An award-winning author and internationally celebrated public speaker, Professor Shafique Virani is currently Chair of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto. Described as one of “the world’s most renowned scholars in Islamic studies” by Canada’s Laurier Institution, his research, teaching and humanitarian work champions the cause of pluralism, fostering greater mutual understanding between the West and the Muslim world.
After receiving his PhD from Harvard University, Professor Virani served on the faculty at Harvard and was the Head of World Humanities at Zayed University in the UAE before coming to U of T. His teaching experience is vast and spans a diversity of subject matters and educational contexts. He has taught boatmen on the banks of the Ganges in Benares and members of the royal family in Abu Dhabi, Afghan refugee children in Calgary and Indonesian mullahs at McGill, troubled teenagers from inner-city high schools and both graduate and undergraduate students at Harvard. At U of T, he mentors the largest humanities research team and his classes have been described as being “a Socratic dialogue, Oprah, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire combined.” In awarding him its highest teaching honor, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations lauded Professor Virani’s ability to “not simply…teach the material, but to transform lives.”