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21 February 2008 HEFCE logo
To  Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Heads of SFC-funded higher education institutions
Heads of HEFCW-funded higher education institutions
Telephone 0117 931 7317
Facsimile 0117 931 7203

Circular letter number 03/2008

For further information contact Ellie Freeman, e-mail

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

Islamic studies - Invitation to a conference on 17 April

I am writing to invite you, or a representative from your institution, to a one-day conference on Islamic studies held on 17 April 2008 in London. This conference, organised by HEFCE, will set the scene for the UK-wide advancement of Islamic studies in the coming years.


The Government designated Islamic studies a strategically important subject in June 2007. Since then we have worked with stakeholders to understand more about this wide-ranging subject and the issues it faces. Further information about HEFCE's programme of work to support strategically important subjects, and further background to Islamic studies, is available on our website.

We held a seminar in November 2007 for academics who were able to provide insight into the current status and future prospects of the subject. A report of the event is on the website.

A recently published HEFCE report analyses Islamic studies provision in UK higher education - 'Islamic studies: Trends and profiles' (HEFCE 2008/09).

Details of the conference

Time 1000 to 1600
Venue Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London

The day will be informed by research that outlines worldwide approaches to Islamic studies. Themes to be addressed:

  • relationships between public and private institutions
  • the link between academic study and the professional development of faith leaders
  • discussion about a European centre of excellence for Islamic studies in the UK.

A maximum of two attendees from your institution may attend.

We would also welcome attendees from any private institutions or further education colleges your institution has a relationship with - examples might be working in partnership to deliver programmes in Islamic Studies, or validating the awards of other providers. Attendance from such institutions will be limited to one person.

Please register online by 31 March or phone 020 7788 3901. For any other queries please e-mail

Note that the seminar is free, but we will not be able to fund attendees' travel expenses to London. A buffet lunch will be provided.

More details about the seminar and an agenda for the day will be available in March 2008 at

Yours sincerely

Professor David Eastwood
Chief Executive