CAMBRIDGE: The 4th edition of Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme (Cambridge-IFLP) concluded recently with huge success that witnessed participation from around the world. While delegates were drawn from the UK, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, the largest contingent came from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries.
Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) contributed to the star-studded programme by way of sending two speakers. Hani Sonbol, CEO of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a subsidiary of IsDB, featured in the Leadership Interviews on Day 1 of the 5-day residential programme held at Clare College, a member of the University of Cambridge syndicate. Dr. Hayat Sindi, Senior Advisor on Science, Technology and Innovation to the President of IsDB, was another prominent mentor who was interviewed on Day 3. Other prominent speakers included Sheikh Nizam Yaqubi from Bahrain; Iqbal Khan, CEO of Fajr Capital Dubai; Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President and CEO Al Baraka Banking Group; Kamran Sherwani, Sharia Advisor at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank; Khalid Howladar, Founder of Acreditus Dubai; Richard Thomas, and Stella Cox, CEO of DDCAP.
The speakers and mentors included academicians, CEOs of Islamic financial institutions, Shari’a advisors and business leaders. Professor Mehmet Asutay of Durham University led a session with a focus on leadership in Islamic finance from an ethical and political economic viewpoint. Dr. Lionel Paolella from Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge focused on institutional leadership in Islamic finance and strategic leadership. Iqbal Nasim, CEO of National Zakat Foundation, emphasized upon the role of Zakat in effective management and customer consciousness of social responsibility.
In terms of representation, Dubai Islamic Bank topped the list with 3 delegates, followed by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, Bank Nizwa, ADCB Islamic Banking, Lotus Capital of Nigeria, School of Executive Education Development at CIBFM in Brunei, and DDCAP; each sending two delegates.
Six of the delegates were chosen to receive the Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Awards for their exceptional and active participation and comprehensive performance during the five days of the Programme. The winners included: Abed Hakim, AVP and Head of Social Media at Dubai Islamic Bank; Dr. Jamshaid Anwar Chattha, Chief Banking Researcher and Islamic Finance Expert at Central Bank of Kuwait; Karimat Oluwatoyin Kekere-Ekun, CEO of Lotus Financial Services Limited; Ferdaus Toh Bin Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Affin Islamic Bank; Hjh Irma Suryani Mazwati Binti Haji Hashim, Assistant General Manager, Corporate Relationship of Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam and Salim Rashid Ali Al Maharbi, Acting Chief Financial Officer at Bank Nizwa.
“It is a rigorous Programme that demands nothing less than exceptional performance in Leadership Games, active participation in Leadership Interviews and outstanding contributions to Leadership Talks,” said Dr. Sofiza Azmi, Programme Director of Cambridge IFLP. The speakers and mentors are primarily drawn from the industry, making it a unique programme as most leadership programmes heavily draw upon academia for delivery.
Furthermore, its contents are developed by some leading thinkers in the industry, which are rated highly by the stakeholders. “[Programme’s] scope and content are first rate, as evidenced by the diversity of delegates, in terms of their geography, professional profile and affiliation,” said Stella Cox, CBE, who is a regular speaker and mentor at the Programme.
Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme was founded in 2013 to contribute to global efforts to develop a new breed of leaders in Islamic banking and finance. Since then, about 100 men and women have graduated from the Programme. “This is the only such leadership programme in the world with an exclusive focus on Islamic finance, and it is my great honour and privilege to be a founding member of the Cambridge IFLP Alumni,” said Dr. Rizwan Malik. “Cambridge-IFLP is a unique programme that puts together existing and potential leaders under one roof to help them gain an overall experience of closely observing the leaders, learning from their experiences and leadership journeys,” he added.
Not meant to teach plain vanilla structures or discuss technical aspects of Islamic finance, the Programme’s focus is on leadership. “It is about developing and sustaining mental toughness to play the role of leadership through a series of leadership development activities,” said Dr. Jamshaid Anwar Chattha, who is one of the recipients of the Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Award 2018. Another recipient of the award, Abed Hakim said “I was honoured to take part in the 4th Cambridge IFLP. I found all aspects of the week were engaging and stimulating, from the world renowned speakers to the diverse and intelligent delegates that took part. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and believe I have made great connections to move forward in Islamic finance globally.”
In her closing remarks at the end of the 5-day programme, Dr. Sofiza expressed her appreciation to all the speakers and delegates whom have contributed to the success of the programme. She added that “Cambridge-IFLP has achieved its objective of creating the next generation of Islamic finance leaders. I am happy to see how this programme has, since its inception, helped create long term relationship between delegates from different parts of the world, all of whom have come together for a common goal of learning from existing leaders and playing an active role in steering Islamic finance industry forward.” Dr. Sofiza also announced that the 5th Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme will be held from 7th July till 12 July, 2019.