IMES’s Master of Religion in Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MRel in MENA Studies) program enters its second year this month with the launch of the MENA Cultures Module on October 14, 2013.
Within this module students from as far away as Brazil, the UK, Egypt, Australia, the US, the Netherlands and Lebanon are given the opportunity to explore in depth the various cultures of the MENA region from both social scientific and theological perspectives. Students will learn to engage in cultural exegesis and develop culturally appropriate theological frameworks for intercultural work. They are encouraged, even challenged to reflect upon and analyze their own biases and assumptions with regard to culture and the manner by which such assumptions affect their everyday practice. The MENA Cultures Module is led by Richard McCallum of the Oxford Center for Muslim-Christian Studies, along with Kathryn Kraft as support faculty and Thia Sagherian as holistic formation faculty.
Previously, students participated in the MENA History, Politics and Economics and the MENA Islam Modules led by Rupen Das and Colin Chapman respectively, each highly respected scholars and practitioners in their fields. This coming spring students will participate in the MENA Christianity Module, headed up IMES Director Martin Accad.
The MRel in MENA Studies is a unique and innovative multidisciplinary postgraduate program based in the MENA region. The degree focuses on providing a strong theoretical understanding of the region and the issues that it faces, combined with an emphasis on developing applied skills needed to work in the region and among MENA communities worldwide. Thus, students will be equipped with skills for program design and management, peacemaking, interfaith and inter-church dialogue, cultural analysis, intercultural communication, and more. Furthermore, the MRel is based upon a strong theological and Biblical framework in that each module weaves scripture and theology into its theory and practice. The program is also designed to bring Arab (including Lebanese) and non-Arab students together in an environment that encourages an exchange of ideas, fosters deeper understanding of each other’s culture and values, and builds meaningful relationships.
Of the MRel in MENA Studies program, students have been saying:
“The content and quality of the course and faculty is very high. What an amazing course and opportunity to be part of such a crucial initiative!”
“The MRel has not only challenged me to think critically about the MENA region but has also provided me with practical opportunities to put into practice what I am learning.”
“The course is very applicable and useful for my day to day working environment.”
“The MRel has been so informative and transformative. Thank you for putting together such a balanced, academic and practical program!”
“The MRel has amazing content as well as room to discuss and develop our own thoughts and opinions about the subject matter. Well done!”
The MRel is a flexible distance-learning program incorporating both online components and two 2-week residencies per year in order to enable students to continue with their existing jobs and lives. Being based in the region, the program has built in site visits to the work of NGOs, churches, mosques and other organizations, as well as conversations and dialogue with key leaders, intellectuals and influence brokers. The program exposes students to the rich historical, cultural and religious heritage of the region.
Or, please feel free to contact us at: MRel@abtslebanon.org.