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Birkbeck student selected for prestigious international leadership programme

Programme focuses on Freedom of Religion or Belief

PhD student Khyati Tripathi, who is studying at Birkbeck on a split-site Commonwealth scholarship, has been selected for Cumberland Lodge’s Emerging International Leaders Programme on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Khyati will attend three residential seminars, each of which will take a different focus on Freedom of Religion or Belief and addresses different responses to protecting and promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief worldwide.  The Emerging Leaders programme aims to equip future leaders and opinion formers with the skills and insight necessary to drive debate, influence policy and build a powerful global network.

Khyati, who is from Delhi, India, is in the third year of her PhD studies and is spending one year in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck. Her research concerns how dead bodies are socially constructed in a culture, with a particular focus on the process of embalming – which is a common practice in the UK and US, but very rare in India. Her previous research has looked at the death rituals of three religions – Hinduism, Islam and Christianity and an ethnographic study of India’s ‘death priests’.

Khyati said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected for the Emerging Leaders programme. I applied because of the theme of this year’s programme. Neoliberalism gives rise to perception, feeling and realization of ‘divide’, the feeling that slowly gets spilled over and absorbed in the social realm also. We fail to understand that all of us are equal irrespective of our caste, class, religion, sex. I am acutely aware of the need for us to work towards mutual acceptance of each other’s religions, as well as addressing issues such as honour killings, which can still be reported in India. The opportunity to network with other international students and explore how their countries are addressing these issues will be invaluable. As a university lecturer in Delhi, I think that the programme will enable me to impart these important ideas to my students and encourage them to explore new boundaries and think about our society and culture with an informed and international approach.”

Professor Stephen Frosh, Khyati’s research supervisor at Birkbeck, said: “We are immensely proud of Khyati’s achievement in being selected for this programme. Khyati is studying with us in the Department of Psychosocial Studies as part of her PhD programme in the University of Delhi and in line with Birkbeck’s commitment to the development of strong links with top class international universities. She is benefitting from exposure to the innovative interdisciplinary work going on in the department and is enjoying participating in its lively PhD life; and in return she is bringing us new perspectives and a commitment to internationalism that is very important in the current period.”

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