Portrait of Aliya hirji

Aliya Hirji

I’m from Vancouver and completed my undergraduate in Family Studies and Women’s Studies, where my general interest has been religion and family. Over the years, I worked and volunteered in inter-religious organisations that have brought government, post-secondary, religious, and civil society leadership together to use religion as part of a think tank for looking at challenges and solutions that affect Canadian society.

I am interested in the role of religion in society and the practical aspects of creating programs that bring people from various aspects of civil society together to look at how religion can encourage solutions to issues faced globally and within Canadian society. I thought that the MA course at Leeds would provide an opportunity to look at the practical aspects of the interplay of religion within the civil sectors as well as to build connections.

I enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds on my course and I built deep friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. Religious Mapping was my favourite module because we went out into the community and put our skills to use. Even though it was an undergraduate module, I did a supplementary paper to gain postgrad credits, and as a practitioner it helped to build upon the techniques that I need for my career.

The University had a good reputation and there were also many societies to join. I was a part of the Postgraduate Society and Ahlul Bayt Society and I also organised monthly get-togethers for the postgrads in my School. I had an under-30 card through Opera North (a theatre in the city centre) so I could go to certain musicals and operas for a cheaper price.

Having completed my MA, I will be going back into working in an inter-religious organisation working with various aspects of civil society. The course has assisted me to become more aware of how religion is used (and abused) globally.