On March 17, Acting Rector of the Bolgar Islamic Academy Aynur Timerkhanov addressed a meeting of the Council of Founders. In his report, he summarized the results of the Academy’s activities in 2020-2022, including the period of his 2-year leadership of the academy.
During Timerkhanov’s period of work as Acting Rector of the Academy, significant indicators in different areas of activity have been achieved. Thus, for the first time the Academy successfully passed the licensing control of educational activities on the part of Rosobrnadzor; a new master’s program in theology was accredited in accordance with the requirements of the FSES. At the end of 2022, the first Masters in Islamic Theology graduated. It is noteworthy that the students, who were studying in two areas in parallel, became holders of religious and secular education. This approach enhances their competitiveness and increases their employability in both secular and religious spheres of professional activity.
At the same time, the Dissertation Council resumed its work in 2022, and after a break of a year and a half, the defense of doctoral dissertations and the awarding of the degree of Doctor of Islamic Sciences took place. The break in the work of the Dissertation Council was connected with the increase in requirements for the quality of research works and the increase in the term of study in doctoral studies up to 3 years. A form of degree-seeking was also introduced to allow for the admission of women as well.
Today the interest to study in the Academy remains steadily high: on average, the competition for one place is about 2.5-3 people in the master’s program and 4 people in the doctoral program. Today there are more than 120 students from 25 regions of the country, 6 CIS countries and foreign countries.
For the period from 2020 to 2022 the Academy’s library collection was enriched by more than 4,000 copies of books in Arabic, Russian and English. First of all, we are talking about educational and theological literature that is in demand in the educational process at the Academy. At the same time, more than 30 works – teaching books, chrestomathy, collections of conferences, monographs, including fundamental works of the teaching staff, such as in 3 volumes “The revival of some chains of theologians of Tatarstan” by I. Mureikhi, R. Fahretdinov’s “Islam Dine,” a collective work “‘Civil Identity of Muslims in Russia,” a 3-volume joint work with the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan – a theological treatise by the 12th century Bolgar scholar Suleiman bin Dawood Al-Saqsini. For the 5th anniversary of the Academy in 2022 a book was published for the first time, which reflects the recent, but very significant history of the establishment of the organization. A separate bibliography reflects all the scientific publications of the Academy in five years.
Over the past few years, the publication activity of students and professors has increased significantly: about 300 scientific articles published in different languages and in different Russian and foreign journals. The Academy also launched its own electronic scientific journal ” Vestnik of the Bolgar Islamic Academy”.
The Academy’s work under conditions of the coronavirus pandemic should be noted separately. Through the joint efforts of the team during 2021 it was possible to ensure the organization and effective implementation of all current tasks of the scientific and educational sphere of the institution, including the annual forum.
In 2022 the Laboratory of Restoration and Digitization of Manuscripts and Old Printed Books was opened at the Center of Islamic Heritage. Thus, the whole cycle of work with manuscripts, from their acquisition, restoration and digitalization to their introduction into science through the preparation and defense of master’s and doctoral dissertations and other independent research projects, was realized in the Academy.
The “visiting professor” project continues to be implemented successfully: the attracted domestic and foreign specialists contribute significantly to the training of highly qualified religious figures and scholars of theology in the walls of the Academy. Over the past two years, language training has been improved by inviting a new professor, an arabic native speaker from Syria with extensive experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language.
The Academy has partnership relations with nearly 40 Russian and foreign higher educational and research institutions. Their number has increased by six more over the past two years, including the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University, the Bilad Al Sham University /Syria and others.
Over the past three years, the Academy has organized more than 100 scientific, educational and awareness-raising events of various levels and content. About 1500 specialists, scientists and students from 25 countries took part in these events.
A number of scientific events held in 2022 at the Academy within the celebration of the 1,100th anniversary of accepting Islam by Volga Bulgaria and the 5th anniversary of the Academy provided the Bolgar Islamic Academy, as the highest link in the system of Islamic education in Russia, the status of a leading platform for discussing the revival and development of the theological heritage of Russian Muslims and significantly increased its recognition in the international Islamic scientific and educational space. Within the framework of the ceremonies, the Gallery of prominent Muslim religious figures of the pre-revolutionary Russia was opened, and the first summit on Islamic education was held, the participants of which were about 30 rectors of Russian and foreign Islamic and secular universities.
At the end of 2022, renovation and restoration works of the Kazan office, which is an object of cultural heritage of the 19th century, were finished. The building is located in the historical center of Tatarstan’s capital. With moving to the new representative office the Academy acquired a possibility to receive distinguished guests and partners in the capital of the Republic. At the same time the representative office will become an additional venue for organizing educational and other events.
In the near future Aynur Timerkhanov will take up a position of vice president of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, where he will continue to oversee the development of Islamic education, including within the implementation of the development strategy of the Bolgar Islamic Academy, based on a cluster approach. The staff of the Bolgar Academy wishes him success in his new position and looks forward to further fruitful cooperation.