into Islamic Finance and Shariah-compliant business, developing Islamic finance solutions for business and providing an advisory service to the government and the commercial sector.

The sponsorship came as a result of Aston Business School’s excellent global reputation* and the prestige of associating a Middle Eastern company with a UK university.

Dr El Shaarani, CEO of Surgi Tech Group, Dubai, said:

“We are honoured to sponsor a UK business school as prestigious as Aston and help to fund research that will explore the role of Islamic finance in the future global financial system. We believe that the creation of this centre will result in the development of new financial tools that will attract greater foreign investment to the West Midlands region. We look forward to continuing a prosperous relationship with Aston University.”

Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, Director of the Islamic Finance Centre, Aston University, added:

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Surgi-Tech Group for their generous support.

“With their assistance, Aston has established this Centre to meet the growing interest in Shariah-complaint finance across the world. Through the Centre, we will educate the next generation of Islamic economists and business leaders – both nationally and internationally. Our research will allow us to investigate how mainstream financial institutions can learn from Islamic finance practices in their recovery from and avoidance of the next global economic crisis. “

With the collapse of the conventional banking system, businesses have turned to the more conservative Islamic Finance approach, which doesn’t permit the sale of debts or interest and encourages the sharing of risks and rewards. The El Shaarani Centre for Islamic Finance and Business plans to exploit Birmingham’s large concentration of professional financial and legal services and culturally diverse business community to reposition the city as a centre for Islamic finance. 

Courses available

Aston offers an MSc in Islamic Finance and a suite of executive education programmes in will be launched by Aston Business School in summer 2010.

For further press information, please contact, Dhiren Katwa, Aston Business School Press Officer on +44 (00121 204 4954 or d.katwa1@aston.ac.uk.

Notes to editors

 *Among 1% of business schools across the world with triple accreditation by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), excellent league table rankings and a five star rating in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

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