On 11 January 2020, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association (AMRA) held the first in a series of workshops aimed at supporting Ahmadi researchers to reach the highest echelons of their respective fields, as directed by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa:
“… I have instructed Ahmadi students either directly, or through Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, to enter the field of academia and research and to endeavour to reach the highest echelons of their fields.” (AMRA Conference, 14 December 2019)
There were multiple objectives of the workshop. Firstly, it was to disseminate information concerning a forthcoming funding opportunity that was focused on addressing global challenges i.e. Sustainable Development Goals, as defined by the United Nations. This aligned with Huzoor’saa direction that:
“You must reflect upon how you can develop a greater understanding of the world and develop new technologies or systems through which humanity can benefit.” (AMRA Conference, 14 December 2019)
A second objective of the workshop was to provide a taster to those in attendance about Design Thinking and User Centred Design, which are processes composed of a set of tools and ways of thinking focused on ensuring any solutions developed directly to address root problems and user needs.
This was a much enjoyed component of the workshop and a more in depth session focused on further education of this toolset is planned in the imminent future. During the course of the workshop, the delegates were able to progress from generating some problem themes through to conceptual but testable solutions!
The workshop also served as an opportunity for networking for researchers where academics from widely different disciplines were able to interact and exchange ideas. In total, there were 14 attendees with backgrounds ranging from quantum physics through to public health.
The platform that AMRA provided offered members a safe space for dialogue and conversation and this culture resulted in positive discussions where a strong sense of collaboration was felt by all.
The fourth and final objective of the workshop was to help AMRA understand how it can best serve the needs of Ahmadi researchers and pave the way for a set of workshops that ultimately will deliver Spiritual Scientists.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, in his address to AMRA, said:
“… the research of a secular person is based on a purely worldly approach and they use their intellect for the sake of material progress. Their efforts can lead to scientific advancement, but the research of a believer has a far greater potential impact. Their research will not only lead to scientific progress and the development of modern technologies, but will also serve to offer proof of the existence of God Almighty.” (AMRA Conference, 14 December 2019)
The AMRA workshop series will continue to run sessions throughout the year, Insha-Allah.