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Emilia Zmuda-Trzebiatowska

"Looking at the somewhat 'stormy' relationship between the Arab East and the West which virtually started in the Middle Ages, one cannot doubt about unceasing and strong presence of mutual influences and interactions between our both cultures. The history has seen both positive and negative aspects of this relationship and now as ever, there is no room for indifference not to mention neglecting our existence in very close vicinity.

Hence, as 'Easterners' and 'Westerners', we have two options: dialogue and cooperation or hostility and confrontations. No doubt, we must strongly opt for dialogue, and in order for it to be fruitful, first of all we should know each other better. Good knowledge increases understanding and decreases fear of a 'stranger', as there is no 'stranger' anymore. Moreover, it opens multiple possibilities to learn from each other's millenarian traditions and splendid cultures.

A language is, of course, a great tool for any intercultural/interreligious dialogue. It really 'unfolds the wings' and 'at once' one is launched into another culture and becomes familiar with it to an extent otherwise beyond one's reach. I can experience it especially now, while living and studying in Amman (for almost 3 months now) as a part of the Arabic programme at Lund University which I appreciate a lot! It is an excellent opportunity not only to learn the language much faster or to find out a lot of interesting facts about the local life, society, culture, religion and so on, but especially to interact with people. It is a great feeling to discuss various issues from religion through politics to everyday joys and problems, and all that in Arabic! Sure, it is a struggle when the thoughts cannot be uttered as right words, but people here are good listeners and when they speak, they even sometimes switch from a dialect to the standard Arabic so that one understands (they know English, but why to use it).

When I finish my term at the University of Jordan, I should restart work as a researcher in the field of Medicine, yet I want to be active in the intercultural dialogue and works for mutual understanding and peace/reconciliation. I hope it will be possible!"

Emilia Zmuda-Trzebiatowska
PhD/Department of Experimental Medical Science
Lund University, 2007

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