Dr. Iqbal Akhtar
Founding Director of Western Indian Ocean Studies, Director of Jain Studies
Prof. Dr. Iqbal Akhtar is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Politics & International Relations at Florida International University. He completed his doctorate at New College at the University of Edinburgh and has previously taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy. His interdisciplinary research examines the existential questions of contemporary religious, political, and cultural identity through the disciplines of history, anthropology, political science, and linguistics. Previous international research projects in Tanzania and Pakistan were funded by the U.S. Department of State and Defense. His innovative pedagogy incorporates Collaborative Online International Education (COIL) in course development for student learning. He is the founding director of Western Indian Ocean Studies program (WIOS) at FIU as well as the director of Jain Studies, developing new avenues for North-South institutional collaborations and research projects funded by local, state, and international organizations.
In addition to his academic position, Prof. Akhtar is involved in community capacity building. He is a licensed teacher in Louisiana and Florida in early childhood education and middle school Social Studies respectively. He is chairman of the Children’s College Foundation and Executive Director of The East West Foundation, dedicated to preserving history, environmental sustainability, and improving educational outcomes and creating economic opportunities for disadvantaged youth.