An Islamic banking and finance centre will be launched at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) by the end of the year.
The facility will be established with a Dh30 million endowment given by Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) and will be run and managed by he AUS, according to a memorandum of understanding.
SIB CEO Mohammed Abdullah said that there was a severe shortage of specialists in Islamic banking and finance and Shariah-compliant company governance.
The solid position of Islamic banking and finance during the worldwide economic downturn prompted even non-Muslim countries and conventional banks to consider offering this type of banking, he said.
AUS Chancellor Dr Peter Heath said: "The need for specialist human resources has become paramount.
"Islamic banking is growing all over the world due to its transparency and moral basis. Even those who work in conventional banking should know about Islamic banking as both sectors are interacting."
The university will offer the new programme through its School of Business and Management. It will also offer a master's programme in Islamic banking and finance, research on Islamic products and Islamic banking training.
Dr Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, Vice-Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs, said the university's finance graduates had said there was a need for specialist teachers to help meet demand in the market.
"We passed on the graduates' call to the SIB, which also realised there was an urgent need," she said. "We will rely not only on SIB to support the centre, but acting on the bank's advice, will seek co-operation with other institutions."
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