On April 11th, La Trobe University law student, Randa Rafiq, was presented with the Professor Riaz Hassan AAIMS Prize for Best Honours Thesis for 2018. Randa received this prestigious award for her creative thesis ‘The rocky road to legal pluralism,’ which examined legal pluralism in Australia with reference to Islamic family law, under the supervision of Dr Kerstin Steiner.

AAIMS offers this prize for the most outstanding honours thesis in the interdisciplinary field of Islamic and Muslim studies, with the intention of encouraging junior scholars to pursue further research in the field. The award is named after Emeritus Professor Riaz Hassan OAM, who has been a foundational figure in studies of Muslim lives and has held positions of eminence at Flinders University, the National University of Singapore (NUS), Gadjah Mada University, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Yale University. 

The award ceremony was held directly after Professor Pam Nilan’s public seminar; Indonesian Youth: Faith and Environmental Activism. It commenced with a speech by AAIMS President Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh, congratulating Randa on her impressive thesis, after which Randa was presented with a certificate and a cheque for $500 along with a warm round of applause from the audience.             

It is wonderful to watch the passion and interest in this diverse field of research blossom and to see junior voices contributing fresh perspectives. Congratulations, again, Randa, and we hope to hear more from you in the future.