Every junior NISIS member is member of the Junior Research Council. The Junior Research Council selects at least two PhD candidates or research master students, who advise the NISIS board in its capacity of Education Committee. The Council discusses all matters relevant for junior NISIS members. The Council meets yearly, preferably during one of the activities of the NISIS Training Program. The Junior Research Council advises the NISIS board on issues concerning the NISIS Training Program. Please contact one of the representatives if you have ideas or suggestions for improvement.
The current representatives of the Junior Research Council are Elmozfar Ahmed (KU Leuven), Sarah Van Eyken (KU Leuven), Rukayyah Reichling (UvA), and Ahmad Jawad Rifai (Leiden University). Rukayyah Reichling is the chair of the Junior Council.
Rukayyah Reichling is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. She works within the European Marie Słodowska Curie MIDA project which stands for “Mediating Islam in the Digital Age”. In her research – which she recently pitched in this 3MT video – Rukayyah investigates how the advent of photography, sound recording technology and film reshaped the Dutch perception of Mecca during the late colonial period. Her research interests lie on Islam and mobility, religious education and sainthood. She currently also works as the review editor of the Journal of Muslims in Europe. Rukayyah will function as the chair of the new NISIS Junior Council.
Sarah Van Eyken recently obtained her MA degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies and has started her PhD project at KU Leuven. Her research focusses on the theological developments within the Ottoman Ḥanbalī tradition and its interconnections with conservative Salafī movements. Sarah is interested in exploring innovative digital methods of research, such as social network analysis and methods of natural language processing (e.g. topic modelling).
Elmozfar Ahmed is a PhD candidate at KU Leuven’s Arabic studies unit, and a fellow in the ITN-MIDA network. With a background in social sciences and media, his research focuses on the development of digital methodologies for the study of the intellectual history of Orientalism connecting Europe and the Arab world in the colonial age.
Ahmad Jawad Rifai is a ReMA student at the University of Leiden. He specializes in the international relations of the Middle East. Ahmad’s graduation project focuses on the limited cooperation between Syria and the US after 9/11 in the context of the war on terror, because he believes the subject to hold key explanations for how Bashar al-Assad’s regime survived the recent wave of the Arab Spring.