Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim.
Assalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
and a very good evening:
Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di Pertuan Agong, ladies and gentlemen:
- As Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, I am delighted to be here this evening to join you in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Merdeka Scholarship Programme at Oxford University. Ten years have now passed with many great achievements recorded by the Centre and by its scholars, and I am sure there will be many more in the years to come.
- Islam teaches us that the quest for knowledge is a lifelong religious obligation, and this ethos is enshrined at the heart of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. Since its foundation in 1985, the Centre has set out to seek and gather knowledge, and to share its learning far and wide.
- From its humble beginnings in a wooden hut, the Centre has now grown to become a leading institution for the scholarly study of Islam and Islamic civilization. Its intellectual richness and diversity sets a standard to be both celebrated and emulated.
- As a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford, the Centre operates within a long and well-established history of scholarship and discovery. It is thus uniquely placed to serve as a bridge between the Western intellectual tradition and Islam’s own rich history of scholarship, erudition and innovation.
- Over the past three decades, the Centre has striven to draw greater attention to Islamic contributions to human knowledge and understanding. It has helped to illuminate the world of Islam and Muslim societies, while fostering lively and productive engagements with peoples of other faiths, as well as those in other fields and disciplines.
- The Centre has also served to build bridges within the Muslim world and beyond, bringing together the rich and varied cultural traditions of diverse Muslim societies within a shared space of learning and knowledge exchange.
- I am particularly pleased that the Centre has such strong and well-established links with Malaysia on many levels. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Merdeka Scholarships, it is my earnest wish to see this valuable programme flourish for many years to come, to the benefit of future generations of gifted young Malaysians.
- More than 30 Malaysian scholars have benefitted so far from the partnership between Yayasan Khazanah and the Oxford Centre, enabling life-transforming educational and cultural experiences that also contribute to the further development of Malaysia. Through their studies at Oxford, these scholars not only develop into experts in their respective fields, but also into young leaders ready to take on ever greater challenges upon their return to Malaysia.
- Such partnerships also demonstrate a meeting of cultures, a mutually positive international exchange which benefits both the United Kingdom and Malaysia. I look forward to many more successes through this collaboration, and, especially, to seeing the returning Merdeka scholars making significant impacts, and contributing to the continued development of our country.
- With that, I wish all of you a wonderful evening ahead. Thank you.