Jáchym is a PhD candidate at Charles University, Prague, and came to Oxford for an intensive period of reading and library work as part of his postgraduate studies
Thanks to my PhD supervisor, Pavel Hošek, I was able to contact the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies. He had previously visited the Centre, and thus he knew the team, what it does and what the visions of the Centre are. He recommended me to spend some time there for the sake of developing and deepening my studies focusing on the interrelations between people of different faiths (from the Qur’anic perspective).
Before I arrived in Oxford, I had imagined that I was going to spend my time (fifteen weeks) mainly by reading from the resources of Bodleian’s libraries and the Centre’s specialist library, occasionally having consultations about the topics I am studying. Even though I contacted the Centre and arranged my stay at the last minute, just a few days before my arrival, I was very warmly welcomed. My individual tutorials with Dr Martin Whittingham were tailored to my study needs, and I am more than grateful for all the time Martin gave me. But in addition to my consultations and my reading, I have also benefited from talking with other members of the Centre, from their interest in my studies, and from the many events happening in the Centre (mainly seminars and the Qur’an and Bible study meetings).
But it is not just this kind of rigorous research. It is also the cordial hospitality of the Centre that truly transforms one’s own mind. The kind, warm, friendly, and open environment that I have experienced when meeting with members of the Centre, attending the Centre’s 10th anniversary, or during the Qur’an and Bible study meetings (where people of different faiths gather around to think about the meanings of the holy scriptures; it has great interfaith significance), all of that was something special for me. This combination of amiable personal relations and rigorous research is something from which I have benefited much more than I expected. My time at the Centre, was more than enjoyable. I have done a lot of work on my research, I have great stimuli for my further studies, and I have met many wonderful people during my stay. I can be nothing else than really grateful.