PhD-Candidates

Yosur Shukri Al-Kukhun is a Palestinian documentary film-maker as well as a social activist in the field of humanitarian and voluntary work. She grew up in Palestine, and had won two awards in the field of documentaries (both documentary films are related to the subject of gender and violence against women). Al-Kukhun has been in the field of visual documenting since 2011, to date. During her work as a documentary film-maker, she discovered her interests in disciplines enclosing: Narrative, Identity, Culture, and Affiliations and their vast impact on individuals, and decided to include these disciplines in her education. She wrote her Master dissertation about "The Use of Palestinian Narrative by Palestinian Diplomacy to Help in Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict after Oslo Accord (1993-2020)."

PhD-Project: Analysis of Cinema as Visual Narrative and its Role in screening the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Anna Lichinitzer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Thereafter, she enrolled for her Master’s Degree with the Department of Politics and Government at the same university. Her Master’s thesis, which she finished with excellency, analysed new and old surveillance mechanisms in the forced sedentretion space of Hura local council, one of the seven Bedouin planned townships at the north of the Israeli Negev. Currently, she is the Project manager of the Economy Department at the General Histadrut labour federation, as well as a PhD student at Flensburg University. Her doctoral research involves issues of transitional justice, minority issues, and national institutions of collective memory.

PhD-Project: Sousveillance in Israel – Palestine

Faris G. Said is a Palestinian researcher who was born in Jenin City-West Bank in 1992. He holds a Master of Arts Degree from the Department of Conflict Resolution and Development at the Arab American University in Palestine. He also studied Environmental Studies at Bennington College. He, however, attained other academic and non-academic certifications, namely English Language BA Degree (awarded by The Arab American University-AAUP,) Leadership Development Program (awarded by the Palestinian Bible Society-PBS,) and Communicating for Negotiation (awarded by The United States Institute of Peace-USIP.) His fields of interest are: Peace-building, history and narratives, psychology, conflict resolution and environment.

PhD-Project: Narratives of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Emotional Responses and Keys for Building Peace.

Raanan Mallek, M.Ed. from Hebrew College, and an MA from the Schechter Institute, has served as a Rabbi in both Israel and the US. Rabbi Mallek received ordination as a Dayan (a judge of Jewish law) from the Integral Halachah Institute where he focused on Mediation and Adjudication. His Rabbinical Ordination and Master of Jewish Studies were from the Schechter Seminary and Institute in Jerusalem. During his studies, Raanan was an interreligious scholar and event coordinator for the Tantur Ecumenical Institute for three years. His certification in facilitation and management was from the Conflict Resolution, Management and Negotiation Graduate Program of Bar Ilan University.

PhD-Project:  Martin Buber's philosophy of dialogue and his federalist socio-political writings as a framework for reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.

Hani Smirat has been the Programs Manager of "Taawon for Conflict Resolution" in Palestine since 2004. He has vast experience in vocational capacity building and employability programs as well as training in dealing with conflict. He holds a Master’s Degree in American studies from Palestine University, and a diploma in International Human Rights and non-Violence and many international training courses which are concerned with conflict resolution. In addition, Hani is a research assistant in the area of conflict, identity, citizenship, and conflict resolution. In his capacity as a certified trainer, Hani has participated in many seminars and workshops on responding to conflict, peacekeeping, combating poverty and social exclusion, mediation and conflict resolution, dialogue, culture, and good governance, to mention just a few, both within Palestine as well as internationally.

PhD Project: Ubuntu in South Africa and Wasatia in Palestine: A comparative analysis of two critical concepts in light of the role of culture and religion(s) in political reconciliation

Iclal Baki was born in 1990 and grew up in Hochtaunus (Hessen). After graduating from high school, she had a year of studying Arabic language as a pre-requisite for her studies in Islamic theology in Ankara, Turkey. Her Bachelor’s Degree spanned from the year 2012 to 2016 and was anchored on the religious rights of non-Muslims under the Muslim rule in the 11th century. However, having completed her Bachelor’s Degree in 2016, that same year, she enrolled for a Master of Arts Degree in Religion and Language at the University of Munster and completed it in 2019 with a thesis which examined Surah 36 of the Quran. In terms of work experience, since the end of 2019, she has been working as a research assistant in the Department of Dialogue of Religions at the Seminar for Systematic and Historical Theology of the University of Flensburg (EUF). She also took part in various interreligious platforms such as summer schools or Quran-Bible reading circles as well as giving lectures on Islam-related topics.

PhD Project: Islamische Replik auf christliche Dialogmodelle – Eine systematisch-wissenschaftliche Bestandsaufnahme

Marissa McMahon received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts and History from Queens University Belfast in 2009 where she also did her Post Graduate Diploma in Practice Management in Community Leadership in 2012 as well as an MED (Master of Education Degree) in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion in 2013. She currently works for a Human Rights NGO as a campaign organizer on the issue of housing and justice in Northern Ireland. She started her PhD under the supervision of Prof Dr Michelle Witen in September 2022 with a thesis which focuses on Northern Irish Post-Troubles literature.

PhD-Project: Between Fact and Fiction: Analysing the Good Friday Agreement, Land Justice, and Government Housing Policies in contrast to their Representation in Northern Irish Post-Troubles Literature

Tea Hodaj is a political scientist as well as an international relations specialist from Tiran, Albania. She attained her Master of Science Degree in Political Science and International Relations from Epoka University, where she had worked as a teaching fellow for two years. During her experience as a fellow, she had taught courses such as Public Administration in Democracies, Environmental Politics, Introduction to Political Science, Political Communication and Political Sociology. With a broad experience in the field of human rights and regional cooperation, Hodaj directed her academic focus on the conflict dynamics of the Western Balkans. However, having been inspired by the richness of the oral poetry and the folklore mechanism of the Western Balkan countries, Hodaj dedicated her PhD studies to the ‘Dynamics of Historical Perspectives in the Literary Texts of the Western Balkans: Interpreting the Tracks of Political Thought embedded in National Historical Consciousness.’ Tea Hodaj aspires to contribute to the amelioration of relations and to the co-existence of the people in the region, by pointing out to the fabricated narratives that hinder it.

PhD-Project: Dynamics of Historical Perspectives in the Literary Texts of the Western Balkans. Interpreting the Tracks of Political Thought embedded in National Historical Consciousness

Ada Cara is a holder of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language as well as a Master of Science in Language Teaching, all from the University of Tirana in Albania. She also holds another Master’s Degree in Education and International Development which she attained from the University College of London in the UK under the prestigious Chevening scholarship which was funded by the FCDO. However, in terms of work and research experience, Ada has close to eight years of work experience in the field of language learning and educational projects, which focused mainly on Albania. Her research focuses on corruptive practices in higher education, quality of education, education, and politics of migration and education in conflict affected countries. She joined Epoka University in 2019, as part of the Political Science and International Relations Department. Thereafter, in October 2021, she participated in co-designing the first National Network on Youth, Peace, and Security as part of a project which was funded by USAID. In November 2021, she was invited by Emerald Publishing Group, Journal of Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning to be a guest editor on a part-time basis.

PhD project: Ethnic Schism as an Inhibitor for Peacebuilding in the Western Balkan: Kosovo’s Case

Langton Muchenjekwa is a Zimbabwean and is a holder of a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies, an Honours Degree in Religious Studies and a Diploma in Religious Studies, all from the University of Zimbabwe. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from Lupane State University, a Professional Diploma in Sustainable Community Development and Humanitarian Project Management with Training and Development International Trust In association with Southern Africa Development Consultants Consortium (SADCCon), a Certificate in Resource Mobilisation, Project Planning and Proposal Writing with Regional Partnership for Resource Development (IRFD) and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) with TEFL Professional Development Institute. However, in terms of work experience, Langton worked as a teacher for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Zimbabwe, teaching Family and Religious as well as Heritage Studies to Lower and Upper Six students. He also taught History and Doctrine of Islam, Sociology of Religion. Phenomenology of Religion, World Religions and Ideologies and Religion and Ethics at Zimbabwe Open University (Midlands Province-Gweru Campus) as a Part-Time lecturer. He, as well, taught other modules in the area of Ethics and Organisational Leadership (BAEL), namely Business Ethics, Foundations of Ethical Leadership and Organisational Behaviour.

PhD-Project: Religion and Reconciliation: The Case of the Gukurahundi Massacre in Zimbabwe.

Affiliated

Jeremias S. Schmidt grew up in Baden-Württemberg. After a federal voluntary service in a congregation in Jerusalem, he studied law in Bayreuth and Münster. He completed the certificate program "Islamic Law" at the University of Münster (3 semesters). Since 2019, he is working on his PhD on "Informal Justice in the Palestinian Legal System" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Fabian Wittreck (Institute for Public Law and Politics) in Münster. Several stations as research assistant at the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (IP/IT). In the meantime Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (West Bank) and field research on indigenous customary law for several months. Since 2021 research associate at the chair of Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kluckert (Chair of Public Law, University of Wuppertal), at the same time assoc. Phd-fellow of the "European Wasatia Graduate School for Peace and Conflict Resolution".

Research: Jeremias S. Schmidt is conducting research on contemporary Palestinian customary law in the territories that, according to the so-called two-state solution, will one day form the State of Palestine. In the West Bank as well as in the Gaza Strip and also in East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel in 1980 (and has been under de facto control for some time), numerous serious conflicts are regulated by this law and its institutions, parallel to the legal proceedings conducted by the respective local (quasi-)state authority. At its core, it is a clan- and family-based system of jurisdiction, arbitration and reconciliation, whose "(...) origins (...) can be dated back to more than 2000 years" and originate "(...) from the traditions of Bedouin desert tribes" (H. Rohne, 2015). The focus of the analysis lies geographically on the West Bank, substantively on (the reconciliation of) violent conflicts, and in terms of time on the period since the end of the second Intifada (Feb. 2005).

Johanna Tannen is a Catholic theologian from Berlin. Since May 2023, Johanna Tannen has been working for the Department for World Church and Migration of the German Bishops' Conference. First as a desk officer for Asia, the Middle East and development issues in Bonn, and since October 2023 as a development policy desk officer for the German Commission for Justice and Peace in Berlin. The German Commission Justitia et Pax (Justice and Peace) acts as a "round table" of Catholic institutions and organisations active in the area of the Church's international responsibility in Germany. From 2022 to 2023, Johanna Tannen worked as a project manager in the European office of the multi-religious peace organisation Religions for Peace. She managed a multi-stakeholder project in cooperation with the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. She planned, implemented and facilitated dialogue forums on SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) in Sarajevo, Berlin and Beirut.
In 2016 she started her studies in Catholic Theology (Mag.theol.) at the Philosophical-Theological University of St. Augustin and the University of Münster. She completed an ecumenical semester abroad at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut and a semester abroad at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Johanna Tannen successfully completed her studies in Catholic Theology with the degree of "Magister Theologiae" with an overall grade of very good (1.3). The subject of her Magister thesis was: The novel "Sitt Marie-Rose. A Lebanese Story" by Etel Adnan. An interpretation from the perspective of the Christian tradition of martyrdom.
In 2014/2015 she completed a development volunteer service organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Caritas at a Christian school in the multi-religious state of Assam in northeast India.

PhD project: Johanna Tannen is doing her doctorate with Prof. Dr. Michael Seewald at the Seminar for Dogma and History of Dogma at the University of Münster and with Prof. Dr. Dr. Felix Körner SJ at the Nikolaus Cusanus Chair for Theology of Religions at the Central Institute for Catholic Theology at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
Working title: "Challenges and Opportunities of Religious Literacy in Theory and Practice".
She is a member of the Interdisciplinary Centre of Theologies "Traditions in Transformations" at the Humboldt University of Berlin, of AGENDA - Forum of Catholic Women Theologians e.V. and at the same time an Associate PhD Fellow of the European Wasatia Graduate School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.