IU Is Everywhere

From Bloomington to Bangkok, meet members of the IU family who are acting as ambassadors for the university.

Shariq Siddiqui, Saudi Arabia

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy faculty member Shariq Siddiqui has been preparing students in Saudi Arabia for the nation's booming nonprofit sector.

Shariq Siddiqui's father was a doctor. His father's father was a doctor. He had watched generations of his family work hard for years to become established doctors before beginning their philanthropic endeavors. Siddiqui inherited a family legacy of giving back, but when he graduated from the University of Indianapolis, he didn't want to wait until he had excess funds to get involved with giving.

He took a year after graduation to figure out how to do this. After discovering IUPUI's Center on Philanthropy, which would eventually become the nation's first school of philanthropy in 2012, Siddiqui enrolled in the university's philanthropic studies master's program. Now with a master's and Ph.D. in philanthropic studies and a law degree, the assistant professor and visiting director of IUPUI's Muslim Philanthropy Initiative has been traveling throughout the Middle East to help others make careers out of giving back.

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Shariq Siddiqui receives recognition for the role he played in establishing the first co-ed philanthropy training program at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Office of the Chancellor

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI has partnered with King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia to help its Center of Excellence in Development of Nonprofit Organizations develop a strong workforce for the nation's booming nonprofit sector. Thanks to the help from IUPUI and Siddiqui, King Fahd University graduated its first class of 50 fundraising managers, half of whom are women. Both Siddiqui and IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar attended the graduation ceremony in March.

"Having an integrated classroom, something that is new for Saudi Arabia, leads to so many phenomenal conversations," Siddiqui said. "All of the stereotypes that people have of Saudi Arabia just evaporate when you enter the room."

While representatives from IUPUI have a lot to teach these Saudi Arabian scholars, Siddiqui said they also have a great deal to learn from them. Each time he shares a tool for solving problems in the sector, students use that tool in a way that he may not have. He said he's constantly surprised by how much he continues to learn about a sector he has worked in for more than 20 years.

"The insight we can get from the experiences in these developing and diverse sectors in Africa, Asia and Europe is amazing," he said. "As the United States' first school of philanthropy, we can provide our knowledge but also grow our experiences. The fact that IU has stepped up to the plate to help develop these sectors says something great about the university."

Whether Siddiqui is researching Muslim philanthropy in the United States, teaching students in Indianapolis or helping build the next generation of nonprofit practitioners in the Middle East, he remains focused on why he sought a career in philanthropy in the first place.

"I chose this discipline because I wanted who I am as a human being, as a scholar and as a teacher to make it so that when I look back at my career, I can feel as if I made a difference and made the world a little better than when I entered it," he said. "That's what drives me and what tells me my work is important."