On Friday 26 April, NOSTER Director Heleen Murre-van den Berg has become a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Prof. dr. Heleen Murre-van den Berg is one of the worldwide leading scholars in the study of the Middle East and Eastern Christianity. With a meticulous philological-linguistic analysis of historical and theological sources and of how these are culturally embedded throughout history, she has managed to map out the cultural and identity-political development of different eastern churches. How threatened these churches and their traditions and languages are is made clear every time a civil war in Iraq or Syria forces the local Christian groups to flee.
Heleen has always sought out students and teams of young researchers. She has now built a network of academics from the Netherlands, Europe, America, and the Middle East who master languages like Arabic and Aramaic, are open to interdisciplinary research, and are involved in the study of eastern Christianity in modern times. Heleen wants to be of service to both the academic and the social world. She fulfils a number of advisory roles in church, society, and academia, and is determined to support Christian refugees. She does this, for instance, by using part of her Hans-Sigrist-Preis, an international award from the University of Bern, to help refugees from Eritrea integrate into Dutch society in the Municipality of Nijmegen.
Heleen is a professor by special appointment of Eastern Christian Studies and Director of the Institute for Eastern Christianity. She is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science (KNAW). In March, she was awarded an ERC Advanced grant for the project “Rewriting Global Orthodoxy: Oriental Christianity in Europe between 1970 and 2020”.