Both the group of principal lecturers and of participants were
internationally composed, which was central to the intensity and
depth of the discussions. Besides Prof. Baghis Badri (al-Ahfad
University), Dr. Nagwa M. El-Bashir (Khartoum University) and Prof.
Ulrike Freitag (Centre for Modern Oriental Studies and Free University,
Berlin), Dr. Fatima Adamu (Senior Lecturer, Usmanu Danfoduyo University,
Sokoto) and Mrs. Muna Bilgrami, a Danish-Iraqi
scholar teaching and currently working in Pakistan, constituted
the core group of teachers. Additional lectures were given by a
range of prominent Sudanese scholars, with another visiting German
lecturer (Dr. Ulrike Schultz, Free University, Berlin) also participating.
Particularly interesting was the combination of different regional
(Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Germany) perspectives. This allowed
for a combination of very different intellectual currents and experiences.
The group of participants was characterized by its diversity in
terms of country of origin and interests. Seven different countries
were represented, including Sudan (approx.10 participants *),
Nigeria (5 participants), Uganda (2 participants), Senegal (2
participants), Egypt (3 participants), South Africa (3 participants)
and Germany (10 participants). Most participants were students
and academics (preparing an MA or PhD) interested in or currently
working on the role and activism of women in their own or other
societies. Other participants included activists, consultants and
journalists actively promoting women’s rights in their own
In addition to the presentations directly linked to the modules of the course,
all African participants were asked to make group presentations on women’s
movements in their countries. This was a great opportunity to gain insight on
the evolution, structure, achievements and specific problems of these movements
in several African countries and sparked fascinating comparative discussions.
As for the German participants, they were asked to prepare a group presentation
on “Muslim Women in Western Media”.
The combination of participants
and lecturers from different countries, with different religious
affiliations and different academic and professional backgrounds
created a dynamic working atmosphere in which fierce debates and
exchanges of opinions played a central role. Particularly interesting
from the German side was the fact that due to the Muslim majority
in the group, many debates between the Muslim participants emerged
which showed the width of different opinions and interpretations.
Independent from the question of whether or not individual participants
favoured a distinctly religious or secular approach, the possible
impact and radicalism of a feminist argument couched in Islamic
terms became very clear.
the workshop took place in Sudan, a number of members of al-Ahfad
and local organisations took the opportunity to attend specific
sections. This is also true for a number of Germans currently
residing in Sudan.