Aref Ali Nayed was born in Benghazi and raised in Tripoli. He later went to Canada to study at the insistence of his father and received his BS in Engineering from the University of Guelph. At Guelph he became deeply interested in philosophy and in science and stayed on to complete an MA in the Philosophy of Science, and then a PhD in Hermeneutics from the University of Guelph. His doctoral work on operational hermeneutics was published in 2011 by Kalam Research and Media. Pursuing further his academic interests he studied Islamic philosophy and theology at the University of Toronto and then specialised in Christian theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
He went on to take up several academic positions and was Professor at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (Rome), and the International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilization (Malaysia).
In the 1990s he returned to Libya and headed an IT Company with offices in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sharjah and Hyderabad.
As the former Libyan government began lifting restrictions on religious teaching, Aref Nayed helped restore and reopen the famous Othman Pasha Madrasa in the Old Madina of Tripoli. This madrasa was a renowned centre for theological and spiritual instructions and many leading Tripolitanian scholars of the past were associated with it. Aref Nayed taught theology, logic and spirituality at the Othman Pasha Madrasa until February 2011 when the political unrest in Tripoli escalated and the former regime's forces committed widespread violence, killings and summary arrests of those supporting the Free Libyan movement.
Aref Nayed is also Senior Advisor to the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme; Fellow of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute in Jordan; and was appointed to the Board of Advisors of the prestigious Templeton Foundation.
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