Laila Mufidah

Gender and Religion Today


Life experiences and graduate training in applied linguistics have led me to the constant fascination of how language and culture intersect each other. Throughout my teaching career in a range of countries, I experienced insights into some of people's traditions and culture, experiencing how seemingly small differences can feel so alien to someone from a different background. Also, I comprehended the importance of sound collaboration and exchange of values to understand each other and improve humans' well-being. This has led me to explore more in-depth anthropological theory and methodology to widen my perspectives on the ideas and outlooks on how societies understand gender, religious, social, and cultural constructs.

Thus, I have been preparing myself to pursue a degree in the field anthropology. One effort to do so was to search for opportunities and that is when I found about the online courses offered by Woolf Institute. After exploring its website, I became excited as this is a one of a kind institution that facilitates a safe forum for interreligious dialogues – a rare opportunity that I have never been able to find among my communities.

So far, I have learnt abundantly from the Gender and Religion Today course. Every week, we had opportunities to read and analyse topics from a scholarly point of view that is not distant or cold, but compassionately involved in attempting to understand why people hold their perspective. The discussion forum provides the chance to put yourself in those shoes with an inquisitive attitude and an open heart. As a result, many times, it was a moment of discovery of common grounds among people one expected to be very dissimilar. At the end of the course, I found that being introduced to the diversity of people, beliefs and the challenges we faced within the modern world was rewarding and refreshing.

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