Community News (V13-I410

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Ali Asani named head of Islamic Studies program at Harvard

092409_Asani_015.jpgCAMBRIDGE,MA–Ali Asani, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic religion and cultures and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, has been named the director of Harvard’s the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies.

Established in 2005, the program aims to foster understanding between the Islamic world and the West through scholarship, teaching, and educational programming. As director, Asani will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the program, proposing outreach efforts to promote informed education about Islam and providing overall direction with the help of the program’s steering committee.

A world-renowned scholar on Islam and Muslim cultures, Asani has worked with students and educators from Texas to Pakistan and served on theAmerican Academy of Religion’s task force on religion in schools. He lectures extensively on various aspects of the Islamic tradition. At Harvard, in addition to seminars for graduate students, he offers several general education courses on Islam and Muslim societies designed to educate undergraduate students about the dynamic relationship between religion and the complex contexts in which it is embedded. In 2002, Asani was awarded the Harvard Foundation medal for his efforts to improve intercultural relations through a better understanding of Islam and Muslim cultures.

Ali Shakouri appointed director of Purdue Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN– A leading researcher advancing efforts in thermoelectric energy conversion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been selected as the new Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University’s Discovery Park.Ali Shakouri, a professor of electrical engineering at UCSC, succeeds James Cooper, who has served as Birck’s interim director since March 2010 when former director Tim Sands was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue.

“Professor Shakouri is an internationally recognized leader in his areas of specialization in the research field of nanotechnology,” said Alan Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park and senior associate vice president for research at Purdue. “We are very pleased and excited to welcome him as the director of Birck, one of our cornerstones for interdisciplinary research here at Purdue.”

In addition to leading the Birck Nanotechnology Center, Shakouri will serve as professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“Birck Nanotechnology Center has propelled Purdue into the top tier of this exciting research field in just a few short years,” Shakouri said.

“The facility has been a major resource for recruiting some of the best and brightest faculty members and researchers to advance how nanotechnology can improve our lives. What an honor and a privilege to be joining an internationally renowned research university like Purdue and to lead one of the most advanced nanotechnology facilities on a university campus anywhere in the world.”

Shakouri has focused his research on nanoscale heat and current transport in semiconductor devices, high-resolution thermal imaging, micro refrigerators on a chip and waste-heat recovery. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1995 and his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Telecom ParisTech in France in 1990.

He directs the Thermionic Energy Conversion Center, a multiuniversity collaboration including Purdue that is working to improve direct thermal to electric energy conversion technologies. This project is funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Sciences Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA.

A part of the Quantum Electronics Group at UCSC, Shakouri also is working with colleagues in engineering and social sciences on a new sustainability curriculum. He initiated an international summer school on renewable energy sources in practice. Shakouri received the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering in 1999, a National Science Foundation Career Award in 2000 and the UCSC School of Engineering FIRST Professor Award in 2004.Project researchers are exploring the capacity of nanostructured materials to channel the random jostling of heat energy into the orderly flow of electricity. The research has applications in advancing technology for electric-powered ships and other electric vehicles.

Murfreesboro mosque breaks ground

MURFREESBORO,TN– After years of controversy, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro broke ground on a new $1.8 million mosque on Wednesday,Channel 5 reports.
It may only look like a few shovels full of dirt, but to the members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro it represents a new beginning.

“Murfreesboro is our town and I’m so happy we reached this point,” said supporter Safaa Fathy.

“We believe that if you love God you cannot hate anyone,” said Imam Osama Bahloul who has always known they would get here. “If you do what’s right you will achieve what you want,” he said.

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