Almudena Molina graduated in 2018 from the University of Navarra in Philosophy and Spanish Philology (funded by the alumni fellowship). During this current 2018-19 academic year, she will complete her postgraduate studies in social and political thought at the University of Sussex with the Chancellor’s Scholarship. With the aim of pursuing a research career, she currently examines the political implications of the ‘religious turn,’ and that of Jean-Luc Nancy’s deconstruction of Christianity, a subject that she will fully develop through a PhD dissertation. With the aid of a grant from the Spanish government, she has collaborated actively in this research task with the Department of Philosophy of the University of Navarra. Almudena has also recently published a work of poetry: Roderas (Seleer: 2017).
Chris Zajner is a current master’s student in philosophy at Queens University in Kingston, Canada. His main academic interests are the history of philosophy, specifically early modern and Indian philosophy, as well as bioethics. Their interests also include the study of religion and spirituality concerning its overlapping and interlinking with philosophy, specifically the notions of the reality/illusion distinction and the uses of indirect communication as the most viable means for pedagogy.
Dr. Driss Bouyahya is an associate professor at School of Arts & Humanities in Moulay Ismail University, Meknes Morocco. He holds a PhD in political Islam and political communication. His fields of interest are religious studies, sociology of religion, intercultural communication, cultural studies, political islam, and post-colonial studies. He has several publications, such as Islam-Oriented Parties’ Ideologies and Political Communication in Quest for Power in Morocco with Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Sufism & Religious Tourism, Islamist Movements in Morocco & their Typology, and Is Islam as an Ideology? How & Why?
Hüseyin Emre Ceyhun is a MA student in the Department of Economics at Sabanci University, Turkey with a focus in Middle Eastern politics. He earned his bachelor degree in management and political science from Bogazici University and served as a research assistant at Harvard Business School and Princeton University. His research explores the recursive relationship between religiosity and comparative political behavior, applying advanced statistical tools. He wrote extensively about public opinion in the Middle East at the Arab Barometer project, a nationally representative dataset surveying the Middle Eastern countries. Currently, he is a research assistant at the World Values Survey.
Erin Martine Sessions is the associate academic dean at Morling College, Sydney, Australia, where she lectures in church history and old testament. She is also the Domestic and Family Violence team lead at Common Grace, a network of over 40,000 Christians passionate about justice. Erin is a writer, speaker and poet. Her poetry has appeared in Australia's oldest continuing literary journal, Southerly, and her scholarly work in peer-reviewed journal, Crucible.
Greg MacDonald graduated with a bachelor of theology (minor in philosophy) from Flinders University. Following this, he was awarded a master’s degree in Islamic studies from The Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilization at Charles Sturt University.
He developed an interest in interfaith dialogue during trips to the Middle East, where he observed firsthand the results of systemic failure to dialogue with the other and develop policies and strategies to promote social inclusivity.
He is currently in the first year of a PhD with The Centre for Islamic Thought and Education at the University of South Australia and is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. His research area is focused on factors that are affecting Muslim Christian dialogue in Australia, and developing strategies to promote inclusion.
Matthew Brown is an astrophysicist and educator with a longstanding interest in how spirituality, shamanism and other indigenous practice shapes the relationship of societies with their environments and how this informs their constructs of time and the cosmos. Working from outside the classical boundaries, Matthew is able to approach research topics from a multidisciplinary viewpoint, which has lead him to discover aspects of ancient cultural practice that have hitherto been overlooked. Developing new approaches for investigating non-material practices, Matthew has begun to unearth new potential insights, specifically with regard to the Indus Valley Culture.
Merve Cetinkaya obtained her BA from Ankara University Divinity Faculty. She has finished her MA at Kings College London, Department of Religious Study; Religion in Contemporary Society with the dissertation of “The Relationship Between Spiritual Experience and Happiness Among London Muslim Youth”. Currently, she is a PhD student at the University College London, Faculty of Brain Science; Division of Psychiatry. Her research interest is the relationship between spirituality and mental health, specifically Islamic spirituality (Sufism) and its relation with mental well-being among individuals. Her main interests are much related to the fields of culture, psychiatry, social psychology, and spirituality.
Dr. Nurul Huda Mohd. Razif is a social anthropologist and research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden. She read anthropology and french studies at the University of Western Australia and Sciences Po Paris, before completing her PhD in social anthropology at Queens’ College, Cambridge. Her doctoral research explores how changing marriage patterns and the increasing feasibility of contracting cross-border marriages in Thailand create a favorable climate for polygyny. Prior to joining IIAS, she had the pleasure of serving briefly as a visiting fellow at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). In summer 2019, she will join Collège d’Études-Mondiales – Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (CEM-FMSH) in Paris as a visiting fellow.
Taylor West is originally from the United States. He completed his undergrad in Madrid, Spain. He did his master's and PhD in contemporary history at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. His dissertation was published in 2017 under the title Shards of Identity. His scholarship focuses on the intersection of American evangelicalism, identity, and politics during the Cold War. He currently resides in Madrid.
Being an Emerging Scholar allowed me to participate in both the front end and behind the scenes workings of the conference, which gave me a balanced perspective on what goes into putting on such an event."
I think this conference really gave me a sense of what interfaith dialogue actually looks like when it is natural. It gave me the chance to refine my own skills in learning and teaching amongst very diverse people."