The Annual Meeting of the European Chapter Group (ECG) of the Institute of Ismaili Studies Alumni Association took place in Athens, Greece, on 19 – 21 May 2015. The meeting commenced with a welcome address from the ECG President Dr Dagikhudo Dagiev (GPISH 2003), who introduced the theme of the meeting: The Translation Movement between Greek and Arabic Philosophy.
Dr Syed Nomanul Haq, Professor of Humanities at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, gave a presentation titled Aristotle in Baghdad: Translation as an Agency of World Culture. He explained that modern civilisation is composed of a convergence of intellectual thought from multiple traditions and illustrated this point by exploring how Muslim scholars contributed to the development of philosophical and scientific thought in the early medieval period. He noted that the translation movement gained impetus in response to an overwhelming demand in the society to understand Greek philosophy. The talk highlighted how the cultural milieu encouraged flourishing of philosophical and scientific thought in the fifth to the tenth centuries.
The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr Aziz Esmail, Member of the Institute’s Board of Governors. As well as making connections and providing an analysis of some of the works by Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, al-Ghazzali, Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, Dr Esmail also encouraged the alumni to make connections between philosophical thought and their presence in and contribution to the modern world. He concluded by sharing his reflections on the vision behind IIS’ programmes and their relevance to both the Ismaili community and the society at large.
Professor Peter Adamson, Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, delivered a virtual presentation focused on Al-Kindi and his translation circle’s contribution to Islamic philosophy as well as the rendering of Greek philosophical terminology into Arabic. In the second part of his talk, he shared his research on his re-evaluation of the philosophical position of al-Razi.