Dr Aziz Esmail, a Governor of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, delivered the 2011 Milad-un-Nabi lecture at the Ismaili Centre, London. Reflecting on the commemoration of Prophet Muhammad's birthday (peace be upon him and his family), he elucidates on the nature and evolution of cultural memory and its relationship with modernity.
Prior to his appointment as a Governor of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, Dr Esmail served as its Dean between 1988–98. Originally trained in philosophy, literature and religion, Dr Esmail has held lecturing and research positions at various American universities as well as the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He has been associated with The Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago as well as Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions and Graduate School of Education. Dr Esmail has been a consultant to, among other institutions, the Humanities division of the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to articles in journals, his writings include The Poetics of Religious Experience: The Islamic Context and A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics.