New Year Brings New Vice- President to Zaytuna College
Dear Zaytuna Supporter,
Salam alaykum wa rahmatullah.
As the crescent of Muharram ushers in a new year, and as November ends with the giving of thanks, I too herald the dawn of a new chapter in my career as the Vice-President of Operations, leading a talented team of professionals to realize the vision and mission of Zaytuna College.
My story with the College began well before it opened its doors in 2010. Indeed, my first chapter in the journey to the College began as a student and volunteer at the Islamic Study School, a modest but noble effort to propagate traditional Islamic knowledge. This laid the foundations for what was to become Zaytuna Institute. Being part of those humble roots, today I am overjoyed to be at the epicenter of the great strides that the College has taken in establishing a new academic address for Islam in America.
However, we have so much more to accomplish. Our immediate priorities include achieving full accreditation by 2015; setting up a significant endowment to meet the growing needs of our students, faculty, and administration; and financing a $4M renovation project of the recently purchased campus on "Holy Hill" that was formerly part of the Pacific School of Religion, a landmark structure in Berkeley that, God willing, will serve as a permanent home for Zaytuna College. We are now working hard to realize the goal of having our first graduating class in 2014 do so from our new campus, a goal that entails applying for permits and completing the renovation work by Spring 2014. Just as you helped us realize the acquisition of the campus last year, we hope that you will continue your support in the next phase.
To meet these goals, our development department has launched the year-end campaign with a target of raising $500K by December 2012. With God's blessings and with your prayers and continued donations, we will meet these objectives. Your support is what has helped us come this far, and, as our organizational and resource structure matures, we count on your support more than ever.
I must also take a moment to acknowledge our beloved co-founder Dr. Hatem Bazian, who was recently honored by CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area with the 2012 "Empowering American Muslims" award for his work as Chair of the Islamophobia Research Project and annual Islamophobia conference at UC Berkeley. Dr. Bazian has been a dynamic and decorated academic, providing critical scholarship on Palestine and championing the American-Muslim cause.
I am blessed to begin my role as Vice-President with the support of such distinguished leaders as Dr. Bazian. We hope Zaytuna College will continue to become a much sought after and respected platform for leading academics and the type of cutting-edge research that drives positive change worldwide. We are privileged to count Dr. Bazian as one of our own.
During these days of giving and gratitude, please remember Zaytuna College in your prayers, and help us reach our goals by giving at www.zaytunacollege.org/give. There's so much we can accomplish together.
Learning How to Make a Life Worth Living
One of our goals at Zaytuna College is to help students learn how to make a life committed to service and devotion rather than the now rife utilitarian approach too many institutes of "higher earning" emphasize: that "education" is merely a means to wealth accumulation or vocational training for a livelihood.
At Zaytuna, however, our education model is premised on the idea that a community cannot live richly in the present without engaging humbly with the past by accessing its legacy of learning. An approach such as this enables access to a profound tradition of revelation and wisdom that gives rise to spiritual and intellectual wealth far greater than any worldly riches might. This enables us to address the problems of the present without ignorance of the time-tested solutions of the past. Our predecessors proverbially stated, "Stop first where they stopped and then proceed." Our enthusiastic faculty is committed to the idea that Islam, as a scholarly tradition, should not be ignored in grappling with the quandaries of modernity, post-modernity, and the current crisis of culture.
As one of our junior class students, Christopher Cusano, explains, "To
VIDEO: Reflections on the Zaytuna College experience.
make use of a metaphor, I have been brought to the shores of an ocean whose depth is unknown, helped to assemble a vessel alongside some of the most astute ship-builders, and been given the instruments of navigation by veteran compass-smiths."
Read more about Christopher's experience at Zaytuna on our facebook page
We are accepting applications until March 1, 2013. Apply here
|Reaching Out to the Community |
Zaytuna aspires to be a fully accredited Muslim liberal arts college with the highest professional and academic standards. This has been facilitated through the generous support and commitment of the American Muslim community, which was on display during myZaytuna online appeal. This appeal empowered our support base to raise close to $300,000 for the college. As a gesture of appreciation two Sacred Caravan Umrah trips and eight iPad minis were gifted to successful myZaytuna participants.
Our faculty has remained active on the speaking circuit, as Zaytuna co-founders Zaid Shakir and Hamza Yusuf were in Dallas, Texas, during the weekend of November 10, to attend the "Waves of Unity" event hosted by Deen Institute of North America (DINA), where they spoke on the longstanding relationship between Islam and the West. (Photos of the event are available on DINA's Facebook page). Hamza Yusuf also attended a gathering hosted by Islamic Association of Collin County in Plano, Texas and spoke to an audience of over 800 people about the "Importance of Seeking Knowledge."
In December Zaytuna will be a main sponsor of the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference. Visit our booth (#1306 and 1308) to get an update on the college's progress, meet with co-founders, and learn about unique gift offerings for RIS attendees.
Seeking Knowledge from China
In keeping with Zaytuna's mission to bring masters of tradition directly to the student, we were proud to host the renowned Chinese calligrapher Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang,a pioneer in the fusion of Chinese and Islamic artistic traditions.
Haji Noor's Arabic calligraphy courses at the Zhengzhou Islamic College in China provide us with an example for cross-cultural integration and the presentation of traditional arts for a modern audience.
In a workshop on November 15th, students experienced both the language arts and fine arts: Haji Noor taught his course in Arabic as students followed and learned with their bamboo writing instruments in hand. He advised students that to master calligraphy, or any subject, one must be passionate, have patience, and practice continuously. We were honored to host him and witness such artistic mastery of the divine language of Arabic.
You're Invited: Open House on Dec. 8th
Zaytuna College invites prospective students to an Open House on Saturday, December 8th at 2515 Hillegass Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, from 12:30-3:00 pm.
Come walk the halls with students and faculty and learn what it takes to become a Zaytuna student. Refreshments will be served.
Please register here.