THE Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) held its Fourth Annual Islamic Governance Symposium at the Senate Room, Chancellor Hall, UBD yesterday.

This year’s symposium focused on the theme: “The Governance of Conflict”, which builds on previous symposia in the last three years. The event was attended by more than 200 guests, including the Guest of Honour, Associate Professor Dr Ayub Sadiq, the Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) of UBD, as well as senior management and academic members of UBD, lecturers, students, government officials, members of the private sector, andindividuals from various backgrounds.

The symposium was held with strong support from the university and sponsored in kind by BIBD and TAIB, as well as AEWON, Ya Nur Catering Services and private donors. This year’s symposium also marked a new milestone for the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), as it was the first of the symposia to be wholly organised and led by IPS Islamic Governance research students.

Previous symposia laid the groundwork for identifying the characteristics of an Islamic system of governance, its objectives, and the roles and responsibilities of individuals and groups within such a framework. This year’s theme on the other hand, highlighted the ostensibly inevitable nature of conflicts arising at varying levels of social, political, and economic settings. As individuals work together towards creating an environment conducive to the worship of Allah (SWT), differing viewpoints, understandings and opinions can still arise, leading to ‘conflict’ of various degrees and nature.

Seven papers, which were presented by Bruneian and international speakers, called attention to identifying the factors which can give rise to conflict; the different levels of conflict manifestation (ranging from the individual, organisational, and the state); ways in which conflicts can be anticipated and mitigated; as well as the strategies for dealing with conflict – both from a historical perspective, and a contemporary one. The papers from the symposium collectively presented a number of actionable steps and recommendations for leveraging Islamic Governance as a pivotal system for effective conflict management.

A key theme that emerged from the speakers’ presentations is that as a moral and ethical system, Islamic Governance provides ways to manage differences and conflicts in a compassionate and respectful manner, in order to achieve desirable and just outcomes.  Careful attention should therefore be given to developing the human capacity to respectfully and effectively deal with disagreements, at all levels of operation. Such capacities would require the development of both the value set that supports superior conflict resolution, as well as the technical skills to deploy appropriate resolution techniques. In the context of Islamic Governance, when the inevitable tension that arises from human engagement is recognised and resolved, the system and all those involved in it can ideally function better to become more effective and productive, towards the greater aim of creating a society conducive to the worship of Allah Almighty.

Visit the Symposium section of our website for an overview, photos, videos and more.