Seminars As part of the Scholarships Plus + programme, Aziz scholars are the participants in webinars to develop their leadership skills, present to large audiences. and widen their networks.

Scholar Seminars | Intersectionality in Education

In August we were joined by Aziz Foundation scholars, Azaan Akbar and Raiesa Choudhury, who discussed in depth the importance of considering intersecting identities within the field of education. They engaged their audience of fellow scholars and members of the public in a stimulating discussion around how intersectionality and varying levels of inequality could become a policy consideration.

Azaan has experience working in education, policy and media, and his research focus is intersectionality of race and class and its impact on aspiration, attainment and life outcomes. Raiesa has years of experience working in the third sector, particularly within education charities. Her focus is the intersectionality within British Bengali women’s interaction with education and careers advice, and what affects their career choices.

Scholar Seminars | Tropes and Tall Tales: Muslims Monitoring the Media

Maira Khan, a scholar who undertook a Masters in Health Psychology at UCL, completed an internship with the Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) and was eager to share what she learned on the job with fellow scholars.

The CfMM aims to change the damning narrative around Muslims that often goes unchecked. It does this by keeping a close eye on the language and images used around stories that reference Muslims and writing to editors and authoritative bodies to issue corrections on inaccuracies. Maira shared the tools and tropes identified by the centre that are used to otherise Muslims. She left us with practical advice to identify problematic headlines, look at the editors’ code to identify breaches in order to complain, and lobby on social media to bring traction to inaccuracies and unfair reporting.

Journey into Journalism | In Conversation with Doug Wills

With thirty three years of experience under his belt, Doug Wills, Editor Emeritus at ESI Media (Evening Standard and the Independent) joined our scholars in July to share his insight and wisdom into the ever-changing journalism industry. 

Doug discussed the changes and challenges within journalism, how to break into a ‘dying’ industry that’s severely lacking in diversity, and how covid has affected the physical make up of news desks. He also advised on long-term career planning, spotting a good editor from a bad one, and shared tips on how to stand out and play to your strengths as an emerging journalist.


Looking After Your Finances | In Conversation with Ibrahim Khan

In June, Ibrahim Khan, of Islamic Finance Guru, joined our scholars to share tried and tested Personal Finance Bootcamp crash course, including advice on Islamic investments, mortgages, and wills. He detailed how wealth could be built, which areas should be invested in for the greatest returns, and the different routes into investing.

Ibrahim holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford, an award in the memorisation of the Qur’an from Egypt, and an MA in Islamic Banking and Finance from Markfield Institute. He is a graduate of the Alimiyyah programme (traditional Islamic scholar) under the tutelage of Shaykh Akram Nadwi. He also studied at the Chartered Institute For Securities & Investment and holds a Diploma in Investment Advice & Financial Planning as well as a Certificate in Investment Management.



Understanding Islamophobia in Higher Education | In Conversation with Sofia Akel

Sofia Akel is an acclaimed Race Equality practitioner. As a student, she acted as one of the driving forces behind the decolonising the curriculum movement at Lancaster University. Working in EDI within the higher education sector, her ‘Insider/Outsider’ report at Goldsmiths University of London set the institutional agenda for racial justice. Now at London Met’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion, her research into Islamophobia within the institutional context is a significant and timely contribution to the literature on racism within the HE sector.

In June, Sofia joined our university partners and HE stakeholders to present the key findings and insights from her report, Institutionalised: The rise of Islamophobia in Higher Education.

For a summary of the key points covered in the webinar, see here.

Shaping Youth Engagement | In Conversation With Nahim Ahmed

Introducing our first ever scholar seminar, Nahim Ahmed is a current Aziz Foundation Scholar studying for an MSc in the Strategic Management of Projects at The Bartlett, UCL. Having completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies around Law, Community Leadership, Youth and Community work and currently working as a Youth and Community Engagement Manager, Nahim has spent the last decade working with disadvantaged communities and youth groups. In July 2019, he was honoured at the House of Lords with a British Citizen Award in the Arts, which signified his commitment to helping disadvantaged young people.

In May, Nahim Ahmed joined our scholars to discuss his integral role in shaping youth engagement in East London and the many barriers that exist in helping young people achieve their potential.

Ramadan Lights | In Conversation With Aisha Desai

Aisha Desai has received international acclaim with her new project, Ramadan Lights, a contemporary lunar art monument sparkling over a London motorway. Prior to starting the Ramadan Lights initiative, she worked at McGraw Hill Publishing where she oversaw a key international project, working with the Dubai Ministry of Education to develop materials for the national curriculum. She is also the founder of Fre3dom Clothing, a social media-savy charity that uses youth culture-led street fashion to raise money for humanitarian causes in the Middle East.

In May, Aisha Desai joined our scholars to discuss the importance of having visible symbols of religiosity in British society and how our scholars can get involved in social impact and community projects.

Ramadan & Spiritual Productivity | In Conversation With Sh Sulayman Van Ael

Sheikh Sulayman van Ael is the founder of The Ark Institute, an educational institution based in London. After becoming Muslim at the age of 18, he travelled the world to seek knowledge and gained ijazah (teaching licenses) in various disciplines from scholars from Sudan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Jordan (where he received ijazah from the Grand Mufti of Amman to give religious verdicts). He graduated from Rotterdam University with a BA in Theology and MSc in Islamic Counselling. He lectures extensively and has appeared on CNN and Al Jazeera.

In April, Sheikh Sulayman joined our scholars to discuss the importance of Ramadan and how to make the most of this blessed month to maximise both their spiritual and academic endeavours

The Journey Of Leadership | In Conversation With Zara Mohammed

With an LLB in Law and a Masters in Human Rights, Zara Mohammed has held a number of leadership roles. In 2016, she was the first woman to lead the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in Britain. She then went on to assume the post of Assistant Secretary General for the Muslim Council of Britain. In 2021, she was elected to serve as the first female, Scottish, and youngest Secretary General for the Muslim Council of Britain.

In March, Zara joined our scholars to share her experience of taking on positions of leadership. She spoke of her own journey towards becoming Secretary General and gave some tips and advice for our aspiring leaders.

Postgraduate Study & Mental Wellbeing | In Conversation with Aaliyah Shaikh

Aaliyah Shaikh graduated from St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge with an MEd in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and founded the counselling service Rahmah Wellbeing. She was previously a chaplain and is now pursuing her PhD research in Health Psychology and, in particular, Muslims experiences of birth trauma at City University. Aaliyah is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, with a significant interest in Islamic and Critical Psychology and Muslim mental health.

In March, Aaliyah ran a practical wellbeing workshop for our scholars and shared some incredibly insightful tips on how to practice good mental wellbeing and different coping strategies when it comes to dealing with anxiety during postgraduate study.

British Muslims In Education | In Conversation With Bushra Nasir CBE

Bushra Nasir CBE was the first Muslim female headteacher of a secondary school in the UK and was awarded a CBE for her services to education in 2003.

In January, Bushra kindly joined us for a workshop and live Q&A with our and explored the challenges facing Muslims in the British education system and what needs to be done to make the current system accessible and accomodating for minority groups.

Click here to watch some key highlights from the event.

Tackling Islamophobia | In Conversation With Baroness Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi has had many roles, but she is best known for being the first Muslim to serve in a British cabinet. In 2007, she was elevated to the House of Lords, making her the youngest peer in Parliament.

Passionate about education, she is committed to widening access to Higher Education for all and has been a keen advocate in combatting Islamophobia. In November, the Baroness joined our scholars to talk about her journey into politics and shared some practical steps and action that needs to be taken to help overcome Islamophobia.

Scholars Induction Day | A Panel Discussion

In October, the Foundation hosted its first ever virtual get together, with over two hundred scholars and alumni in attendance – making this our largest induction day to date.

Speakers included Rahima Aziz on behalf of the Aziz family as well as Zarah Sultana, MP for Coventry South who was the keynote speaker for the event. The event also included a panel discussion and Q&A with the following:

  • Dr Faiza Shaheen, Director of CLASS
  • Hauwa Shehu, Criminal Barrister at the Crown Prosecution Service
  • Ismail Jeilani, Co-Founder and CEO of Scoodle
  • Roohi Hasan, Senior News Producer, ITV
  • Dr Salman Waqar, GP & General Secretary at the British Islamic Medical Association