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This project was envisioned by Nelly van Doorn-Harder in order to bring together a community that bridges the academic world of Religious Studies and the experiences and knowledge of Christians in the Middle East. Nelly teaches at Wake Forest University and at Vrije University in Amsterdam.
Heleen Murre-van den Berg serves as the director of the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegeneads and is a regular contributor to Desert Lights Collective. Heleen has website called Globalization, Christianity, and the Middle East that specifically focuses on Syrian and Iraqi Christian communities.
Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter is the Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in Eastern Christianity, Dept. of Religions and Philosophies, SOAS. As well as her research on Syriac Christianity in Mesopotamia and its outreach to Central Asia and China (especially Turfan), she has a particular interest in the Mandaeans whom she first met in Iraq during 1987. She maintains a constant contact with the diaspora and is currently editing, Religious Minorities of the Modern Middle East: A Complete Survey of Non-Muslim Communities, which will be published by I.B. Tauris (London).
Candace Lukasik is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation project entitled, “Transnational Anxieties: Shaping a Minority Community between Egypt and the United States” explores (1) how shifting social, political, and economic conditions in Egypt since 2011 have led to increased immigration to the US, (2) how the Coptic Orthodox Church has reconstituted itself, religiously, in light of this increased immigration, and (3) how Coptic communities have reconstituted their inter-faith relations with Muslims in the US and how that has affected inter-faith relations in Egypt. By studying the transnational effects of the Arab Spring through the lens of Coptic migration post-2011, her research seeks to bring together scholarships on diaspora, religion, citizenship, and minority that shape Coptic communities both in Egypt and the US.