Aaliya Khan

Alumna, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2019-20

Embarking on the Dialogue Studies journey as a participant transformed not just my understanding, but my very essence. Today, as an administrator of this course, I carry the torch passed down by those who inspired a dialogue-driven paradigm within me. Each day is an opportunity to embody the principles of dialogue, engaging thoughtfully with everyone I encounter. It’s a commitment to being the change I yearn to see in the world.

This course, a crucible of multicultural and philosophical wisdom, taught me the art of transcending differences to find common ground. It honed my ability to navigate conflicts with empathy, fostering an environment where diverse voices are not just heard but valued. My role now allows me to weave these ideals into the fabric of our curriculum, nurturing a new generation of thinkers and peacemakers.

The transformation within me is a testament to the power of dialogue. It’s a journey from absorbing the richness of varied perspectives to actively facilitating those exchanges that bridge worlds. Every day, I am reminded of the profound impact of our collective effort towards understanding and harmony. This is not just a job; it’s a calling. To all aspiring to make a difference, this course is a beacon of hope and change.

Akanksha Prajapati

Alumna, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2022-23

Participating in the 2022-23 Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies ignited my interest in dialogical communication. In our world, rich with diverse cultures, perspectives, and beliefs, the imperative for effective dialogue and mutual understanding has never been greater. The Indialogue Foundation, dedicated to fostering multicultural, dialogical, and philosophical comprehension, plays a pivotal role in shaping interpersonal interactions across both personal and professional spheres.

The course offers a comprehensive blend of multicultural—or rather, transcultural—dialogical understanding. This framework enables us to partake in meaningful conversations across various cultural backgrounds while remaining anchored in our own. Such an approach doesn’t just enhance our intellectual capacity; it expands our worldviews, fostering openness and acceptance of differing perspectives.

Through the exploration of various philosophical methodologies related to dialogue and conflict resolution, I gained valuable insights into dispute management and mitigation. These competencies are beneficial not only in personal relationships but also in professional contexts, serving as a cornerstone for creating more harmonious work environments. This educational journey bolstered my critical thinking skills and equipped me with the intellectual tools necessary for engaging in deep, nuanced discussions.

Dialogue Studies aim to dissect the root causes of conflicts and devise strategies for achieving lasting peace. The significance of these studies transcends the prevention of war and violence; it nurtures a culture of cooperation and harmony.

The course instilled in me a profound sense of social responsibility and a commitment to contribute positively to the world. I forged new friendships with individuals from varied backgrounds and embraced the diverse perspectives they introduced throughout the course.

The Indialogue Foundation’s focus on dialogue and peacebuilding aspires to cultivate global citizens adept at navigating the complexities of our interconnected existence.

Muneer Peerzada

Alumnus, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2023-24

I’m thrilled to share my experience with the Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2023-2024, offered by the Indialogue Foundation. Diving into this program felt like a natural step for me, given my deep dive into Religious Otherness, Interreligious Hermeneutics, and Interreligious Dialogue throughout my academic career. This course not only aligned with my interests but also expanded my horizons in ways I hadn’t anticipated.

The curriculum was a rich tapestry of discussions, featuring a stellar lineup of scholars, activists, and professionals from a spectrum of fields related to dialogue. My journey through religious dialogue and philosophy had already been extensive, yet the course managed to surprise me with its comprehensive scope. We traversed from the core principles of religious dialogue and the Socratic method to applying dialogue in varied contexts such as education, healthcare, women’s empowerment, and beyond, touching on critical issues like climate change, poverty, and gender.

Engaging with the multifaceted nature of dialogue opened my eyes to new perspectives. The opportunity to learn about and from the minds of dialogue stalwarts—from Socrates and Martin Buber to Fethullah Gulen and J. Krishnamurti—was nothing short of inspiring. Each session peeled back layers of understanding, showcasing dialogue’s power in shaping our world.

While the program was predominantly enriching, it wasn’t without its hiccups. A few sessions didn’t quite hit the mark, with some content feeling a tad underestimated or veering off-topic. But these moments were few and far between in an otherwise stellar program.

Reflecting on my time in the course, I’m filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have been a part of such an insightful gathering of minds. I wholeheartedly endorse this course to anyone keen on exploring the depths of dialogue studies or venturing into related fields. The wealth of knowledge and perspectives I’ve gained is invaluable, and I extend my deepest thanks to everyone involved in orchestrating this enlightening experience. I’m eager to carry forward the lessons learned into my academic pursuits and beyond.

Pragya Narang

Alumna, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2021-22

Before enrolling in the Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies, I was an active peace activist, deeply influenced by the Gandhian philosophy. This background made me understand the importance and impact of dialogue, rendering me a fertile ground for such education.

However, my practical skills in dialogue were unrefined. I found myself easily triggered, reacting impulsively rather than responding thoughtfully. Despite my good intentions, I struggled to effectively implement my knowledge.

Participating in sessions and interacting with diverse speakers during the course, I became acutely aware of my inherent biases. This experience gradually made me less judgmental. Throughout the course, my ability to engage in dialogue flourished, much like a flower emerging from fertile soil.

I also learned to cultivate deep, nourishing roots—detaching from both self and ego. I discovered that a more equanimous mind enhances my ability to facilitate dialogue. Gradually, I began to let go of rigid beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. I developed critical thinking skills and embraced the idea of unlearning, which broadened my perspectives and exposed me to new ideas.

Though I still occasionally find myself getting triggered, I now recognize it quickly and take steps to amend my reactions. In a world increasingly divided by social media algorithms and pervasive “Us vs. Them” debates, I see myself as a bridge.

For the past two years, as a program coordinator at the Indialogue Foundation, I have continued to refine my skills with every session I moderate and review. I am profoundly thankful to Behzad Fatmi and Aaliya Khan for recognizing my potential three years ago, to all the speakers who facilitated my growth, and to my fellow learners who challenged my views, prompting me to reflect.

Sonal Hikare

Alumna, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2023-24

As a participant in the Certificate Course on Interfaith Dialogue, organized by Indialogue Foundation, I am compelled to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation for this course’s transformative experience. Over the past six months, this journey has been nothing short of enlightening, enriching, and deeply meaningful.

First and foremost, I extend my sincere thanks to Behzaad, Aaliya and the Indialogue Foundation for their visionary leadership in conceptualizing and executing such a profound educational program. Their dedication to fostering understanding and harmony among diverse faith communities is commendable, and this course stands as a testament to their commitment to creating a more interconnected and peaceful world.

I am particularly grateful for the calibre of speakers and mentors that Behzaad and the Indialogue Foundation have assembled for this course. Each laureate brought a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and perspective to the table, enriching our understanding of various faith traditions and their intersections. Their insights have broadened my horizons and deepened my appreciation for the diversity of religious beliefs and practices around the world.

I also want to express my heartfelt appreciation to Pragya for her exceptional course coordination. Her attention to detail, organizational skills, and unwavering support have been instrumental in ensuring the smooth functioning of the program. Additionally, I am immensely thankful to Aaliya for her constant encouragement and guidance throughout this journey. Her dedication to our growth and development as interfaith ambassadors has been truly inspiring.

Furthermore, I extend my gratitude to the interns, volunteers, and alumni of this course who have generously contributed their time and expertise to enhance our learning experience. Their passion for promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding has been contagious, and I am honoured to be part of such a vibrant and supportive community.

As I reflect on the knowledge and insights gained from this course, I am inspired to take proactive initiatives in fostering interfaith dialogue and building a more peaceful society. Armed with a deeper understanding of different religious perspectives and a commitment to empathy and respect, I can contribute positively to bridging divides and promoting harmony in our increasingly interconnected world.

Sonal Hikare
16 February 2024

Syeda Sukaina Ali

Alumna, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2023-24

Participating in the 2023-2024 Dialogue Studies Course, offered by the Indialogue Foundation, has been a transformative journey for me. Aspiring to pursue a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies, I found this course to be a unique opportunity to delve into the complexities of dialogue in this field. The program broadened my understanding and introduced me to a plethora of new perspectives by exploring various facets of dialogue.

The course served as an exceptional platform, offering insights, wisdom, and diverse viewpoints from esteemed speakers on a wide array of topics, including interfaith dialogue, gender issues, climate change, geopolitical dynamics, and peacebuilding. The structured approach, incorporating preparatory readings and reflective discussions post-sessions, was instrumental in fostering critical thinking and enhancing communication skills.

The contributions from my fellow participants during the question-and-answer segments often presented even more stimulating insights than the sessions themselves, providing additional layers of understanding and perspectives to consider. I am profoundly grateful to the Indialogue Foundation, and particularly to Behzad, Aaliya, and Pragya, for their steadfast support throughout the course.

Reflecting on my experiences, I am deeply appreciative of the chance to engage with such an enlightening community. I enthusiastically recommend this course to those looking to deepen their understanding through critical thinking. The diverse knowledge and perspectives gained are invaluable, and I extend my deepest thanks to all who played a part in enriching this experience.

Zikra Aqeel

Alumna, Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2023-24

The “Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies 2023-2024” immediately piqued my interest upon hearing about it through a WhatsApp group announcement shared by a college friend. Having completed my PhD in “Humanities and Languages,” focusing on “Muslim Intellectual’s Response to Terrorism,” I have deduced that the Quran, Hadith, and teachings of other religions unequivocally endorse peace and non-violence. However, misinterpretations of Quranic verses by some individuals have led to misconceptions about Islam, causing harm to humanity. As a Muslim, I believe it is our collective duty to defend and revitalize Islam’s image through our pen, sincerity of feelings, and eloquence. We must actively disseminate messages of tolerance, peace, and love, especially to those misinformed about Islam, and emphasize the Quran’s recurring themes of compassion, mercy, justice, fair play, patience, tolerance, and coexistence.

The Quran encourages a positive outlook and the rejection of negativity, achievable through dialogue. This realization led me to pursue a deeper understanding of dialogue, a subject I hadn’t fully explored during my PhD studies. When the opportunity to enroll in the Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies for 2023-2024 arose, I seized it, successfully passing an interview conducted by Mr. Behzad Fatmi and Miss Pragya Narang.

After completing my PhD, my academic pursuits were paused due to the pandemic and my maternity break. This course offered a refreshing restart. Its structure promoted critical thinking and effective communication, involving both preparatory work and reflective post-session discussions. My active participation significantly improved my writing skills and inspired me to pursue publication.

The course featured esteemed speakers from prominent national and international universities, delivering comprehensive lectures followed by engaging Q&A sessions. Initially, my understanding of dialogue was limited, but through the course, I grasped both its basic and deeper meanings. A significant lesson was the importance of “Dialogue with Self,” a practice often neglected in our fast- paced, internet-dominated lives filled with distractions like online gaming, shopping, and social media.

Engaging in self-dialogue is a vital tool for fostering internal peace, balance, and harmony. This course has been so transformative that I’ve recommended it to peers and juniors pursuing their PhDs in various fields. My experience in the Certificate Course in Dialogue Studies has not only expanded my horizons but also motivated me to promote the power of dialogue in both academic and personal settings.