First dies academicus 2019 at FIT
On the 21.05.2019 the University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg invited its graduates of the previous three years to a first dies academicus, thus giving graduates, current students and interested guests the opportunity to get together to exchange thoughts on academic topics.
The topic chosen by the university governance for the discussions was:´Migrants, “Ossis” and Religion: Religious Changes in Germany since the beginning of the 21st century`. Two lectures and a workshop provided a platform for discussions on contemporary religious developments in Germany, i.e. the changes the two mainline churches are facing as a result of a dramatic and continual reduction of church membership numbers as opposed to the growth of religious diversity due to the immigration of people to Germany.
Prof Alexander K. Nagel from the University of Göttingen, who has analysed and studied the migration of refugees, lectured on a whole series of social issues. Empirical research for example has shown that within the Muslim groups there is great potential for mobilizing support for the migrants. Prof Dr Daniel Cyranka from the University of Halle lectured in detail on the situation of the Protestant churches in eastern Germany today and critically analysed the perceptions the different social groups have of one another.
During a panel discussion graduates of the University of Applied Sciences (Francis Abdelmassieh, MA und Evet Bebawy, BA) and the university’s predecessor, the Mission Seminary (Pastor Ulrich Storck, Diesdorf) reported, from a practical perspective, on religious pluralism in their fields of work. Their reports highlighted the development of ambivalent religious streams in Germany and the difficulties faced preventing east German church membership from dwindling any further while arabic speaking church congregations grow. FIT graduates‘ work experience has however shown that intercultural work greatly helps to improve communication between all groups and break down religious rigorism.
At the joint lunch students, graduates as well as lecturers and staff members had the opportunity to network and exchange information.
Prof Dr Wilhelm Richebächer, FIT Rector, thanked all the organizers of the first successful dies academicus and said: „The dies academicus showed that all participants are very interested in keeping in contact and exchanging ideas on socially relevant topics. The dies academicus should thus be a permanent fixture on the FIT curriculum.“