Kamali-Chirani: Does Intercultural Dialogue Matter?

“BookKamali-Chirani, Fatemeh. (2019).  Does intercultural dialogue matter? The role of intercultural dialogue in the foreign cultural policy of Iran and Germany. Berlin: Lit Verlag.

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani examines intercultural dialogue as part of the foreign relations between Germany and Iran. She asks: “What role has intercultural dialogue played with regard to the foreign cultural policy of Iran and Germany towards each other, and why?” (p. 18).

Perhaps the most important quote from the book is this, from page 158, because it applies to all contexts, not just Iran-Germany exchanges:

It is necessary but not sufficient to offer dialogue; it is also necessary that the other side accepts to join the dialogue.

Kamali-Chirani first describes the foreign cultural policy of each country, and then presents details of a series of specific organizations and projects intended to further intercultural dialogue. In Iran, the most typical terms are “interfaith dialogue” and “dialogue among civilizations,” whereas Germany often uses “European-Islamic cultural dialogue.” This section is arranged by organization attempting dialogue, populated with quotes from the main actors. She gained remarkable access, up to and including the separate forewords by Mohammad Khatami (former President of Iran, known for promoting dialogue among civilizations as a goal) and Kurt-Jurgen Maas (former Secretary General, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations).

In the end, Kamali-Chirani concludes that “Intercultural dialogue was an instrument of political goals, not a goal by itself” (p. 198). Her final thought: “participants mostly agree that it was worth the effort, and that they should continue. This author, after spending five years of research on the topic, tends to agree.”

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani Researcher Profile

Researcher ProfilesFatemeh Kamali-Chirani (PhD) is an Iranian-German scholar living in Islamabad, Pakistan. She completed her PhD at the University of Augsburg, Germany, with a Scholarship from Brot für die Welt (a German Protestant development organization).

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani

Born in Rasht, Iran, Fatemeh completed a BA in Journalism, and an MA in North American (Cultural) Studies, both at the University of Teheran. She worked in Iran as a freelance journalist and NGO activist as well as an academic researcher. In Germany, while completing her PhD, she participated in international seminars and conferences. In some of them she played a role as an executive member, photographer or journalist. In 2014 she won a prize as the best journalist of the BIMUN, a UN Model Conference, in Bonn.

The role of culture in international relations has been always of interest to her. This led Fatemeh to connect her knowledge about Iranian society to her new awareness about German society. The focus of her dissertation (“Intercultural Dialogue between Muslim and Western Countries: An Analysis of Foreign Cultural Policy of Iran and Germany from 1998 to 2013”) was on cultural activities implemented under the different discourses of intercultural dialogue, including “European-Islamic cultural dialogue” (on the German side) and “interfaith dialogue,” and “dialogue among civilizations” (on the Iranian side).

Between March 2016 and August 2019 Fatemeh volunteered with the Flüchtlingshilfe Neudorf (a refugee aid association), assisting especially Iranian and Afghan refugees as an integration- and social-mediator. Since 2018 she has been a member of the team of Integration and Language Mediators of the Kommunal Integrationszentrum (a local integration center) in Duisburg. She worked in a Migration and Social Policy Research Group, of Institute for Work, Skills and Training (IAQ), University of Duisburg-Essen, as advisor. The study focused on the governance, shaping, and use of (local) social policy with reference to refugee migration.

In May 2019 Fatemeh published her first book, a short version of her PhD, Does Intercultural Dialogue matter? The Role of Intercultural Dialogue in the Foreign Cultural Policy of Iran and Germany.

Since September 2019 Fatemeh has lived in Islamabad, Pakistan, as an expat partner. She is currently searching for new challenges (career? field study? job?) in Pakistan, to develop her career, specifically in the fields of intercultural dialogue, civil society, women, migration and refugees.

For further details, see her LinkedIn profile.

Selected publications:

In English

Kamali-Chirani, F. (2019). Review of Afiya S. Zia’s  Faith and feminism in Pakistan: Religious agency or secular autonomy? Digest of Middle East Studies, pp. 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1111/dome.12192

Kamali-Chirani, F. (2019). Does intercultural dialogue matter? The role of intercultural dialogue in the foreign cultural policy of Iran and Germany. Münster, Germany: Lit Verlag.

Kamali-Chirani, F. (2019). Review of Mohammad Zaman’s Islam in Pakistan: A history. Digest of Middle East Studies, 28(1),  1-5.

Hippler, J., & Kamali-Chirani, F. (2018). Cultural civil war. In European Union National Institutes for Culture, Culture Report: EUNIC Yearbook 2017/2018 (pp. 36-41). Stuttgart, Germany:  European Union National Institutes for Culture.

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018). Review of Baumgartner and Towner’s The Internet and the 2016 presidential campaign. International Journal of Communication, 12, 2940–2943.

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018). Review of Miriam Müller’s A spectre is haunting Arabia: How the Germans brought their communism to Yemen. Middle East Media and Reviews, 6(3).

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018) Review of Yadullah Shahibzadeh’s The Iranian political language: From the late nineteenth century to the present. Digest of Middle East Studies, 27(1), 157-160.

Kamali Chirani, F. (2017). Incapability of institutional structures as an obstacle for the intercultural dialogue between Iran and Germany. In O. Ernst (Ed.), Iran-Reader 2017 (pp. 109-111). Sankt Augustin/Berlin: Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung.

In German

Kamali Chirani, F. (2013). Dialog unter staatlicher Aufsicht [Dialogue under state supervision]. Welt-Sichten Journal, 6, 46-47.

In Farsi

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018). Potānsielhāy-e Goftoguy-e Farhangi dar Jāme’ey-e Ālmān [Potentials of intercultural dialogue in German society] Dialog Center of the Imam Musa Sadr Institut.

Shokrkhah, Y., &Shokrkhah, Y.Kamali Chirani, F. (2009). Ruznāmenegāri Hamrāh va Pušeš-e Xabari Jang-e Iraq: Motāle’āt-e Muredi-ye Foxnews [Embedded journalism and coverage of the 2003 Iraq war: Case study by Foxnews]. Iranian Journal of Cultural Research, 2(5), 156-171.

Ramin Hajian Fard Researcher Profile

Researcher ProfilesRamin Hajian Fard (Ph.D., International Islamic University of Malaysia) is an independent scholar in Tehran, Iran. His main area of research is on Mughal miniature painting, with a secondary emphasis on interfaith dialogue during the Mughal Empire of India.

Ramin Hajian FardHis MA topic was on peace painting, resulting in the following article:
• Fard, R. H. (2013). Iranian painters for peace. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 25(2), 284-290.

He has written multiple entries for encyclopedias: six entries for The Great Events in Religion: An Encyclopedia of Pivotal Events in Religious History (English), and five entries for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia (Persian).

He has published articles in both Persian and English including:

• Fard, R. H. (2013). An introduction to the art of illuminating the Qur’an. Journal of Arts, Culture & Heritage, 2, 95-109 (English).

• Fard, R. H. (2012-2013). Hajj painting: A traditional Egyptian art celebrating the Hajj. Bulletin of International Institute of Islamic Science, Thought and Civilization, 4, 12-13.

• Fard, R. H. (2014). French orientalist painting: Colonial views or an artistic approach? In B. Atashinjan (Ed.), Naghd-e Nāmeh-e Honar [Professional Book (vol. 6) on the Research and Art Criticism] (pp. 25-45). Tahran: Mugham (Persian).

He has also translated multiple books, articles, and book chapters, about music, art, and philosophy, into Persian for publication in Iran.

He was the winner of the second prize for publishing and research at the University of Applied Science and Technology, Iran, 2013.

Give peace a dance

Maz Jobrani (an Iranian comedian) and Elon Gold (an Israeli comedian) have started an innovative humorous appeal for peace in the mideast, called Give peace a dance.

What would you do for peace?

Post your own dance for peace on YouTube tagged with #GivePeaceaDance.