May 25, 2024

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Uniting for Change: OCIS-UTM Science Roundtable Envisions a Sustainable Future for Muslim Societies Amid Climate Challenges

OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom, 15 June 2023 – In a global effort to address the pressing challenges posed by climate change, public health, and food security, the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) and the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) jointly organized a Science Roundtable with the theme “Imagining the Future: Climate Change, Health, and Food Security in Muslim Societies.” The event took place from May 12th to May 14th, 2023, in Oxford, UK, aiming to discuss the impact of these issues on Muslim societies.

Muslims, who account for approximately a quarter of the world’s population and make significant contributions to the global GDP, are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, especially those living in low- and middle-income countries.Hence, the Science Roundtable aimed to harness the global community’s knowledge, networks, and capabilities to envision a more climate-resilient future for the Muslim world.

The inaugural session was graced by Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, the Permaisuri of Johor and Chancellor of UTM, who delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the need for unity and practical actions in dealing with climate change.

“It is time for us to remember our prime duty, both as individuals and as a global community, and that is to fulfil our responsibilities towards this fragile world we inhabit.”

“Published reports have claimed that climate change can intensify water supply which in turn will affect agricultural production and food availability in many Muslim countries. Climate change, public health, and food security in Muslim societies are complex and urgent issues that require concrete action,” expressed Her Majesty.

Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, the Permaisuri of Johor and Chancellor of UTM Delivering the Keynote Speech

Prominent international experts in attendance included Dr Farhan A Nizami, Director of OCIS, Professor Sir David Clary, Professor Peter Frankopan, Dr Marty Natlegawa, Mr Richard Makepeace, Professor Adil Najam, Professor Shahid Jameel and others.

Representing Malaysia were eminent speakers from various fields, including YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change, who was a highlight on the final day.

Roundtable Discussion joined by YB YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change, Malaysia

Other notable Malaysians included Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Chairman of UTM as the co-chair of the Roundtable, Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang, Secretary General for the Ministry of Human Resources; Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, Chairman of Malakoff Corporation; Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Director of the Sunway Centre for Planetary Health; Prof. Datuk Ir Ts Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, Vice-Chancellor of UTM; Emeritus Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Rector of the International Islamic University of Malaysia; and Emeritus Prof. Dr Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Senior Advisor at Khazanah Research Institute.

In addition to the key outcomes, the Roundtable also resolved to establish more forums between OCIS and UTM in Science and Technology. This collaborative program will play a vital role in framing relevant research questions and conducting studies to understand the attitudes of Muslims towards emerging global challenges. Furthermore, it aims to bring the best global research to Muslim societies, facilitating informed decision-making and adopting sustainable practices.

As the world grapples with the far-reaching consequences of climate change, initiatives like the Science Roundtable by OCIS and UTM provide a platform for collective action and collaboration to address the challenges faced by Muslim societies. By prioritizing climate justice, embracing ethical values, and leveraging the power of science and technology, a more resilient and sustainable future can be envisioned for all.

The Science Roundtable was supported by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) in collaboration with the Raja Zarith Sofiah of Johor Foundation (YRZSNJ), with Sime Darby Property as the corporate sponsor.

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