Hi my name is Aishah. I am the Publicity and Communications Officer at the Woolf Institute, prior to this I was the Communications and Media Officer at Near Neighbours. I have a BA (Hons) and an MA in Abrahamic Religions from Heythrop College, University of London. I started Heythrop College’s first Islamic Society, and was also the Muslim representative for the Heythrop Student union. I interned at 3FF from January 2016 – June 2016, as a Fundraising Intern, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I decided to do an internship at 3FF because of many reasons.

Firstly, after completing my Masters many people asked me what I wanted to do, and I would always reply “something in inter-faith”. My degrees shaped the way I saw the world and I was determined, I wanted to work on creating understanding and minimising stereotypes and discrimination between people within society. This was something 3FF has been doing in so many ways through each department.

Secondly, despite inter-faith being an incredibly important area of work, I had the impression that it could be a hard field to get into. There are not many inter-faith organisations out there. I thought that my qualifications would not be enough, and I wanted to gain some experience of how inter-faith organisations work and how they are run. The opportunity of an internship at 3FF came at a fantastic time when I had others telling me to consider switching careers, but I did not want to back down. I was adamant and passionate that inter-faith was what I wanted to do. So I applied for the intern position. I got invited to the interns’ assessment day, and a week later I was accepted to join the team for an internship.

The Woolf Institute – outside building. Photo credit: Richard Fraser

3FF always had a wonderful warm atmosphere in the office where there was always an abundant supply of cake! I really enjoyed the interns shared group task during my time at 3FF. Our cohort hosted an open mic night/spoken word event and we had a great variety of performances from many talented poets and artists as well as raising some money for 3FF. I particularly enjoyed going to local businesses and getting some businesses to sponsor our event. I also remember making decorations as well. All I can say is, it was during the summer that my origami obsession grew a little out of control! I had lots of origami cranes on my desk, and some in the decorating process too. Fairy lights and origami cranes were my decorating tips, but they worked beautifully.

I am a person who always loves to read a story. This is why I decided to go into communications. During my internship, I saw ‘The Lightless Sky’ by Gulwali Passarlay, a graduate of 3FF’s ParliaMentors programme, on the 3FF bookshelf.  Many others spoke about how the book was an extraordinary story. Being in a time when the issue of refugees and migrants was the centre of every news report, I wanted to learn more. I read the book piece by piece and I decided to write a blog about the book so others could learn more about it. I realised at that point that I enjoyed writing and that I had undertaking a variety of different tasks. I think the skills that helped me progress in my career was the range of experience I gained at 3FF. I had experience in using different programs, organising events, publicity, as well as gaining experience of approaches and strategies to single donor and monthly donor fundraising.

I recently started working at the Woolf Institute at Cambridge, as their Publicity and Communications Officer. It is a fantastic place to work, as the Woolf Institute recently moved to their new building next to Westminster College in Cambridge, and is thus going through a very exciting time of expanding its work from its e-learning courses to its research projects. It has been working for nineteen years in building relations between the Abrahamic Faiths within Cambridge. I really enjoy my task of promoting the great work the Woolf Institute does through working on press releases and getting stories into the press, interviewing people, and finding creative ways to raise awareness of what the Woolf Institute does.

Photo credit: Richard Fraser

We recently had an event which included a lecture from HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan on his approaches to how Jordan should aid conflict resolution within the middle east conflict between Palestine and Israel. Responses included former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Rowan Williams, and our Founder Director, Dr Ed Kessler MBE. That was a great event to be apart of, the lecture was recorded on YouTube here, alternatively you can read about it here.

The Woolf Institute deeply appreciates 3FF’s contribution to inter-faith work and we warmly welcome everyone from 3FF, whether it is former alumni or staff to our events. If you have an interest in inter-faith, then our events might be of interest to you. The Woolf Institute has a fantastic line up of events coming up here, and I am very excited about what is coming ahead! I would encourage alumni to like and follow the Woolf on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on our events, e-learning courses and research opportunities. For example we are accepting applications for one of our e-learning courses, entitled Bridging the Great Divide: the Jewish-Muslim encounter.

We encourage visitors to the new building because there is so much wonderful art to look at! We recently had an art sculpture installed, entitled ‘The Confusion’ by artist Zachary Eastwood-Bloom – visitors marvel at the sheer scale and complexities of the sculpture which can be viewed at a different perspective from each floor on our building. We also have photography around the building from Eckhard Ahmed Krausen ‘Islam in Europe’ exhibition.

We hope to see you soon!