The International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research (IICPSR) was founded at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt, the most prestigious and one of the oldest Islamic University all over the world, in co-operation with the UNFPA in 1975.
Objectives: Conducting population and reproductive health studies and research in the Muslim World and to add credibility to the population/reproductive health information obtained before its dissemination in Muslim countries. Dispel misconceptions about Islam and certain population/reproductive health policies that can be adopted in the Muslim World. Furthermore it functions as an inter-regional organization with a view to serve the whole Islamic World.
The Center has a wide range of activities related to population/reproductive health issues in the context of Islam. The Center does not limit its activities to Egypt but extended to the other institutions all over the Islamic World, interested in developing and promoting awareness of population/reproductive health issues among their staff and students. IICPSR since it establishment carried a lot of activities in dispelling the rumours and correcting the misconception that surrounded the population policies in the Muslim countries. It was awarded United nationas Award for Population, the Year 2012.
In order to widen the base of the informed theologians and researchers, the Center has developed a unique approach called 'Travelling Seminars". These seminars are given by expert groups in the fields of Theology, Demography, Reproductive health, Public Health and Gynaecology, selected from Al-Azhar University. The seminars discuss and clarify the population issues from the Islamic point of view. National and International Travelling Seminars, the Center, designed and implemented seminars that covered most of Egyptian Governorates. The aim of these national travelling seminars is to introduce population, reproductive health and gender issues to a wider group of theologians and community .
Other creative activities designed and implemented by the Center are the expert group meetings. Experts in the field of population/reproductive health from different Islamic countries are selected and invited to discuss and interact together on debatable issues in order to reach a consensus of opinions.
Research Activities of the Center extend to various areas. Participants include theologians, social scientists, economists, demographers, physicians and biologists. Research areas include religion, culture, sociology, demography and reproductive health.
Population Education: In collaboration of IDRC, the center developed a population and demography-related curriculum to be implemented to and integrated into ongoing curricula of different colleges of Al-Azhar University. The objective of this curriculum development program is to bring up new generations of Al-Azhar graduates aware of population, reproductive health and development issues.
Visits of Islamic Scholars and Delegations from Muslim countries to the IICPSR was organized with the objectives of sensitizing the visitors on population issues and exchange experiences; promoting the adoption of the process of integrating population education into various syllabi at Islamic Educational Institutions; and encouraging the organization of awareness creation events addressing theologians and local community leaders in the Muslim world.
The Center developed extensive training courses in reproductive biology and family health, making use of its ART lab in Cairo and its rural branch at Toukh El-Karamous, Sharkia. A large number of training courses and workshops that addresses various population, reproductive health, ethics, and other related issues are conducted at the Center in collaboration with International and National agencies working in the field and other similar institutes.
The Center organized many conferences to address the reproductive health, gender and population issues in the Muslim world, among these conferences: Children Rights in Islam, Motherhood in Islam, Population Problems in the Muslim World.
The International Islamic Center for Population studies and Research, Al-Azhar University experiences show that religion is not a barrier and that religious leaders can be supportive to reproductive health and gender issues programs. It has been demonstrated that well trained religious and community leaders are effective in influencing the community and they can act as important advocates for sound reproductive health behavior and empowerment of women. They act as sources of correct information on reproductive health issues to target groups (youth, men and women).
The International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research developed a wide range of publications which deliver reproductive health messages within the context of Islam. These publications have been developed over time based on detailed in-depth studies and gained a lot of respects. These publications helped in removing the misconceptions about the stand of Islam regarding family planning and other reproductive health issues.
The Center published a wide range of materials. International circulation of research findings and expert opinions have been a part of the Center's activities including a semi-annual Journal, "Reproductive Health and Population Science". In addition, several Islamic documents written by eminent Muslim scholars are translated into English, French and Russian. These documents are published and distributed among non-Arab Muslims. Furthermore, the Center published all the conferences' proceedings, which were organized by the Center.
The Center has an Assisted Reproduction Unit which is fully equipped. The unit provides a good opportunity for the researchers and attracted many infertile couples with a success rate that parallel to the International units. It also provides consultant Obstetricians and Gynaecologists training on advanced technology of management of infertility. This activity supports Al-Azhar definition of family planning that Al-Azhar adopted include both child spacing and infertility treatment.
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