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Interreligiosity can function

Mirjam Stricker, TUC graduate, dealt in her thesis with Christian-Muslim encounters and was awarded with the Marie-Pleißner-Prize

Tens of thousands drove in the recent months onto the streets of Germany to express their opposition to the feared islamization of the West through the Pegida demonstrations. In the weekly “evening walks“ it is all about one thing: to avoid the contact with Muslims in the own country. And yet there is a cooperation of Christians and Muslims in many places. Mirjam Stricker studied Intercultural Communication in Chemnitz and in her master’s thesis, she treated the question of how people of different believes, religions and world views can communicate and live together. The 29-year-old spent many hours in Christian-Muslim meeting centres in Southern Germany and was involved in the inter-faith discussion groups, to generate the data for her research from participatory observations and interviews with dialogue participants. “I think this issue is still very exciting“, said Stricker, adding: “In particular against the background of today’s cultural, social and political contexts raises the question of what happens when Christians and Muslims decidedly discuss the faith-based issues. The whole theme includes on the one hand, much potential for conflict, but on the other hand, a peaceful coexistence is also possible – inasmuch both sides accept each other.“ Her work entitled “Analysis of inter¬religious encounter in practice – Context, conditions, policies and consequences on example of life history narratives from a Christian-Muslim meeting centre in Germany“ the graduate passed with a score of “very good“. A much greater honor for Stricker was receiving the Marie-Pleißner-Prize, which is annually bestowed to dedicated students with outstanding grades at TU Chemnitz. “The application for the award was submitted by my supervisor Dr. Arne Weidemann. When I heard about the award, I was very happy. It is a beautiful form of recognition, especially when someone invests much heart’s blood into the research paper“, remembers Stricker.

Commitment and varied cultural interest have always been Stricker’s special characteristics. After graduation, the 20-year-old traveled for five months through New Zeeland, collecting a lot of experience from abroad and foreign language skills. Back in Germany, she began her teacher studies at the Karlsruhe University of Education. At that time she has already discovered her preference for topics associated with inter­religiosity and conflict between Christianity and Islam. After another half-year stay in the UK and Wales, and successfully passing the first state examination in 2010, Stricker felt the urge towards further development: “I wanted to learn even more, expand my horizons. So I decided to leave clerkship, moved to Chemnitz and enrolled to master’s program in Intercultural Communication.“ After graduation, she moved back to Karlsruhe, where she is now a research assistant at the Centre for Cultural and General Studies, an institution of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Her main tasks include PR as well as project and event management. As a project coordinator in the field of intercultural projects, she also supervises the German network of the Anna Lindh Foundation and coordinates a project group that comes together to the inter-religious interactive meetings twice a year.

Her plans for the future? “From the technical side of job, I have not yet been defined. I am working to achieve a doctorate in the field of interreligious encounter project for students, but I‘ll see what comes of it“, says the native of Stuttgart. “Since the last term I have been privately learning Arabic. Learning a new language gives a new perspective and a different approach to people. I would also like to apply this in practice during a Jordan trip at the end of the year.“

The scientific poster of Mirjam Stricker’s thesis can be found under the following link: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/gleichstellung/Wissenschaftliches_Poster_Mirjam_Stricker.pdf

(Author: Katharina Preuß, Translation: Nataliia Boiko)

Katharina Thehos

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