Andres Tennus

Helen Haas started her work as the coordinator of the Middle Eastern affairs

We are happy to announce that Helen Haas has joined the Centre and started her position as the coordinator of the Middle East affairs. Here is a brief discussion on her work assignments and her background. 

  • What are you going to do at the Asia Centre?

My wish is to raise awareness and popularise topics related to the Middle East, both in university and in society. The first task is to organise a conference on Islam. In any case, there are many thoughts!

  • What is your background and how did you get fascinated by the Middle East?

I graduated from Tallinn University with a degree in Oriental Philology specialising in Turkish language, after which I lived and worked for several years in Turkey, Israel and Egypt in tourism. In the days of my studies in Tallinn, under the guidance of Haljand Udam and Andres Ehin, I was privileged to embark on an exciting journey of discovery when entering the door of the Middle Eastern world of thought and culture. As a result, both educational background and work experience have increasingly brought me closer to Middle East-related issues.

  • What do you do in your research?

In my research, I am more widely involved in the study of Islamic diversity. In my doctoral dissertation, I am more focused on Turkish Alevites - their community life and religious practices. In the future, I would like to expand the scope of the study towards the study of the interaction between Islamic minority groups and Eastern Christian communities.

  • What are you cultural recommendations from the Middle East to our followers?     

If possible, I would recommend that you go to the Middle East yourself, i.e., go and experience the places, interpersonal relations, and tastes on your skin. It isn't easy to convey the experience that a person can have. For example, from the Old City of Jerusalem, the lines of the strength of three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - meet together with their holy places and pilgrims. The view that religion has lost its importance certainly does not hold in this world region. Before I go, I recommend reading, for example, Selma Lagerlöf's "Jerusalem," a fiction view of Ottoman Empire-era Palestine written from personal experience.

Evelyn Pihla

Evelyn Pihla joins Centre as assistant to manager

NIAS konverents

Consuming Asia - Systems and Structures of Consumption in Modern and Contemporary Asia