Alumni Profiles

Meet some of our alumni

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Jack Palmer-White

MSc Religion in the Contemporary World 2013-2015

Anglican Communion Permanent Representative to the United Nations

"Having the opportunity to participate in the life and work of the LSE Faith Centre during my studies was a hugely beneficial experience. It was a space to understand and contextualise much of what I studied, and added a richness to my time at the LSE. Particularly as a part-time student with limited opportunities to actively participate in student life, the LSE Faith Centre programme allowed me to stay connected with others across the student body. Spending a week with a group of engaged LSE students from a range of faith backgrounds in the Holy Land was informative and transformative."



Josefhine Chitra

MSc Development Management, 2015-2016

Senior Manager of Public Affairs at Gojek

"Participating in the Interfaith Trip to Israel and Palestine was definitely one of my key highlights during my study at LSE. I was lucky to study at LSE, which is committed to exploring the religious dimensions in peacebuilding processes in the region. As a Buddhist minority citizen of Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, my participation in the programme challenged my conviction about what I knew about conflict. The trip reminded me to never see the conflict through a black and white lens. I learnt that holding our narratives dearly without trying to understand the grievances of the opposite side is not helpful in reducing hostility."



Joseph Good

LSE-PKU Double MSc International Affairs, 2016-18

Communications Director for the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation

"Getting involved with the Faith Centre was unquestionably a highlight of my time at the LSE. I thoroughly enjoyed the number of thought-provoking lectures put on there, the Israel & Palestine trip, and the overall camaraderie I experienced. I cannot recommend the Faith Centre highly enough!"



Samiha Begum

BSc Social Policy, 2016

UK Civil Service Fast Stream

"Since graduating, I have worked as a researcher at the Institute of Race Relations. I worked with lawyers and community groups to carry out research projects including on housing and police custody. In September 2018, I joined the Government Social Research Service on the Civil Service Fast Stream. I’ve loved it so far and have been very fortunate to have a great team and very interesting work. Participating in Beecken Faith & Leadership was the best experience I had in my final year at LSE. I learnt more about the different religions and communities I share this world with and I am still in touch with the friends I made from the programme. It really did open my mind to different perspectives and practices, and helped shape my ideas about the kind of Britain I want to be a part of. I always refer back to the leadership activities we did during the residential in conversation with friends and colleagues."


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Ryan Migeed

General Course, 2013-14

Freelance Reporter at the Washington Diplomat

"Travelling with the Faith Centre on its first interfaith trip to the Holy Land completely transformed the way I think about conflict resolution. To see a place so important to my own faith refracted through the lenses of how others see it showed me the real possibilities of cultural reconciliation. My continued interaction with the Faith Centre inspires how I approach problem-solving in my own life and in the broader context of social justice goals — from a place of inclusion, looking for voices that have not been heard and endeavoring to understand the stories those voices are sharing.

After LSE, I served in local government as communications director for a state senator and worked as a freelance journalist, finding and telling stories that have gone untold. I am currently in law school in Washington, DC, and my goal is to serve in government, helping government adapt to the rapid pace of technological change while preserving citizens’ freedoms and rights to speech, privacy, and worship."



Catherine Whittle

BA Anthropology and Law, 2016 and MSc Religion in the Contemporary World, 2018

LSE PhD in Anthopology with a focus on contemporary Christian engagement with conservation and climate change.

"LSE Faith Centre programmes were many things for me. Sometimes they were social occasions I knew I wouldn’t find intimidating. Sometimes they were welcome reminders that I wasn’t the only one who grew up in a faith community. Sometimes they were opportunities to meet new people, often with backgrounds or traditions different to my own, rather than just reading about them in ethnography. To an extent my LSE journey has been one of a conversation between by anthropological studies and my Faith Centre experiences – both have taught me the importance of spending time with people to better understand your differences and commonalities, of listening deeply and suspending judgement, of recognising the blurry boundary between private and public life and the place we accord religion in different spaces."

I hope that over the past five years I have become more patient, more understanding, and more able to hold tensions without looking for an immediate reductive answer. The conversations I’ve experienced across boundaries (between faiths, between disciplines, between theory and experience) have stretched me but ultimately given me hope – that we are one just as we are other, and both are good; that we can both deconstruct and reimagine our relations; that maybe nuancing our understandings of oneness and otherness could help us find ways for life to endure through a global ecological crisis."



Ben Reiff

BSc History & International Relations, 2016-19

Founder, LSESU Voices of Israel - Palestine

"Since participating in Interfaith Encounter, I founded President of LSESU Voices of Israel-Palestine along with other Interfaith Encounter graduates. Having witnessed the plurality of perspectives and experiences among Israelis and Palestinians, the society aims to expose students to this range; we invite Israeli and Palestinian academics, activists, political figures and journalists to come to speak on campus, and screen first-person documentary films focusing on different narratives from the region.

The Faith Centre allowed me to make close friends of different faiths, including many whom I would not have encountered without the Centre's facilitation."



Esohe Uwadiae

LLB Bachelor of Laws, 2017 

Institutional Equity Officer, Office for Institutional Equity, University of East London.

"The Faith Centre has allowed me to understand - and see first-hand - how subjects such as theology, politics and history intersect, and the impact of this intersection in the modern world. I've been able to make strong friendships with people I was unlikely to have ever met, across programmes, backgrounds and ages. As a person of faith, it was also a place where I felt able to have discussions about religion, and what that means for my life, without feeling abnormal. My engagement with the Faith Centre was definitely one of the highlights of my time at LSE and it's incredibly exciting to see it grow year on year." 



Luis Benitez

MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, 2015-16

Education Programme Manager at the Organization of American States.

"I had the opportunity to participate in two initiatives of the LSE Faith Centre: The Interfaith Encounter Israel and Palestine, and Beecken Faith & Leadership. Both of them were the highlight of my studies at the LSE. Each challenged me to see the world from different perspectives and to deconstruct my own beliefs and preconceptions. They were transformative experiences that taught me to see the grey in a black and white world. I also met fascinating people from very different backgrounds who are now close friends. A wonderful experience that I always recommend to people who are studying or will start studying at the LSE."


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Timothé Vulin

MSc International Political Economy (LSE - Sciences Po Double MSc International Affairs), 2016-18

Department for International Development an the UK Conflict Stability and Security Fund.

"I moved from the LSE to the Middle East to work as a Monitoring and Evaluation Expert for the Iraq and Syria Third-Party Monitoring teams of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and UK Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), as well as for the evaluation project of the European Union’s humanitarian interventions in Iraq and in the protection sector globally (2014 – 2018).

The Faith Centre has been an essential source of spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth during my year at the LSE. The interfaith buddy programme and Beecken Faith and Leadership equipped me with social and intellectual skills to more confidently engage in interfaith relations. The emphasis put on the ‘experienced’ social dimensions of faiths is beneficial to me now, in both my professional life working on Iraq and Syria – countries where sectarianism is present in many dimensions of social and political life – and in my daily life here in Northern Lebanon. I also engaged with the Faith Centre as a Christian, attending the Anchorage Sunday services. I found there intellectual depth and rigour together with genuine spirituality, and a very friendly community; I had taken part each week with the desire to make one more sincere encounter with God."


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Xenia Makridou

LLM Corporate & Commercial Law, 2018-19

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) Candidate, City, University of London, 2019-20

"At first glance, one may wonder how a corporate and commercial lawyer ended up on Beecken Faith & Leadership. I remember second-guessing myself while applying for it – will I have enough time to engage with it alongside my other law-related commitments? How relevant is it for my purposes?

Growing up in Cyprus, a divided island, conflict resolution should have been at the forefront of my education. But it was not. I had not had the opportunity to study different religions other than the one I was taught since birth: Orthodox Christianity. The programme was the ultimate opportunity for me (and I did have enough time for it). 

I could not be looking back at this experience with more zest and pride. The programme was not only extremely welcoming and absorbing, but also incredibly educational and eye-opening. My biggest take-away is one of the greatest lessons I have received to date. This is that we must recognise that what we think or believe or know, may be - and often is - different to what ‘the other’ thinks or believes or knows; one should never assume anything of ‘the other’ before speaking with them, learning from them, and truly understanding them. If you are considering applying for the programme, take my advice, go for it, you will cherish it!"             


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Chester Yacub, SJ

MSc International Political Economy 2018

Postgraduate, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham

"As a Jesuit priest, it has already been a great privilege to pursue further apostolic training at the LSE. Still, studying a most secular field so important to the people of my country and the world has been made even more meaningful due to Beecken Faith and Leadership. It complemented my academic learning. The seminar involved dialogues among experts, faith community leaders, and fellow LSE students on the interplay between world traditions and global concerns of today, including, but not limited to, religious pluralism, poverty and development, peace and security, and gender equality.

Receiving this holistic training at the LSE and the LSE Faith Centre proved to be helpful when I came back to the Philippines and worked as a Research Fellow at the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, a Jesuit Social Apostolate. My research there involved how the Catholic Church in the Philippines engaged with the country’s political economy and its international affairs, particularly in dealing with the South China Sea disputes."


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Gabriele Costa B. Garcia

MSc Human Rights 2017-18

Founder, Instituto Think Twice Brasil

"I had the privilege to join the LSE Interfaith journey to Israel and Palestine. It was a life-changing experience that was essential to strengthening my belief in creating new possibilities for political dialogue and conflict resolution, taking spirituality as a core element. Once back in Brazil, I reassumed the leading activities of Instituto Think Twice Brasil, a non-profit that promotes Education for Human Rights, Peace, and Social Engagement. We provided services on education and consultancy to the private and public sector, in order to support people and organisations to embrace their roles as change makers for a better society."


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Kevin James Schilling

LSE-Columbia Double MSc International and World History, 2019 

Burien City Councilmember, WA

"I wrapped up my LSE year in May 2019. My dual degree program required a dissertation to be written and completed alongside taking full course LSE exams simultaneously. As one can imagine, this took up almost every second of my time. The LSE Faith Centre was my source of calm.  In Beecken Faith and Leadership I learned from my interfaith colleagues the importance of listening, understanding, and curiosity.

Since finishing up at LSE and the Faith Centre, I started working in Catholic ministry in my hometown of Burien, WA (a little south of Seattle). Last fall, I also began my lifelong dream of public service. I ran for and was elected a Burien City Councilmember at 25, the youngest to do so. I bring with me my skills honed at LSE and the Faith Centre to rid my community and region of injustice and to bring people together through a common call of positive improvement in our community."


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Fatema Begum

MSc Applicable Mathematics, 2018-19

Mathematics teacher, The British International School of Kuala Lumpur

"I returned to the LSE 5 years after my undergraduate degree to complete my MSc. Since then, I have taken my teaching career and moved abroad to teach Mathematics at an International school in Malaysia. I continue to talk about faith and my experiences, through my role as a teacher in schools and with my colleagues.
I was honoured to participate in the Beecken Faith and Leadership programme which was the best course I had taken and the highlight of my time at LSE.

I am thankful to the Faith Centre for giving me the opportunity to learn about different faiths, understand different perspectives and practices, and finally make some of the most wonderful friends from different faith backgrounds, with whom I remain in touch. The residential was the highlight of my time - talking with friends late into the night and finding that we share more in common than we thought or knew. This course has now given me the ability to be self-aware and understanding of the struggles that faith communities face - we are always stronger together."


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Kevin Steyer

BSc Economic History, 2017

Master of Divinity student at Westminster Theological Seminary

"My time at LSE and my involvement in the Faith Centre during that time convinced me that I ought not to pursue a career in investment banking, as was my intention at the outset. I became more and more convinced that what the world needs most in addressing our many challenges is not more wealth or might, but a firm conviction to stand for the truth. This became particularly clear for me during the trip to Israel-Palestine as I came to understand how much of the perpetuation of the conflict stems from unwillingness to confront difficult truths on all sides.

Given my conviction that the Christian Scriptures are the ultimate source of truth and that the truth of the Gospel is what sets people free to live peaceful, truthful, and just lives, I decided to attend theological college in preparation to enter the Christian ministry."


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Noreen Sajwani

MSc International Health Policy, 2018

Life Sciences Strategy Consultant, London

"Since completing my degree at the LSE, I have been working as a Life Sciences Strategy Consultant with a global. technology consulting firm in London. We look at how we can support pharmaceutical companies in their quest to better serve patients. Outside of work, I continue to be involved with my faith community, which organises a series of global, youth summer camps for participants between the ages of 6 - 18. The aim of these camps is to help them see how to practice the ethics of their faith in daily life, which is something I personally strive to do through engagements and involvement with organisations like the Faith Centre.

I attended the Interfaith Encounter trip to Israel and Palestine in December 2018 not knowing exactly what to expect. As an American born to Pakistani parents, I myself had an inner conflict of interests on the topic, and I knew there was so much more I didn't know. The experience was instrumental to my time at LSE because it helped me see the various perspectives and lenses through which the current conflict is viewed. In addition, I gained insight into how communities in these areas thrive today, particularly in fields such as international development, health, law and trade. This programme was definitely the highlight of my time at LSE, and it gave me a strong set of tools to further my knowledge and inquiry of how to live out my faith in practice in today's society."