4th Islamic Governance Symposium Discuss Effective Conflict Management

The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) held the fourth installment of it's annual Islamic Governance Symposium.

The one-day 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 Associate Professor Dr Ayub Sadiq, 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, and individuals from various backgrounds.

This year's symposium also marked a new milestone for the Institute, as it was the first of the symposia to be wholly organised and led by IPS Islamic Governance research students.

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 (SWT).

Revolving upon the theme of 'conflict' from an Islamic Governance perspective, the theme is a continuation of the discussion held during the previous three symposia. All seven papers presented serve to highlight the different possible views, issues and challenges towards integrating the various organisational functions in an Islamic system of governance as a cohesive organisational unit.

During the opening ceremony of the symposium, Director of IPS Dr Hajah Mahani Hamdan said that maintaining the conversation on Islamic Governance is an important strategic focus for IPS in order to enhance UBD's academic and intellectual proficencies by creating a constructive intellectual space for academics, policy makers, policy implementers, researchers, students and the general public to share their opinions and experiences in a mass collaborative effort towards greater understanding of the concept's application, relevance and challenges. "And ultimately towards creating a profound awareness of the possibilities of Islam as a solution for societal organisation, for overcoming its challenges, and enhancing inter-civilisational relations," she said.

IPS' Islamic Governance programme is a critical strategic initiative for aligning both the skills and mindsets with His Majesty's vision for Brunei Darussalam to be a Zikir Nation, founded upon the concept of Malay Islamic Monarchy or Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB). Islamic Governance offers a cohesive and holistic system to mitigate the incongruence between national aspiration, policy formulation and its implementation.

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