One of the most satisfying things about working with the Cambridge MBA is seeing how an idea takes root in a student and becomes a reality over the course of a year. One of our students, Sharifah Abu Bakar, spoke to me early in the year about her passion and interest in Islamic finance. I am no expert but I suggested she speak to faculty in the Finance department, as well as someone on our Masters in Finance course who worked in Saudi Arabia in this area. Her resourcefulness led her to yet more contacts and now, barely 9 months since we first spoke, Sharifah is hosting an Islamic finance seminar that she hopes will generate interest in setting up a research establishment in the Business School. This is what Sharifah says about the event :-
“Islamic Finance is rapidly growing as an alternative source of funding and increasingly being integrated in the global financial markets alongside conventional banking. The growth of assets in Islamic financial services has reached a resilient 15% and is currently estimated to be worth $1.2 trillion. The recent financial crisis has emphasised the need for a prudential financial system that is substance based and can promote transparency in the financial sectors. Can Islamic finance restore the stability much needed in the global financial markets and provide the solution needed to prevent future financial crisis and disruptions? Come join students, alumni, academic staff and industry professionals for the first Islamic Finance Forum to be held at Cambridge Judge Business School on 31 May, 2011 to discuss these questions and other contemporary issues with forum speakers. The event aims to provide an insight into Islamic Finance and ultimately generate sufficient interest to establish a more structured research establishment in Islamic Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School.
Forum speakers are:
1) Ms. Baljeet Kaur Grewal, Managing Director and Vice Chairman of KFH Research Ltd;
2) Ms. Farmida Bi, Senior Partner, Norton Rose London;
3) Ms. Arul Selvi Ramiah, Consulting Counsel, International Monetary Fund; and
4) Mr. Richard Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Gatehouse Bank Plc, London.
The event schedule is as follows:
Date: 31 May 2011
5.30 pm – Registration
5.45pm – 7.00pm – Panel Discussion
7.00pm – 8.00pm – Drinks and canapé reception
How to register? Book online by visiting http://www.cr.jbs.cam.ac.uk/event/islamicfinance
 Mushtak Parker, “World Bank Declares Islamic Finance a Priority Area”, ArabNews.Com 16 May 2011 <http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article405986.ece>