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Objective of the Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor

The objective of Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor is to be come the major investor of University Teknologi Malaysia’s educational program of excellence and to provide recognition to Islamic achievements as a major contributor to the development of civilization.

Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor and Lehigh University

The Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor's relationship with Lehigh University can be dated back several decades to the building of the PETRONAS Twin Towers. The events and activities that took place at that time helped lay the foundation for a long and fruitful relationship.

       In 1996, Dato' Dr. Ridzuan Salleh assumed the chairmanship of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat at Lehigh, where he worked together with Lehigh's faculty and administration to establish the Fazler Rahman Khan Endowed Chair in Structural Engineering and Architecture.

       Starting in 2001, PETRONAS began its Top American Universities Program and over the next few years graduated 10 scholars form Lehigh, who joined Lehigh's many other talented Malaysian alumni.

       Today a strong and vibrant network of productive working relationships exists between Lehigh and several of Malaysia's best institutions of higher learning, including University Malaysia, University Technology PETRONAS, University Technology Mara and other.

The early relationship between Malaysia and Lehigh was characterized by its focus on engineering. Informal conversations, however, revealed long-standing aspirations among Lehigh's faculty to provide students with courses on the history,religion, culture, and politics of global Islam. As Michael Raposa, chairman of Lehigh's religion studies department wrote in 1997: "The importance of the study of Islam is clear, not only in regard to its relevance in the contemporary world, but also in terms of Islam's classical relationship to Judaism and Christianity.

Zarith Sofiah Center For Global Islamic Studies

The Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah applauds Lehigh's dedication to disseminating in the West, holistic knowledge about Islam and Muslims. Typically education about Islam in the United States has been narrow, focusing on the Middle East and concerned primarily with politicaly considerations. Lehigh's curiculum, in contrast, approaches Islam throughh a focus on Muslim cultural life and the development of Islamic civilization throughout the world. Lehigh's center provides a global, interdisciplinary education in Islamic Studies that flips the standard Western narrative. It is one of only a few pioneering universities in the world that do so.

By endowing and naming the Zarith Sofiah Center for Global Islamic Studies at Lehigh, we are embracing our responsibility to share the teachings of the Quran and the example (the sunnah) of the Prophet. Students at the Zartih Sofiah Center will learn about the three interrelated practices of a true Muslim: islam (or "submission"), iman ("faith") and ihsan ("responsibility to do what is beautiful"). It is ihsan that is often left out of the standard narrative of Islam in the West.

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