Baraza Ijtihad is a salon-styled forum, with both online and on campus elements for students at the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies Department at Columbia University. The forum supports intellectual exchange on issues relevant to the past, present and future of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. The forum’s name and imprint mirror the long history of intellectual, commercial and cultural exchange between these three regions. The Swahili word baraza traces its lineage from Persian and evokes the sense of a public meeting as well as the physical space where meetings take place. It finds a cognate in the Hindi/Urdu word bazar that is commonly employed across South Asia. The Arabic ijtihad means the struggle of independent reason and critical self-reflection over convention and habit. Through the intersection and interaction of the timeless and timely, the local and the global, the dynamic and the rigorous, from the market of ideas and exchange that BI offers, the intellectual can expect to leave with new units of analysis, new methodologies, and new forms of presentation responsive to contemporary social realities and current technological imperatives.