Dr. Serafettin Pektas, holds a PhD degree in Islamic Studies from KU Leuven (University of Leuven). After he has received his MA degree in Sociology from Bogazici University of Istanbul, he pursued another MA degree at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome between 2004 and 2006. He has been actively involved in various intercultural initiatives and projects in Brussels since 2008. His research interests include interfaith dialogue, religious studies, comparative theology, theological anthropology and Muslim presence in Europe.
Prof. Emeritus Johan Leman, PhD in social and cultural anthropology, MA in philosophy, MA in eastern philology and history, K.U. Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) (Belgium). MA in theology (exegesis Old Testament). Emeritus Professor in social and cultural anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at K.U. Leuven. He taught ‘migration and minority policies and its anthropological implications’, ‘ethnicity and its application at Mediterranean cultures’, ‘interethnic majority-minority relations in Europe’, ‘introduction in social and cultural anthropology, and criminological issues’ and ‘anthropology of religion’. Former chief of cabinet of the Royal Commissioner for Migrant Policy in Belgium. Former Director of the federal Centre for equal opportunities and opposition against racism. President of Foyer, regional minority centre in Brussels. Former and first chairholder of KU Leuven GCIS: Gülen chair for intercultural studies.
PhD in social and cultural anthropology, MA in philosophy, MA in eastern philology and history, K.U. Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) (Belgium)
Dr. Gunter Mulack is a retired German Ambassador and at present the Executive Director of the German Orient Institute in Berlin. He entered into the German diplomatic service in 1971 after studying Law and Oriental languages as well as Middle Eastern Regional studies at the universities of Marburg,Freiburg and Göttingen in Germany. He did post-graduate studies at the University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall Law school – he graduated as LL.M in 1970. In 1971 after having been research associate at the Institute of International Law at Göttingen University he received his Ph.D. in International law. As a diplomat he served mostly in the Arab world. He was German Ambassador to Bahrain, Kuwait and Syria and Consul General in Casablanca. In May 2002 he was appointed as the first German Commissioner for Dialogue with the Muslim world and served until 2005 in this capacity visiting almost all Muslim countries. In September 2008, he was appointed Executive Director of the German Orient Institute in Berlin. He is member of the board of the German Orient Foundation and of several Think Tanks, also former Senior Advisor to the Aga Khan Development Network and active in Intercultural dialogue as well as Political analyst, publisher and commentator of current World affairs with special focus on Muslim countries and political Islam.
Retired German Ambassador and at present the Executive Director of the German Orient Institute in Berlin
Prof. Emmanuel Gerard is Full Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences. He was chair of the Political Science Departement from 1993 until 2000 and dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2003 until 2003. He is president of KADOC Documentation and Research Center on Religion, Culture and Society; and chairholder of the Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies. He has been general director of HIVA Research Institute for Work and Society since 1 June 2013.
Full Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences
Dr. Fiore Geelhoed conducts research in the programme Empirical and normative studies, at VU University Amsterdam.
Prof. Emilio Platti is Italo-Belgian and lives between Leuven and Cairo. After his Dominican formation at the St. Thomas Institute in Leuven, he devoted himself to theology and Oriental studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. In 1972, he joined the IDEO where he prepared his PhD in literature under the supervision of Fr. Anawati (Cairo) and Pr. Van Roey (Leuven). This PhD would later give rise to the publication of many works about the Jacobite theologian and philosopher Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī and about the Arab Christian medieval heritage. From 1980 to 2010, he has taught at the KULeuven, the UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve), US Thomas (Manila) and at the Catholic Institute of Paris. His teachings are mainly geared towards the relationships between Christianism and Islam.
Member of the European Parliament First Muslim Labour MEP in Britain
Prof. Rik Coolsaet is Professor of International Relations at Ghent University (Belgium). He is Chair of the Department of Political Science at Ghent University and Senior Associate Fellow at the Egmont Institute (Royal Institute for International Relations) in Brussels. He was invited to join the original European Commission Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation (established 2006) and is member of the European Network of Experts on Radicalisation (ENER). One of his latest book publications is: Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge. European and American Experiences (Ashgate, October 2011).
Prof. Rik Coolsaet is Professor of International Relations at Ghent University (Belgium)
Prof. Zeki Saritoprak, Ph.D., has held the Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, since 2003. He holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology from the University of Marmara in Turkey. His dissertation which examines the personification of evil in the Islamic tradition is entitled The Antichrist (al-Dajjal) in Islamic Theology and was published in Turkish in Istanbul in 1992. Prior to coming to John Carroll, Professor Saritoprak held positions at Harran University in Turkey, Georgetown University, the Catholic University of America, and Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He is also the founder and former president of the Rumi Forum for Interfaith Dialogue in Washington, DC.
Dr. Sophia Pandya specializes in women, religion, and globalization. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UCSB in Religious Studies, with a focus on women and Islam. She co-edited the book titled The GulenHizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in Contemporary Islam.
Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven. Professor of International Relations and American Politics. Kerremans conducts research on the external trade policies of the United States and the European Union, and decision-making in this field in general, and on the WTO-related trade relations between the EU and the US in particular.
Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven
Prof. Jon Pahl, PhD, is Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Professor in the History of Christianity at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Prof. Pahl was conferred the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Endowed Chair in the History of Christianity in a ceremony on November 27, 2012. He has also served as Visiting Professor of Religion at Temple University, in Philadelphia, and as Visiting Professor of Religion at Princeton University.
Dr. Pahl has published dozens of articles, essays, columns, and reviews; has appeared on media outlets from the BBC to ABC, and is author or editor of six books, most recently Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Spaces: Putting God in Place (Wipf and Stock), and Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence (NYU).
Prof. Gino Schallenbergh graduated in 1996 at the Catholic University of Leuven with an MA Thesis on Ibn Taymîya’s views on the Shiite cult of the Ahl al-Bayt . From October 1996 till September 2004 he was assistant-director at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC) where he was in charge of the Arabic teaching programme and the weekly lectures held at the institute. He co-organised academic meetings on diverse subjects related to the medieval and modern history of Egypt. Gino Schallenbergh’s research covers developments in Islamic doctrine and its relation to the traditional heritage. Due attention is given to the impact of technological developments (satellite television, internet) on the “globalising” Islamic discourse. Gino Schallenbergh is currently finishing a PhD dissertation on ‘Ibn Qayyim al-Djawzîya’s interpretation of Sufi terminology’ . His continued research explores the modern Islamic debate on Sufism in Egypt and Sudan. Other research topics include: political change and militancy in the Middle East (with focus on Egypt and Sudan), religious and secular literature of the Mamluk era (1250-1517). Gino Schallenbergh wrote several articles on the topics mentioned and participated in international conferences in Egypt, Europe and the USA. He is member of the Union européenne des arabisants et islamisants (UEAI) and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).
Prof. Scott C. Alexandre, Associate Professor of Islam ic Studies and Director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program, M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of religions (Islamic studies), Columbia University, NY. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard, Scott went on to Columbia University in New York where he earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of religions, with a concentration in Islamic studies. From 1986 to 1990, Scott taught courses on Islam and the history of religions at Columbia, Fordham, and Princeton University, and in 1991 he took a position on the religious studies faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington where he taught as an assistant professor of Islamic studies from 1993 to 2000. Scott is the author of a number of articles on Islamic history and religion and Christian-Muslim Relations published in scholarly journals, edited collections, and encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East (Macmillan, 1996) and the Encyclopedia of the Qur’an (E.J. Brill, 2001-2005)
Associate Professor of Islam ic Studies and Director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program, M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of religions (Islamic studies), Columbia University
Leen d’Haenens is Full Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven. She holds an MA in Romance Languages, an MSc in Press and Communication Sciences (University of Ghent), and an MSc in Information Studies (University of Toronto). She is vice dean International Relations of the Faculty of Social Sciences (as of 2012). Between 2007 and 2011 she was chair of the Communication Science program, responsible for implementing the academic integration of the journalism programs at the Antwerp and Brussels campuses into the Faculty of Social Sciences. Between 2002 and 2007 she chaired a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Interdisciplinary Assessment of Initiatives for Public Governance. As of 2010 she is a member of the expert panel for social, political and communication sciences of the Research Foundation Flanders. She is vice-chair of the Chamber for Impartiality and Protection of Minors of the Flemish Media Regulator (as of March 2009) and board member of the Netherlands Press Fund (as of April 2006). Her current areas of research include digital media and youth, news media (e.g. portrayal of Islam and Muslims in the news, longitudinal studies on news diversity), media and ethnic minorities (e.g., ethnic discussion forums as a source of social capital for ethnic minorities), and western media policy and governance mechanisms.
Full Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven
Emeritus Professor Ross Chambers served as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Charles Sturt University from 2002 to his retirement in 2012. From 1992 to 2002 he was Dean, Faculty of Arts, at CSU. Since 2013 Emeritus Professor Chambers has acted on a part-time basis as Head of Campus for CSU at Port Macquarie, helping oversee the development of CSU’s new campus there. As Dean, then DVC, Emeritus Professor Chambers oversaw the establishment of theology, Islamic studies and interfaith programs at CSU. He has been chair of the Board of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture since 2002. The Centre is dedicated to religious dialogue and to social inclusion in the context of religious diversity. Since 2013 Professor Chambers has been chair of the Council of the United Theological College.
Dr. Gunnar Stalsett, bishop emeritus of Oslo (Church of Norway, 1998-2005), serves as moderator of the European Council of Religious Leaders and an international president of the World Council of Religions for Peace. Previously Stalsett served as general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (1984-1994) and a member of the World Council of Churches’ Executive Committee. From 1972 to 1973 he was state secretary in the Ministry of Church Affairs, Culture, and Education; he served as a Norwegian parliamentarian during 1977 to 1981.
Bishop emeritus of Oslo (Church of Norway, 1998-2005)
Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Head of Research and Commercial Development in its Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences. He is also a Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford and Vice Chair of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby. His current interests include: issues in the relationships between religion, state and society. Among his recent publications are: A Mirror For Our Times: ‘The Rushdie Affair’ and the Future of Multiculturalism (Continuum, 2009); Time for Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (London: T. & T. Clark, 2005)
Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Head of Research and Commercial Development in its Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences
Dr. Samir Boudinar, head of the Center for Human and Social Research and Studies
Head of the Center for Human and Social Research and Studies
Prof. Asma Afsaruddin is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. She is the author or editor of seven books, including Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015); Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought (Oxford University press, 2013), which was selected for a World Book Award by the Iranian government and was a runner-up for the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book prize; and the First Muslims: History and Memory (Oneworld Publications, 2008), which was recently translated into Turkish. Professor Afsaruddin has also written over fifty articles and essays on a broad range of topics within Islamic Studies and she frequently lectures in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Her research has been supported by prestigious grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Mellon Foundation.
Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Dr. Djamel MISRAOUI, responsable du département solidarité internationale du monde musulman de Grotius International.
Prof. Jan De Volder has MA degrees in Romance Literature and Languages (Universiteit Antwerpen), Contemporary History (KU Leuven), and a PhD degree in Social and Religious History. Currently, De Volder occupies the recently founded Cusanus Chair ‘Religion, Conflict and Peace’ of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the KU Leuven. He published several books and articles on Church history, interfaith dialogue and peace making. As a senior member of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Belgium, he is committed to service to the poor and to work for human rights, interfaith dialogue and peace and reconciliation, especially in the Mediterranean, Africa and Europe. He is president of the Belgian association ‘Viva Africa’ and is the head of the Sant’Egidio Brussels liaison office to the European Institutions.