ESC Lille launches Islamic Finance seminar at programme management workshop

NASA, The World Bank, the UN and Boeing among the participants

Following on the heels of its recent announcement that it will establish a new campus in the Gulf Region, French business school ESC Lille is turning its attention to Islamic Finance. A new seminar on this increasingly popular topic will be presented for the first time at ESC Lille’s Summer Workshop in Strategy, Programme and Project Management to be held at the school’s campus in Lille (France) from August 20 – 24, 2007. Some 150 participants (representing 34 countries) from the private, non-profit, and governmental sectors (including NASA, the World Bank, the UN Development Programme, Boeing, Siemens, Motorola, and the UK Ministry of Defence, among others) will be in attendance.

Every summer, ESC Lille brings together experts, researchers, and senior-level project and programme managers over a five-day period to discuss best practices and review the latest developments in Programme and Project Management. This year, the school chose to make Islamic Finance the central theme of the workshop in acknowledgment of the growing importance of this topic on the international stage. According to Christophe Bredillet, ESC Lille’s Dean of Postgraduate Programmes, “Islamic Finance is set to have a major impact in Europe and the West. To the extent that this discipline will influence investment flows and market demand, project finance stands to be significantly affected as well.”

The session, which will be taught by experts from Kuwait Finance House and Arab Banking, will look at Islamic Finance’s key players, trends and perspectives and the Sharia-based legal framework upon which Islamic Finance is based. Participants will also learn about various Islamic financial products and markets and consider how these relate to project finance. Professor Bredillet stressed that the session will “go beyond a classic multicultural approach that teaches ‘do’s and don’ts’ to really get at a clear understanding of the traditional, fundamental roots of this important topic.” The session will be fully integrated into the ESC Lille curriculum starting in September 2007 in the form of a course to be offered jointly by the school’s MSc in Project and Programme Management and MBA programmes.

ESC Lille is particularly well-placed to offer programmes in this area. For over a decade it has been working in the Gulf Region through partnerships with Gulf-based companies such as Deyaar Development, Union Tower, UAE Airforce, Ideal Management Consulting, and Aramex, among others. During this period, it has also welcomed increasing numbers of students from the Gulf countries who are particularly drawn to the school’s expertise in project management.

In addition to Islamic Finance, this year’s workshop will look closely at the issue of Project and Programme Management standards, best practices, and sources of organisational and people development in the context of international development, government agencies, and the private sector. Other organisations and agencies to attend include Thales, Dassault, the Asian Development Bank, Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, Norwegian Ministry of Finance, Major Projects Association, Project Management Institute, Association for Project Management, APM Group, and International Project.

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