Dicastery congratulates Nostra Aetate Foundation Students at conclusion of course of study

by DID Staff

21 June 2023

The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue recently celebrated the successful completion of course of study by two Muslim students who came to Rome on the Nostra Aetate Foundation scholarship.

Ms. Raheema Tahir Jayari from the Philippines and Mr. Deni Iskandar from Indonesia studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and enjoyed various experiences in Rome and its environs. Their scholarship provided this experience from February-June 2023.

The Nostra Aetate Foundation, created in 1990, promotes interreligious dialogue through education by granting scholarships to eligible people, followers of other religions, who desire to deepen their knowledge of Christianity through study at the Pontifical academic institutions in Rome, Italy.

Mr. Iskandar presents his certificate of completion from the Angelicum.

In addition to classes, Ms. Jayari and Mr. Iskandar engaged in regular lessons and conversation with officials of the Dicastery and their collaborators about the Second Vatican Council’s decree Nostra Aetate,, the history of interreligious dialogue in the Catholic Church, the Popes and dialogue, and Franciscan spirituality, especially on their trip to Assisi.

At the final presentation and conferral of the certificate of completion, the three students and the Dicastery’s superiors and staff expressed their mutual gratitude for the inspirational experiences of learning and collaboration.

The students shared their best experiences during their time in Rome and the aspects that were unexpected. Mr. Iskandar was impressed that a Catholic university, the Angelicum, would have a copy of the Qur’an, a version from the Middle Ages.

For Ms. Jayari, it was a revelation to observe how Catholics pray, and she was impressed by the emotional aspect of the devotions.

Mr. Iskandar hopes to promote dialogue in his home country of Indonesia as an alternative to fundamentalist Islam, which has growing influence, he notes.

Ms. Jayari is committed to promoting the ideal of dialogue among Muslims. She reflected, “Before we dialogue with Christians, we have to be convinced among ourselves that dialogue is a good path.”