Newsletter — March 2019

Dear friends,

We are currently reflecting on the future of Diamond-ILS, the library management software suite we have been developing since 1999, and of AlKindi, the documentary portal dedicated to classical Arab heritage managed by this software. Since last year, thanks to European funding, the Arab Manuscripts Institute in Cairo has been cataloguing its documents in AlKindi. Diamond is currently the only software perfectly adapted to the classical Arabic culture, either handwritten or printed. Other libraries have asked us to use it, about which we are delighted. However, we will not be able to continue developing this powerful tool alone for much longer, which has consumed our energy to the detriment of fundamental research. Toward which technical and economic model should we direct ourselves, in order to benefit a larger number of institutions? This is the challenge of our current reflection. We thank the Friends of IDEO for their continued and efficient support!


On March 5th, Dr. Zeinab Taha, Assistant Professor of Arabic Language at the American University of Cairo, led a seminar session on the topic of “Al-Ǧurǧānī and the beginning of Pragmatics in the Fifth Century Hijri”. Al-Ǧurǧanī (d. 471/1078) is the first grammarian to have focused on the difference between the obvious meaning of words and the author’s intention in its formulation. Click here to read the report….

On March 19th, Mrs. Catarina Belo, Associate professor of philosophy at the American University in Cairo, led a seminar on the topic “Alfarabi’s Views on Prophecy and Prophethood”. The metaphysical and political writings of al-Fārābī (d. 339/950) seek a harmony between philosophy and religion, which can be found in his vision of the philosopher-king and the prophet.

On March 27th, Mr. Aziz Hilal gave the fifth session of his introductory seminar on Arab philosophy. This fifth session was devoted to the book The Refutation of Philosophers (Tahāfut al-falāsifa) by al-Ġazālī (d. 505/1111). Click here to see the details of the next dates…


On March 22nd and 23rd, Mr. Guillaume de Vaulx participated in the conference “Comprehending Zoological Categories in Societies of the Past” organized by the Egyptian Research Center of the Sorbonne, during which he gave a videoconference entitled “Trouble in the Genus: The Rhinoceros is a Bird! Beginnings of Anthropo-Zoology in Classical Islam”.

On March 25th and 26th, Mr. Dominique Avon participated in the conference “Islamism and Violence: Debates and Issues” organized by the University of Montréal, during which he gave a lecture entitled “Hezbollah, the Syrian Conflict, and Regional Disputes”.

Round table

On March 22nd, Amir Jajé, OP led a round table entitled “Actors and Victims” as part of the conference “France and the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon): From Violence to Hope” of which he was a co-organizer, at the Collège of France.


On March 31st, Mr. Guillaume de Vaulx was interviewed by Ghaleb Bencheikh to present his book: The Epistles of the Brothers in Purity. Mathematics and philosophy, as part of the program “Questions d’islam” on the channel France Culture. Click here to listen to the program in French….


From March 1st to 5th, we received Mr. Gordon Dunsire, an expert in RDA cataloguing, as part of our reflection on the future of Diamond, the cataloguing software for the AlKindi database, which we have been developing since 1999.

Also, from March 26th to 29th, we received three members of the Friends of IDEO, who came to continue our reflections on the future of Diamond.

Libraries of the Orient

On March 1st and 2nd, we welcomed a team from the National Library of France on a mission to the Middle East to produce a video presentation of the “Libraries of the Orient” website, of which IDEO is a partner.

On March 22nd, René-Vincent du Grandlaunay ,OP and Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP participated in the seminar “Itinerary in the memories and knowledge of the Middle East” organized as part of the “Libraries of the Orient” project.

Study trip

From March 11 to 25th, Jean Druel, OP  completed a study trip to Pakistan to evaluate the possibilities of research on Arabic grammar (i.e. teaching circuits, texts studied, available manuscripts).

From March 25 to 30th, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP accompanied a study trip to Algeria of 90 readers of the newspaper La Croix devoted to the experience of the Church of Algeria in a Muslim context and entitled “Christians in Algeria, a Church of the gathering”.


On March 4th, we welcomed Mrs. Teresa Indjein, Head of the Department-General for Austria’s International Cultural Policy.

On March 7th, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Brigitte Lefebvre-Elsamman, widow of Dr. Ali Elsamman, who was a pioneer in interreligious dialogue, particularly between al-Azhar and the Vatican.

On March 8th, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Irfana M. Hashmi, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Whittier College, California, who researches the social history of al-Azhar at the end of Mamluk era.

On March 11th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Ahmed Abu Zayed, the new librarian of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE).

On March 21st, Adrien Candiard, Op welcomed a group from the National Association of Auditors of the Institute of Advanced Studies of Security and Justice (ANA-INHESJ), as part of their study trip to Egypt.

On March 28th, we received a delegation of the Network of French Schools Abroad, of which the French Institute of Oriental Archeology  (IFAO) is a member and with which we have an increasingly important collaboration: publication of the MIDEO, the “Libraries of the Orient” website, post-PhD fellowship in 2019‒2020.

On March 30th, we welcomed Mr. Leif Stenberg, Director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations (IMSC) at Aga Khan University in London, Walid Ghali, Director of the Aga Khan Library, common to both IMSC and the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS), and Stéphane Pradines, Professor at IMSC.

Scholars’ House

In March, we had the pleasure of receiving at the Scholars’ House Mrs. Catherine Brial, Mr. Stéphane Chouin and Mr. David-Paul Carr, from the National Library of France, Mrs. Sylvie Nony, researcher in history and philosophy of sciences, and a group of students accompanied by Mrs. Rocio Daga, Professor of Islamology at the University of Munich.

Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe to our newsletter. If you would like to receive our invitations for the seminar, please mark the corresponding box.