Johor Bahru, 2nd January:  The misunderstanding of the Islamic world since the tragedy of 9/11 has triggered Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, United States to establish a Centre for Global Islamic Studies in 2009 to increase awareness and understanding of Islamic culture and cilization. Recognizing the urgent role that academia must play in responding to this knowledge gap, since 2006, Lehigh University’s faculty and senior leadership have begun a series of conversations with local and international Muslim friends of the university, students and colleagues at other institutions.  The mission was to determine how the university could best serve to broaden understanding of Islamic civilization for the students.

In a lunch meeting held at a leading hotel here, UTM’s Chancellor, HRH Raja Zarith Sofiahad the opportunity to engage in a discussion with The President of Lehigh University, Alice Gast on the need to bring people together from different traditions and cultures to promote mutual understanding and respect. The meeting was also attended by the UTM Dean of Postgraduate Studies (Engineering); Prof. Dr. Rose Alinda Alias, Deputy Director of Corporate Communication & Branding; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Masputeriah Hamzah, College 11 Principal; Dr. Sulaiman Hj. Kadikon and Regional Manager (Indonesia), Office of International Affairs; Prof. Dr. Hadi Nur.

Lehigh is also interested to know if UTM has expertise in Islamic Finance, which they will follow-up further when the time comes.  In addition, President Gast also mentioned that she will be asking the Vice President for International Affairs of Lehigh to reach out to appropriate contacts at UTM to begin informal discussions around academics and research.  President Gast noted several areas of mutual strength, for example in water, environment, engineering research and education