Souha Korbatieh, wife of Dr Gazi Husain and a mother of four was recognised for her excellence in Master of Islamic Studies at the Islamic Science & Research Academy (ISRA) during the graduation ceremony held on Saturday 8 December at Waterview, Sydney Olympic Park.

Three students enrolled at ISRA have graduated with University medals from Charles Sturt University (CSU)  in 2018. Only 5 students won medals this year from a total population of 40,000 students enrolled at CSU.

This year in 2018, 52 ISRA students have graduated from Arabic and Islamic Studies across Bachelor and Masters degrees as well as Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

The formal event on Saturday 8 December was attended by 24 graduates, ISRA staff from Sydney as well as Melbourne and Charles Sturt University academics, community leaders and families of the graduates.

In addition to brief comments by staff, the graduates also shared their feelings from the stage in a one-minute speech, many of them shedding tears of joy at the completion of their unique educational journey and thanked their spouses, parents and children for their support.

Professor Lesley White.ISRA graduations are a unique combination of intellectual, academic, emotional and spiritual experience held in a dignified yet family-friendly atmosphere.

The degrees were awarded by CSU academics, Professor Lesley White, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Professor Ross Chambers, Former Vice Chancellor of CSU.

Professor Ross Chambers during his address emphasised the importance of graduating Islamic scholars from ISRA for their contribution to Australian Public life.

Professor Ross Chambers.

“My background is language. Australia has not given that much importance to language studies. I am absolutely delighted to know that ISRA students are doing Classical Arabic. You are not only contributing  to your community but you are contributing to the whole Australian community,” Professor Chambers said.

The keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony was David Purcell, CEO Director of Toyota Tsusho PNG based in Port Morsby in Papua New Guinea.

David Purcell.

Mr Purcell talked about living knowledge and corporate responsibility in helping out the community at large and gave details of how his company contributed towards health and education of Papua New Guineans over the years.

Dr Zuleyha Keskin Course director of ISRA based in Melbourne thanked the ISRA team for serving the community in a unique way and said that the doors of ISRA are open to all in order to gain quality Islamic education.

Dr Zuleyha Keskin.

A/Prof Mehmet Ozalp during his concluding remarks talked about the unique position of ISRA, that could not be matched by any other institution in the Western world including in the US and UK in combining traditional Islamic scholarship together with Western educational standards.

He talked about ISRA’s partnership with the community at large on various projects from education, Australian Muslim heritage, history, community development and building of toerance and harmony in the Australian Society.

He expressed his condolences at the passing of Australian Muslim pioneer Ibrahim Dellal.

Talking about ISRA’s Australian Muslim Heritage projects, A/Prof Ozalp said, “we are working on three projects simultaneously on history of Muslim community development in Sydney and Melbourne concentrating on the life and times of Sheikh Fehmi Imam, Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad and Dr Abdul Khaliq Kazi, three of the key pioneers in the Muslim Community. A lot of materials are being electronically archived and preserved that will result in a number of publications, books and documentaries shedding light on Australian Muslim history.”