Year 2015 has been a busy, challenging and a successful Year. FSTC wishes all our colleagues, supporters and readers a successful and prosperous Year 2016. This report provides information on the projects we have worked on, conferences we have aaattended as well as material and resources we have developed. FSTC’s ultimate aim is to promote and popularise knowledge and understanding through educational projects and public engagement. This work has mainly been achieved in collaboration with FSTC’s associate organisations and people. FSTC Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation closely associated with a family of institutions and initiatives, including: 1001 Inventions, 1001 Cures, Muslim Heritage, Curriculum Enrichment for the Future Charity (CE4tF), Education Aid International (EAI) and the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation, UK Charity.
Uncovering History to Build a Better Future
The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) is a British not-for-profit, non-political, and non-religious organisation founded in 1999 by a group of philanthropic historians, scientists, engineers and social scientists. It is dedicated to researching and popularising the history of pre-Renaissance civilisations, especially the Muslim civilisation, that have had an impact upon the scientific, technological and cultural heritage of our modern world.
We have grown steadily since then and currently our main products/services are:
You can get more information from our website at www.fstc.org.uk.
FSTC has had a busy and successful year, albeit challenging. This report provides information on the projects we have worked on, conferences we have attended as well as material and resources we have developed.
FSTC’s ultimate aim is to promote and popularise knowledge and understanding through educational projects and public engagement. This work has mainly been achieved in collaboration with FSTC’s associate organisations and people. FSTC Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation organically linked with a family of institutions and initiatives, including:
The Muslim Heritage website published forty seven new articles in 2015. A major cleansing process was undertaken in the light of feedback from readers and critics, resulting in around 200 articles revised and updated. It was a fruitful year for Muslim Heritage, the fan base in social networks, especially in Facebook, increased more than 7K and reached more than 300K people around the world. This also reflected on the website gaining nearly a 1 million page views and half a million visitors in 2015 alone. Muslim Heritage celebrated key related world events by announcing and reviewing them with special articles. It also reported on conferences and lectures throughout 2015.
During 2015, Muslim Heritage gained a new look and design which received positive feedback from visitors. Their development team have continuously updated and upgraded the website to make the visiting and navigating much easier and improve the user experience and interface. The huge leap in their page visits also shows that the visitors have positively received the improvements.
3.1 Effat University, Saudi Arabia
This collaborative course enrichment project was successfully completed in 2015 with the help of sponsorship by The Juffali Company. The University’s syllabi were enriched by resources from FSTC under the supervision of Professor Rabie (Chemistry and Biology), Professor Abattouy (Mathematics), Professor El-Gomati (Physics) and Professor Al-Hassani (Engineering). The project was coordinated by Ayshah Ismail, CEO 0f CE4tF. The resources were received positively by both teaching staff and students resulting in an academic conference being held at Effat University on 25th February 2015, that discussed the findings from the project on an academic platform along with other Saudi Universities.
Speaking as the Chief Adjudicator of The Crown Prince CIPTA 2015 competition award ceremony, Professor Salim Al-Hassani referred to achievements and discoveries made by non-European scientists which were often overlooked and the work of FSTC. The audience included His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan and his dignitaries and competitors. Professor Al-Hassani also attended the Knowledge Convention Forum along with the Prince and Deputy Sultan, where he presented the 1001 Inventions books as gifts as is photographed in the Brunei Times.
FSTC has established a relationship with an educational organisation in Hyderabad, India through Professor Salim Al-Hassani’s contacts. They applied to become partners with the UNESCO Festival of Light 2015 and are now in the midst of rolling out a nationwide Quiz, focussing on Ibn Al-Haytham as well as scientists/ideas/stories from Indian, Chinese and Muslim civilisations. This quiz will be taken by over 5,000 students across a number of states with the guidance of FSTC in writing the questions and structure of the quiz.
On 22-23rd October 2015, the “3rd International conference on History of Medicine and Cures (Colloque International de Toxicologie)” was opened at Fez university of Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah (Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie de Fès). Professor Salim Al-Hassani gave the keynote presentation (photographed to the right).
Professor Salim Al-Hassani’s presentation told the story of how, a 1000 years ago, men and women of different faiths and cultures built upon the achievements of previous civilisations to generate thousands of new scientific inventions and beneficial innovations that transformed their world in science, technology, medicine, architecture, art, business and education.
A conference was held in Jordan to explore Schools and Learning Institutions in Muslim Civilisation. Professor Mohamed M. El-Gomati, OBE, Chairman of the FSTC as photographed to the left, was invited as keynote speaker. In his speech, Professor El-Gomati discussed the relevance and what could be perceived as irrelevance of early scientific contributions and how these linked to the present day. More importantly, is how these contributions should be acknowledged in the public domain.
Professor El-Gomati’s presentation also aimed to address, through the eyes of present day scientist, the role that historians of science could play in this endeavour. It also explored the importance of dedicated and specialised learning journals on the subject, with rigorously researched material for the benefit and assistance of educators. A balanced and corrected view of the contributions of earlier civilisations.
3.6 Teach First, London
CE4tF was invited to deliver four sessions at the annual Teach First conference, held in London. The feedback from the both the organiser and the trainee teachers were great. There were over 70 trainee teachers in attendance and we have had follow up enquiries for posters and teaching ideas.
3.7 Abraham Moss High School, Manchester
CE4tF was invited to Abraham Moss High School in Manchester, to deliver a number of workshops focussing on Astronomy and Muslim scholars who shone in this field. This was part of a project the school was carrying out in association with Mission X, where a full curriculum day was dedicated to the history and intricacies of space and time.
4.8 University of East London
CE4tF delivered a training session at the University of East London to science trainee teachers. There was a great cohort who came across very enthusiastic with a number of follow up enquiries about how to incorporate CE4tF’s material into their Schemes of Work for next year. One trainee has already planned a full wall display for her classroom as depicted below:
3.9 Women in Science, Istanbul
FSTC and CE4tF have been working to highlight the contributions made by women to the field of science. On the back of this, they have been communicating with a group of women in Istanbul, Turkey, who will be focussing on the long term goal of organising an international conference on this topic. Following on from sessions held in Istanbul in October 2013 and a related workshop held at FSTC offices in June 2014, the group has delivered a number of highly attended conferences and workshops across Istanbul, highlighting the roles played by a number of remarkable women from the Muslim civilisation. As photographed below, this is a collaborative project between FSTC and the Human Development and Social Education Foundation (iGETEV), Turkey.
3.10 The Historical Association
FSTC has been working on a Scheme of Work for the Historical Association, An Introduction to Islamic Civilisation (‘non-European society’), which is part of the new primary history curriculum. The inclusion of this unit is great news in itself.
Although the National Curriculum states Baghdad AD 900, FSTC thought it important to paint a bigger picture of the contributions made in and around this era. This Scheme of Work is now live and available to download from the Historical Association website, which is the first stop for many, if not all teachers for History. Alongside the Scheme of Work, there is also an article that was published in the spring edition of their journal. This has been a brilliant opportunity for FSTC to work with a recognised authority on history.
3.11 Muslim Scholars from Sub-Saharan Africa & Beyond
FSTC and CE4tF had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the University of Manchester. As part of a series of events relating to Black History Month, a session was delivered by Ayshah Ismail, CEO of CE4tF and Sairah Yassir, Project Officer of Education Aid International (EAI).
They introduced and highlighted a number of influential figures and ideas from worldwide civilisations, often ignored and airbrushed from history, with an added emphasis on the role Muslim women also played within society and the legacy they left behind.
The second half of the event was delivered by Natty Mark Samuels, photographed above alongside Sairah and Ayshah. Natty is the founder of African School, a cultural education project based in Oxford and is also a visiting tutor at Ruskin College, Oxford. Natty took the audience on a fascinating journey of Sub-Saharan Africa, tracing the paths of individuals who thrived on scholarship and spreading knowledge. Natty treated the audience to some of his poetry and odes honouring some of these personalities.
3.12 Free Education Manchester
The Free Education Manchester event panellists including Sairah Yassir, joined to argue for a better and more accessible way to education, including having schools teach a broader curriculum of history. Free Education would facilitate more creative, critical and practical approaches to learning that reflect the diverse needs of all. This means funding schools, further education, youth centres, technical colleges, vocational education, art colleges, community projects, universities and postgraduate study so that everyone has access to life-long learning. Events like these are vital because they enlighten our youth of today on how to make positive changes within our society.
4.13 Greater Manchester Police, GMP
On behalf of FSTC, Yassir Salem delivered a presentation at a recent Greater Manchester Police community event. It was attended by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Tony Lloyd, the incoming Chief of Police, Mr. Ian Hopkins, as well as the new Head of the Muslim Police Association, Mr. Bashar Anwar. The audience were very receptive to FSTC’s message and there is a strong interest in FSTC’s story. There are links that can be drawn between the work FSTC does and how it may aid the GMP within their own work force as well as dealing with the public in terms of cultural diversity and social cohesion.
3.14 Edinburgh Festival
At the beginning of 2015, on behalf of CE4tF, Dr Anne-Maria Brennan, Trustee, delivered a presentation at the Edinburgh Interfaith Festival focussing on highlighting 1000 years of amnesia and contributions from different civilisations that have been airbrushed from history. Post event feedback from the organisers shows it was very well received.
4.15 Edinburgh Arab Festival
Also in Edinburgh, later that year, Professor Salim Al-Hassani delivered a key note address, entitled 1001 Inventions versus 1001 Nights, at the Edinburgh Arab Festival.
This was because part of the internationally renowned Edinburgh International Arts Festival, known as the Fringe Festival, the Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies Department at the University of Edinburgh launched the first ever Edinburgh Arab Festival 2015 in Scotland, located at a prestigious venue in the heart of the city of Edinburgh.
There was a varied programme of events including a keynote speech by a high-profile speaker, exhibition and art galleries, live entertainment, food tasting and multiple live workshops in language, poetry, storytelling and art.
The inaugural Edinburgh Arab Festival keynote speeches were delivered by Mr Leslie McLoughlin, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter (pictured above 2nd left), and Professor Salim T. Al-Hassani, Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester (2nd from right). Also pictured is Dr Muntasir Al-Hamad (far left), Assistant Professor at Qatar University and Mourad Diouri (far right) Director Edinburgh Arab Festival.
The inaugural Edinburgh Arab Festival keynote speeches were delivered by Mr Leslie McLoughlin, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter (pictured 2nd left), and Professor Salim T. Al-Hassani, Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester (2nd right). Also pictured is Dr Muntasir Al-Hamad (far left), Assistant Professor at Qatar University and Mourad Diouri (far right), Director Edinburgh Arab Festival. (Source)
3.16 KPMG, London
FSTC was invited to deliver a session at an event hosted by KPMG that was held at their main offices in London. The aim of the presentation was to highlight contributions made by Muslim scholars to the world of Mathematics and Economics (as pertinent to KPMG Accountancy Firm). Originally the lecture was going to be delivered by Dr Anne-Maria Brenan, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Professor El-Gomati, stepped in and delivered a presentation that was well received. The audience consisted of accountants, managers, clients and their friends from all UK branches of KPMG.
3.17 Avicenna Summer Academy, Germany
In August 2015, Professor Salim Al-Hassani was invited to participate in a day dedicated to learning about and discussing Muslim heritage in the sciences and how they may inspire contemporary and future students from Muslim backgrounds to become more involved with the sciences. During the course of the day, Professor Salim Al-Hassani, delivered various lectures regarding famous figures who contributed towards the sciences.
“Avicenna Study Work” is the youngest of the 13 scholarship programmes founded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) that is recognised by the German Begabtenförderungswerke.
By awarding scholarships, Avicenna Study Work promotes talented and socially committed Muslim students and doctoral candidates of all disciplines. Photographed above with the study group, Professor Salim Al-Hassani’s concluding remarks stressed the importance of women and men continuing this legacy which built upon knowledge from previous cultures to invent and innovate, thus benefitting their societies and mankind.
3.18 The CoED Foundation
FSTC are working with the CoED Foundation to introduce the aspect of compassion into each subject of the curriculum. The CoED Foundation defines compassion in the widest sense and believes that it involves the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students and of society; as well as their physical and mental health. At present the predominant paradigm in most education systems is based upon competition and selfishness. In a world beset with problems of environmental disaster, population explosion, religious and ‘racial’ violence, mass unemployment and a refugee crisis, FSTC is looking to redevelop the wisdom of the ancients who taught that collaboration and service were a better way for humanity to live.
3.19 Medipol University, Istanbul
Professor Salim Al-Hassani addressed an event at Medipol University in Istanbul with a session entitled ‘Inspiring a Knowledge Society in Turkey’ and will look to the key challenges involved in the building of a scientific and technological knowledge society. The greatest asset of any progressive thinking society is its youth, ergo its future leaders. How they can be motivated and enthused so that their aspirations resonate with the vision of leadership is crucial to understand.
3.20 MUSIAD International Young Businessmen Congress
On December 5th 2015, MUSIAD (Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association) held its first International Young Businessmen Congress convened to discuss “Renewal Not Innovation” in Ankara, Turkey.
Professor Salim Al-Hassani was again invited and he made contributions to the congress along with other speakers, to exchange ideas of social, economic and political aspects of business interaction around the world. In his talk entitled “Inspiring a Knowledge Based Society in Turkey”, he addressed the key challenges involved in the building of a scientific and technological, knowledge vibrant society. Professor Al-Hassani stated how the greatest asset of any progressive thinking society is its youth as they are the future leaders.
What is more crucial to understand is how they can be motivated and enthused so that their aspirations resonate with the vision of current leadership. To achieve this effectively in Turkey, Professor Al-Hassani said that there is a need to look afresh at the past, to re-perceive it and learn from it. In addition that we consider the numerous exemplary role models, men and women of different faiths and cultures, who built upon the achievements of previous civilisations and developed thousands of new and beneficial scientific inventions. They transformed not only their world in terms of science, technology, medicine, architecture, art, business and education, but continue to positively impact on ours today.
3.21 Seminar on the Narrative of MIZAN (Balance), Professor Paul Keeler
Professor Paul (Ahmed) Keeler visited FSTC on Friday 21st November on Professor Al-Hassani’s invitation. Professor Keeler, founder of the Festival of Islam Project in 1976 and producer of many books like “Islam and Science” by S. H. Nasr, is based in Cambridge and one of the earliest associates of FSTC. He shared his invaluable experience with FSTC and invited guests, about the concept of MIZAN (Balance) which is attracting global attention.
EAI is a newly formed charity with company status registered in Geneva, Switzerland whereby FSTC is acting as it’s the management assisting with its formation and structuring.
EAI has a small group of Trustees, headed and sponsored by Sheik Mansour, who are committed to the mission of the organisation and reflect different cultures and education traditions.
EAI will establish an Education Advisory Board, comprised of global education experts to advise on good practice and to make recommendations on new projects.
EAI will also recruit a small professional specialist team to support the Trustees in delivering this mission working alongside input from the Education Advisory Board, who will be based in Geneva and in the field. Although EAI is a new organisation it draws upon the lessons learnt from its partner organisations: FSTC, 1001 Inventions and CE4tF.
The 2015 International Year of Light declared by UNESCO, mentioned later in this report, is one example of how sharing and promoting balanced and inclusive educational methodologies can encourage intercultural respect.
On Tuesday 6th October 2015, EAI held a workshop with a host of reputable academics, educational consultants, curriculum innovators, lecturers, teachers, scientists and entrepreneurs gathered at the prestigious Royal Society of Arts in London, to discuss the importance of an inclusive balanced education and how to deliver and implement as such, in what is an uncertain age.
EAI workshop, with Sheikh Mansour pictured right.
Sheikh Mansour underlined, “all young people should be given the tools to enable them to develop their critical thinking capabilities, be aspirational in their goals and make informed choices about their own and their community’s future.”
EAI workshop attendees.
1001 Inventions engaged more than 200 million people around the world in 2015 through its educational campaigns, exhibitions, events, films and learning materials.
Key 1001 Inventions events and milestones of 2015 are summarized next.
The award-winning film starring Sir Ben Kingsley was viewed by over 18 million people in 2015 with large young audiences reached through a series of television distribution deals around the world.
More than 200 million people engaged in 1001 Inventions social media during 2015 with regular posts that were content focused providing educational facts. 1001 Inventions Facebook gained 2.5 million likes with millions of shares and views on YouTube too.
“1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” launch event was part of the high profile opening ceremony of the 2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL2015) at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Nobel laureates, international dignitaries, leading scientists and representatives from governments, industry and academia were part of the 2,000 guests at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris that witnessed the launch of the global campaign.
(From left) Dr. Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia, and Zoran Janković, Mayor of the City of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director of 1001 Inventions
UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova giving her opening speech to the guests.
One scholar in particular, Ibn Al-Haytham is distinguished for having highlighted the importance of celebrating and promoting all histories of all peoples as he has been heralded by many historians as “the father of optics.” In her opening address, the UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova expanded on this point further, declaring that:
“Today, at this time of great change, when ignorance and violent extremism are rife, it is essential we do everything to teach the common history of humanity, to share the histories of women and men who did so much in the past to impact on the world as we know it today. Ibn Al-Haytham stands out in this pantheon.”
Amongst other academics, the Chair of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Professor Mohamed El-Gomati OBE delivered a lecture entitled “Modern Electron Optics and the Search for More Light: The legacy of Ibn Al-Haytham”. Professor El-Gomati began his address by recognising the works of the French historian of science, Professor Roshdi Rashed, stating how “his contributions regarding the life and works of Ibn Al-Haytham far exceeded anybody else alive today who wrote on this subject.”
1001 Inventions team at the China Science Festival 2015 celebrating discoveries in optics made by ancient Chinese and Arab scholars
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is the leading film festival in the region. Since its inception in 2004, the festival has served as an influential platform for Arab filmmakers and talent at an international level, by spearheading the cinema movement in the region. The 12th edition of DIFF took place from December 9th – 16th 2015.
The soundtrack was part of Sami Yusuf’s new music album composed by himself and released by Andante Studios that features the song ‘Shine’ and ends with a special tribute track to the late actor Omar Sharif. The music video for ‘Shine’ was also released with more than 3 million people engaged in the music video’s online campaign. S
Sami Yusuf said:
|I am delighted to release my first music score for a film that has a fascinating and important inspirational story. Ibn al-Haytham was a man of knowledge who rose up to the challenges of his society and made positive contributions on our lives today. We benefit from his legacy today and I hope this album will help honour over one thousand years of intellectual tradition from Muslim Civilisation that promoted intercultural dialogue and mutual respect.”|