OIC and its Potential & Prospects

Speaker: Professor Abdullah al-Ahsan, International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC)

Chairperson: Professor Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Founding Chairman & CEO, IAIS Malaysia.

Venue: IAIS Malaysia Jalan Elmu, Off Jalan Universiti, Kuala Lumpur.

Professor Abdullah al-Ahsan is professor at International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia. Graduated from McGill University, Montreal, Canada (M.A.), and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA (Ph.D.), Dr. Ahsan has contributed many articles on the relationship between contemporary Islamic and Western civilizations.
His works include: The Organization of the Islamic Conference: Introduction to an Islamic Political Institution (1988) and Ummah or Nation: Identity Crisis in Contemporary Muslim Society (1992). Jointly with Stephen B Young he has recently published Guidance for Good Governance: Explorations in Qur’anic, Scientific and Cross-cultural Approaches (June 2008). His books and articles have been translated into Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Turkish and Urdu. He is currently working on Muslim Nations in Contemporary History and Rise and fall of Civilizations.


Professor al-Ahsan provided a concise history of the establishment and history of the OIC by reviewing its original bi-polar Cold War context. The idealism and emotive motives behind its existence, and the dominance of particular states in its organization and funding, have led to the eclipse of its original goals. The ‘clash of civilizations’ espoused by Western analysts, with the current rhetoric of a revised foreign policy issuing from President Obama, may signal opportunities for new pragmatic roles OIC might now play. Professor al-Ahsan signaled that educational exchanges and more pro-active humanitarian intervention (e.g. Muslim peace-keeping troops in Afghanistan) were possible avenues for OIC to pursue. Questions raised by his audience ranged from capacity building for managing leadership change, loss of global Muslim credibility, and the irrelevancy of OIC given its subservience to the interests of powerful nation-states.
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