The 2016 Russell Berrie Fellows

We are pleased to announce the 2016 cohort of Russell Berrie Fellows in Interreligious Studies. This year’s fellows constitute a highly qualified and diverse group of scholars seeking to make a difference by contributing to interreligious dialogue and interfaith understanding through their year-long education pursuing a Diploma or Licence degree in Interreligious Studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

In its ninth year, the Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies aims to build bridges between Christian, Jewish, and other religious traditions by providing the next generation of religious leaders with a comprehensive understanding of and dedication to interfaith issues.

The 2016 Russell Berrie Fellows are:

Mr. Ali Chamseddine, France/Lebanon
Sr. Anie Deepa, India
Mr. Christopher Kalaitzidis, Greece
Mr. Christine Lim, Malaysia
Ms. Samantha Lin, USA/Canada
Ms. Lynda Middleton, USA
Mr. Rafiqur Rahman, USA
Mr. William Stainsby, Ireland
Ms. Shu Chin Yang, Malaysia

The nine fellows come from nine different countries and represent a wide range of interests within interreligious studies. Their educational background, besides theology and religious studies, includes International business administration, art history, foreign services, regional and comparative studies, as well as languages. To learn more about the fellows of Cohort IX, read their short bios.

The new group of Russell Berrie fellows already arrived to Rome, and started their academic programs after participating in a four day long Orientation and Interreligious Dialogue Academic Workshop organized by IIE and hosted by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum). Besides reviewing the program requirements, the orientation program included an introduction to the Angelicum as a host institution, and guided tours in Rome with special attention to the Vatican and the Jewish quarters of the city, thus the fellows got a chance to deepen their knowledge about the history of Jewish – Catholic relations in Rome. They also had a chance to go to have a meeting with Fr. Norbert Hofmann, who is the Secretary of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. In the last two days the focus was on the academic orientation of the fellows, preparing them for their visit to Israel in the spring semester, led by Dr. Adam Afterman, academic advisor to the program from Tel Aviv University and the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem.