The Business Year

Hatem El-Karanshawy

QATAR - Health & Education

Religious Studies

Founding Dean, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS)


Hatem El-Karanshawy is the Founding Dean of QFIS. Formerly, he was Professor of Finance, and Director of the Public Administration Program at the American University in Cairo. He was also Dean at the Faculty of Commerce of Al Azhar University, as well as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Egypt. In addition to advising the Prime Minister of Egypt and other senior Cabinet Members, he has contributed to negotiations with the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the US State Department. He is also a member of the Arab-Japanese Dialogue Forum. El Karanshawy received his PhD in Economics from the University of Strathclyde, UK in 1976.

How does the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS) strive to achieve its vision of becoming a focal point of dialogue and intellectualism? We work on a number of fronts […]

How does the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS) strive to achieve its vision of becoming a focal point of dialogue and intellectualism?

We work on a number of fronts simultaneously, starting with the types of degree that we offer. It is the diversity and the structure of the degrees themselves that reflect what is achieved. We open doors to students from all over the world, which in itself is a manifestation of this mission. We have over 40 nationalities among our students, and if you add to that faculty and employees we cross the boundaries of 50 nationalities; the interaction is already there. In our faculty, we collaborate with scholars from all over the world, as well as visiting professors in addition to the permanent professors from some of the most distinguished learning centers worldwide. From the very beginning, we have had a target of linking ourselves with learning centers spanning from North America to Southeast Asia. As such, we have entered into a series of memorandums of understanding (MoUs)—many of which are already active—all over the world. The final front that we are working on is a series of symposiums, seminars, and conferences, whereby once again we interact on topics of interest to a wide range of audiences. The participation reflects international interest in our activities, which determine how our voice is heard and our mission fulfilled.

Islamic finance is becoming increasingly important all around the world. Is this reflected in the number of students that are taking courses in Islamic finance?

There is no question about it. Students taking Islamic finance represent about 45% of our total. Islamic banking, insurance, and finance companies have developed and are expanding; therefore, we are seeing higher demands for those courses.

What makes QFIS stand out in Education City?

We were the first post-graduate school in Qatar, and thus pioneered the provision of post-graduate studies. We are the first homegrown institution among some of the top universities in the world to have branches here. There is only one choice; if you cannot be ahead, then you must at least be at the same level, quality wise. That is what we have tried to establish, and what we are trying to maintain. Of course, there is also a wide spectrum of collaboration between these branches and our institution.

How does the faculty stand worldwide in terms of Islamic studies?

From the very beginning, we thought of creating something that would compliment and fill what we perceived as an area that merited addressing, rather than repeating other legacy models as there are already great Islamic studies schools. We are fortunate to be different, in terms of our offerings; not that we are breaking from tradition, because we have kept that. We receive requests for collaboration from a number of schools that are very happy with what they see in us. We already engage in active collaboration having signed agreements with institutions of the caliber of Oxford University in the UK, HEC Paris in France, and Carleton University in Canada. We are also working with Durham University and Copenhagen University in addition to others in the region. In Spain, we are actively exploring various types of collaboration, and are now trying to extend our arm to Australia. Internationally, we have been invited by the World Bank to participate in its latest symposium on law and development, which allows me to believe that in the global arena we are already doing well.



You may also be interested in...

View All interviews