United Kingdom

Nick Thorpe (2012 EPA)

Thorpe - cropThorpe is a journalist and writer residing in Hungary.

Sajida Madni (2009, 2010 ISSPRL)

Sajida Madni has been working as a professional organizer for the past 6 years with Birmingham Citizens. Birmingham Citizens is a broad based organization consisting of 30 dues paying member institutions including mosques, churches, trade unions, schools and other community institutions that are committed to working together for the common good. Citizens provides training in the theory and practice of effective organizing to local people in their organizations so that communities can bring about positive change in their own neighborhoods. Sajida graduated from the University of Birmingham with honors degrees in English and Theology at the age of 18. She went on to working as an English teacher at a large Secondary school in Birmingham. In 2003, at the age of 23, Sajida became Birmingham’s youngest Head of Faculty in English as well as being the Head of the Citizenship department. Sajida has grown up in Birmingham and is a member of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB). She has been involved in leadership development work with ISB’s youth wing, Young Muslims and also serves as a volunteer teacher for Birmingham Citizens’ member schools. Sajida is a keen footballer and captained the Aston Villa Ladies Team for three years as well representing her university’s women’s side. In recognition of her achievements, Sajida was awarded the ‘Young Alumna of the Year’ award from the University of Birmingham in 2007.

Madeleine Reeves (2010 ISSRPL)

I am a Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester. I am also affiliated to the Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures, where I have developed a keen interest in how we talk and write about co-existence and how as humans and societies we think about ways of co-existing that may be different from our own. My research to date has focused on the Ferghana valley region of Central Asia, where I have lived at different times over the past 11 years, looking in particular at the challenges that are posed by the securitization of new international borders in an area where livelihoods have historically been intensely inter-dependent. I am now working on a project looking at the legal and documentary production of migrant “illegality” in urban Russia, and the way in which religion is mobilized in debates about difference.

Mustafa Yunus (2010 ISSRPL)

Mustafa Yunus graduated from Aston University and is an Optometrist by profession. He was born and bred in Birmingham, though he spent much of his professional life working outside the UK’s second city. Mustafa was a member of Young Muslims, UK and played an instrumental role in shaping the organization as a teenager himself. He also volunteers with Islamic Relief, the world’s largest Islamic Charity, which works to alleviate the suffering of some of the world’s poorest people. Mustafa is fluent in three languages besides English and his love for the Arabic language took him to the prestigious Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines in Château Chinon, France to study the language in depth. Upon graduating in less than two years, Mustafa returned to Birmingham, where he began to teach the Arabic language to interested pupils on a voluntary basis. Mustafa is an avid reader, an enthusiastic gardener and has also recently taken up beekeeping as an additional hobby!

Seamus Neville (2009 ISSRPL)

Seamus has been and activist with the Fourth World Movement in the United Kingdom for 23 years, supporting families and people living in exclusion and/or great poverty. He has been active in various activities, meetings, and events organized by the FWM. Recently, he took part in a FWM “social training”, part of which involved meeting with social work students, and visiting various structures and institutions, to exchange views about how and why children are put into care. On a regular basis, he helps at a Refugee Resource Centre. He lives in London, has 3 children and one grandchild.

David Payne (2009 ISSRPL)

David participated in the 2008 International Summer School on Religion and Public Life, which he found both rewarding and challenging and is looking forward to being involved in this year’s school. He is delighted to be living in such a culturally diverse city as Birmingham and is joining others working with young people. This includes ‘the feast’, a new charity set up to help build friendships between Christian and Muslim young people. A believer in Jesus, he is keen to remain a learner and live out his faith honestly and peacefully.

Pritpal Kaur Riat (2009 ISSRPL)

Pritpal Kaur Riat is a Sikh from Leeds, UK. A graduate in BA History from Kings College, University of London, she is currently completing her PhD in Sikh Studies at the University of Birmingham. Pritpal has had extensive experience in interfaith work for the past 5 years through volunteering at Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (a multi-faceted Faith Based Organization working in UK, Kenya and India). Grass roots interfaith work that Pritpal is involved in includes Faith Guiding and the Faith Encounter Programme in Birmingham. She also supports social justice events run by Birmingham Citizens, the Environment Agency, and Jubilee Debt Campaign. Pritpal was part of a Sikh delegation that visited Israel and Palestine in 2005. She has also represented the Sikh youth at various international interfaith events, including the inter-religious youth meeting hosted by the ‘Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue’ at Assisi, Italy in 2007; and the European Interfaith Youth Network religious encounter hosted by ‘Religions for Peace’, at Rovereto, Italy in 2008.

Rosemary Warmington (2009 ISSRPL)

Warmington is an organizer with Birmingham Citizens and active in the Black-led Churches in Birmingham.

Bob Wilkes (2009 ISSRPL)

I am an Anglican priest, currently serving as Dean of Birmingham Cathedral. I worked in the Middle East and Central Asia for many years, and in Liverpool (UK) where I chaired the Merseyside Council of Faiths and worked closely with the local government. I am keen to explore the positive relation between people of faith and the public life of their communities, and to think hard about the role of the Christian community within that relation. My wife, Sheila, and I are parents of four young adults, and grandparents of two delightful little girls.

Viv Baldwin (2008 ISSRPL)

Rev. Viv Baldwin is a full time Chaplain with the West Midlands Police. She is working at building up a team of chaplains and faith advisers to support the spiritual wellbeing of all members of the police service. Her passion is to encourage true religious tolerance in a way that does not deny one’s own faith perspective but enriches and enhances it.

Amanullah De Sondy (2008 ISSRPL)

Amanullah is a Scotsman who is a full time researcher and teacher at the Centre for the Study of Islam, School of Divinity, University of Glasgow having graduated with a BA Hons. Religious Studies and Education and M.Litt in Jerusalem Studies previously. Amanullah is currently finalizing his PhD on ‘The Notion and Construction of Masculinity in Indian Islamic Texts 1800-2000′. Amanullah was the Lead Researcher on a one-year project funded by the Ford Foundation New York titled ‘Philanthropy for Social Justice in the British Muslim Societies’. The final conclusions have been presented nationally and internationally and will be published shortly. He was short-listed for the University of Glasgow Teaching Excellence Awards 2007 and has been a regular contributor to BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought for the Day and called upon in the national media on issues relating to Islam. Amanullah plays a key role in Religious Education in Scottish schools. He has worked as a consultant to the Scottish Qualifications Authority authoring various publications on Islam and has provided a variety of courses and seminars for teachers on Islam. Amanullah blogs on ‘Progressive Scottish Muslims’ in hope to open up the critical and timely debates on Islam. In his spare time he runs half marathons, swims and can be seen officiating as an umpire at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

Richard Gale (2008 ISSRPL)

Richard Gale is a post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology, with special interests in demography and the urban sociology of religion. Presently, he is presently undertaking research in Birmingham on changing patterns of segregation in the city, particularly with regards to the experiences of Muslim communities.

David Payne (2008 ISSRPL)

David recently trained as a secondary Religious Education teacher (in Exeter and Cornwall) and moved to Birmingham for his first post. Although not currently teaching he is delighted to be living in such a culturally diverse city and is joining others working with young people. He is excited about the prospect of introducing teenagers of different faiths to each other and encouraging friendships that challenge prejudice. A believer in Jesus, he is keen to remain a learner and live out his faith honestly and peacefully.

Annie Rubienska (2008 ISSRPL)

Annie Rubienska is a lecturer and consultant with the International Development Department at University of Birmingham, specializing in leadership, HR and social marketing, working with practitioners and students in India, Bangladesh, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Kiev, Romania and more recently in China. Understanding the significance of the relationships between religion and public life is a critical aspect of IDD’s work and Annie hopes to deepen her understanding through participation and dialogue with members of this Summer School

John Holmwood (2007 ISSRPL)

John Holmwood is an academic sociologist, currently working at the University of Birmingham. The city of Birmingham has many different faith communities and is poised to become the first British city that will be majority ethnic minority”. John’s formative experience in becoming a sociologist was reading the English novelist, E.M. Forster’s injunction to “only connect” and he has been trying (and failing) to make connections ever since. He has no “sacred faith” but he expects to be rigorously tested by the theme of the summer school and consideration of the legacy of Empire and nation state.
“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.” E.M. Forster, Howard’s End

Alice Goodman (2003 ISSRPL)