The Diwan Foundation


What is The Diwan Foundation?

The Diwan Foundation was created by Muslim alumni of Cornell University as a financial vehicle to support coordinated Muslim life programming at Cornell. 

Diwan seeks to enhance the quality of life for self-identifying Muslims and all Cornellians, by providing resources, implementing programs, and developing opportunities for students.

Diwan is a 501(c)(3) non-profit federally tax-exempt organization.

How did Diwan come about?

In 2007, a group of Cornell Muslim alumni conceived of a financial vehicle through which alumni could support Muslim life at Cornell. We titled the foundation "Diwan" for the diverse array of artistic and executive meanings it conveys, from poetry and calligraphy to a governing body or council in Arabic, Persian and other languages.  

Diwan Foundation was incorporated in 2008, and in 2010 was registered as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization in the state of New York . On February 24, 2011 – a wintry, Ithaca day that felt all too familiar – directors, students, faculty, and administrators gathered in the Founders Room of Anabel Taylor Hall officially to launch Diwan.

While our Cornell experiences are unique and span many generations, we have each benefitted from a Muslim presence on campus. Because of our gratitude to and fondness for Cornell, we share a desire to improve this experience for future generations. 

What’s the difference between Diwan and Cornell Muslim Alumni? 

The Diwan Foundation is the fundraising vehicle dedicated to supporting Muslim Life programming at Cornell. 

Cornell Muslim Alumni (CMA) is a social and professional network for Muslim alumni of Cornell University to connect with each other virtually and through events such as socials, iftaars and professional networking sessions. CMA is the face of Muslim alumni to Muslim students at Cornell who want to reach out of the alumni community.

You can find out more about CMA here.



Dr. Jarra Fatima Jagne '90 

A 1990 graduate of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine following which she completed a residency in Avian Medicine and Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is presently a Senior Extension Associate  at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. She and her husband Amadou have two daughters and a son. 


Jainal Bhuiyan '04

A 2004 graduate from Cornell's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. He is currently a Director and Head of Healthcare Equity Capital Markets with Highline Research Advisors in New York. He was a founding Director of Muppies, New York, an organization dedicated to mentorship and leadership development.

Chief Financial Officer

Fatima Iqbal '05

A 2005 graduate of Cornell University with a BS in Applied Economics and Management. She is currently an investment advisor and financial planner with Azzad Asset Management, specializing in Islamic finance and socially responsible investing. Fatima lives in the Greater Philadelphia area with her husband and son.

Director (Fundraising)

Nadeem I. Shafi '96

Nadeem graduated from Cornell's College of Arts & Science in 1996 with a concentration in Cell Biology. Following his M.D. and residency in Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, he completed a clinical fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston. He is presently an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Neuroscience at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He and his wife reside in Gainesville.

Director (Information Technology) 

Saad Y. Hassan '98

Saad graduated from Cornell's College of Engineering in 1998. He worked in Corporate IT for Rohm and Haas Company for several years, before launching the IT consulting firm Hassan Associates. Saad and his wife reside with their son and daughter in the greater Chicago area.


Mohamed Ismail '12

Mohamed graduated from Cornell’s College of Engineering in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He currently resides in Ithaca as a PhD candidate at Cornell’s Computer Systems Laboratory.

Director (Student Alumni Relations)

Fariha Ahsan '12 

Fariha graduated with a dual degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Human Ecology in 2012. After taking time off to gather work experience in health equity for people with disabilities, she now resides in New York City as a PhD candidate at NYU Wagner's School of Public service in Health administration and Disability policy.

Director (Alumni Outreach)

Khairul Anwar ‘08

Khairul graduated from Cornell's College of Architecture, Art and Planning in 2008, with a Bachelors in Urban and Regional studies, before completing his Masters in Urban Design and Social Science at the London School of Economics. He is currently with International Enterprise Singapore overseeing infrastructure and international cooperation projects with government partners in emerging markets, having previously covered business and investment promotion in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He currently lives in Singapore.




Abdullah Antepli

D. Min.

Is Muslim chaplain at Duke University, where he is also a faculty in the Divinity School teaching courses of Islam. He completed his early training and education in his native Turkey, and from 1996 to 2003 worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar and Malaysia with the Association of Social and Economic Solidarity with Pacific Countries. He is founder and executive board member of the Muslim Chaplains Association and a member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains. From 2003 to 2005 he served as the first Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University, then moved to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he was the associate director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program & Interfaith Relations. Imam Antepli is one of only a handful of full-time Muslim chaplains at U.S. colleges and universities.

Saeed A. Bajwa

M.D., F.A.C.S

A neurosurgeon with Southern New York NeuroSurgical Group, P.C. He received his medical training at Nihstar Medical College (Pakistan), where he graduated first. He completed residencies at the Combined Military Hospital, Lahore, and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. Dr Bajwa has lectured in Forensic Medicine and Pathology, has received both the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Alpha Omega Alpha Award from the SUNY Health Science Center. He is past chairman of the Section of Neurosurgery at United Health Services Hospital, current Chairman at the Section of Neurosurgery at Lourdes Hospital, Binghamton, NY, a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, of the New York Medical Society, and a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr Bajwa is active in community philanthropy, and also in the Muslim community of Binghamton and the Southern Tier. 

Vincent J. Cornell


Is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1991 to 2000, he taught at Duke University, and from 2000 to 2006, he was Professor of History and Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas. His published works include The Way of Abu Madyan (Cambridge, 1996), Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, 1998) and, as editor, the five-volume set, Voices of Islam (Westport and London, 2007). He has lived and worked in Morocco for six years, and has spent considerable time teaching and doing research in Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. He is currently working on projects on Islamic ethics and moral theology. For the past five years, he has been a key participant in the Building Bridges Seminars hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Yvonne Haddad


Is Professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University. She completed her early education in Syria and Lebanon, before moving to the United States with her husband in the 1960s. Professor Haddad's fields of expertise include twentieth-century Islam, intellectual, social and political history in the Arab world, and Islam in North America and the West. Professor Haddad has authored and edited some thirty books, including Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History (Albany, 1982), Islamic Values in the United States: a comparative study (Oxford, 1987), The Muslims of America (New York, 1991), Muslim Communities in North America (Albany, 1994), Muslims on the Americanization Path? (Atlanta, 1998), Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens (Oxford, 2002), and Educating the Muslims of America (Oxford, 2009).

Sherman A. Jackson


Holds the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture at the University of Southern California, where he is a Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity. He was formerly the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Visiting Professor of Law, and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, and Wayne State University. His books include Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihâb al-Dîn al-Qarâfî (Brill, 1996), On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abû Hâmid al-Ghazâlî’s Faysal al-Tafriqa (Oxford, 2002), Islam and the Blackamerican (Oxford, 2002), and Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering (Oxford, 2009). Professor Jackson is co-founder of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America, past president of the Sharî‘ah Scholars’ Association of North America (SSANA) and a past trustee of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). 

Tariq al-Jamil


Is Assistant Professor of Religion and Coordinator of the Islamic Studies Program at Swarthmore College. Professor al-Jamil works on medieval Islamic social history and law, with a particular focus on Shi'ism. He has published on Islam and inter-communal violence, pre-modern religious identity, religious dissimulation, the transmission of knowledge in Islam, and women in Islamic jurisprudence. He is currently completing a manuscript on Shi¹i-Sunni relations in 13th- and 14th-century Baghdad. Professor al-Jamil lectures extensively in the U.S. and overseas.



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