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FIIRD Fellows Announced for 2011-2012 Academic Year

22 July 2011

Geneva, Switzerland – The Scientific Committee of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue is pleased to announce the selection of four academic fellows for the upcoming year.  The fellows will focus on deepening the understanding among persons of different religions and fostering leadership to respond to intercultural and interreligious challenges.

“I continue to be impressed by the quality and diversity of candidates that apply to FIIRD each year,” said Mr. Jamal Daniel, a FIIRD trustee.  “Each year I look forward to working with my fellow trustees during the selection process as I know that the work these fellows will do is integral to the mission of FIIRD.”  

Each fellow was chosen through a highly competitive process and will receive the academic support of FIIRD and, through a generous grant from the Levant Foundation, financial support including full room and board, a monthly stipend, health insurance and payment of University of Geneva enrollment fees.

“This year’s fellows are extremely impressive and I look forward to welcoming them to Geneva in September,” said Dr. Claudine Korall, Executive Director of FIIRD.  “Their chosen fields of research are timely and interesting and I am confident the results of their studies will help to further interreligious and intercultural understanding.”

The 2011-2012 fellows include Dr. Vito Evola, Dr. Leila El Bachiri, Dr. Naël Georges and  Dr. Guila-Clara Kessous.

Dr. Vito Evola holds a PhD in Synchonic and Diachronic Linguistics and Italian Laurea in Modern Foreign Languages from the University of Palermo, Italy.  Most recently, Dr. Evola was a post-doc researcher and lecturer at RWTH Aachen University in Germany and worked as a classifier for the Cognitive Science Network for the SSRN.com library.  Dr. Evola’s research with FIIRD will focus on multimodal cognitive semiotics in relation to religious and spiritual thought.

Dr. Leila El Bachiri holds a PhD in Philosophy and Letters (History of Religions) from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.  During the last few years, Dr. El Bachiri has been investigating Islam in a critical-historical and sociopolitical perspective as well as researching the Islamic Fundamentalist Discourses on Women and the Gendered Analysis of Promoted Gender Models.  Her research with FIIRD will focus on philosopher Dr Mohammed Arkoun's published and posthumous unpublished materials.

Dr. Naël Georges holds a PhD in Human Rights from Grenoble II University, France.  He has focused his research and writings mainly on minority and human rights and more specifically the rights of Christians in the Middle East.  With extensive knowledge of several Levant countries, his research with FIIRD will focus on cultural and religious diversity in the Middle East.

Dr. Guila-Clara Kessous holds a dual PhD in Comparative Literature and Drama from the University of Metz, France, and in Literature and Philosophy from Boston University, U.S.A.  With a French State Diploma in Arts dramatiques, Dr Kessous focused on the relation between the religious sacred and artistic sacred, the transcendent, art and interreligious dialogue.  Her research with FIIRD will focus on a comparative analysis of archetypical forms and their dramatic expression in several plays with a focus on theater, the sacred and the prison environment.

For more information on the FIIRD program, please contact FIIRD’s Executive Director Claudine Korall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here