Newsletter December-January 2022

During a study trip organized by the French NGO Œuvre d’Orient, which supports the activities of the IDEO, a visitor asked Jean Druel, O.P: What would change if we did not exist? This is a relevant question, if not a bit thorny. For it is true, what would it change? or, in other words, what do we provide? At a time when Christians celebrate the Epiphany, the tradition that three wise men came from the East, could help us answer. Were they really kings? It is unlikely, but certainly they were learned persons and we are here somewhat like them. Firstly, we are on a journey, which means that our research, our multiple collaborations with Muslims and religious or secular academic institutions, contribute to a world in the making. Not entropy but openness, not repetition nor immobility but “impetus”, as by the expression of the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Magi… and therefore also wise men, which is why we want to be like them, because wisdom is as precious as Gaspar’s gold. For Melchior’s myrrh and its medicinal properties, we contribute in our mission to heal wounded memories by our presence and our daily conversation with Muslims. Finally, as Balthazar brings the incense used since ancient times to raise praise, it is for us to praise all that is good and generous in the other. The incense eventually disappears and becomes invisible, so that we might think that if it didn’t exist, it wouldn’t make any difference, but it is there, and its fragrant smell fills every space. The wise men thought they would find power and force, but they did not find much, only a child born in a manger. But this “not much” is everything, an epiphany, the extreme fragility in the light. Simple imaginary story or powerful truth? Dear friends and donors, to whom we wish a wonderful year 2022, know that if we do not claim to revolutionize the world or even bring peace to it, we believe that it is from where we are, in the depths of fragility, that we contribute to peace and to its universality that illuminates space and time.

IDEO scholarships

The IDEO offers ten introductory courses in Islamic studies through the Arabic language for Dominican brothers in formation, from July 16ᵗʰ to August 14ᵗʰ, 2022. The scholarship includes classroom courses, private tutoring, visits (Islamic Cairo, mosques and museums), exchanges with Egyptian thinkers, meetings with young Muslims and Christians within the framework of the Dominican youth, a weekend in Alexandria and the visit of the Alexandrina Library, full-board accommodation and the possibility of arranging for the flight ticket. For any request of the application documents, please contact: .

Thanks to the support of many donors including Spem miram internationalis, the IDEO offers five scholarships for Dominican brothers to obtain a canonical degree in Arabic and Islamic studies at the beginning of the new academic year in September 2022. The scholarship covers the registration fees, full-board accommodation at the Dominican priory in Cairo, transportation and related expenses except for social insurance costs. For all information and requests, please contact: . The deadline for application is March 1ˢᵗ, 2022.

Lectures and talks

On December 3ʳᵈ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a talk in Toulon entitled “The mosque: foundations, developments and adaptations of a place in the service of believers”, as part of the study day “Heritage and religious architecture” organized by the diocesan direction of Catholic Education in the Var, France.

On December 7ᵗʰ, Guillaume de Vaulx gave a lecture entitled “Humans are a problem for humans. The theological framework of the formalization of the concept of insān in the 9ᵗʰ‒10ᵗʰ centuries”, in the seminar “Man and his representations in Islam”, organized by the French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris.

On December 7ᵗʰ, 2021, Dennis Halft, OP gave a lecture entitled “Prayer in the major religions of the world”, during the launching of the Luxembourg exhibition “Pray” at the VHS School in Trier, Germany.

On December 9ᵗʰ, 2021, Jean Druel, OP gave an online lecture to the Dominican brothers and sisters of the Province of India entitled “What to expect from the theological dialogue with Muslims?”. Click here to watch the lecture on our YouTube channel… (in English)


On December 9ᵗʰ, we welcomed Professor Denis Darpy, president of the French University of Egypt.

On December 12ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Michał Chabros, First Counsellor of the Polish Embassy in Egypt.

On December 13ᵗʰ, we welcomed M. Marc Baréty, French Ambassador, accompanied by his wife.

On December 14ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Thomas Würtz, Assistant Director of the Oriental Institute in Beirut.

On December 14ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mrs. Marie-Pierre Wynands, director of the Vauban University Library (Catholic University of Lille, France).

The Scholars’ House

In December we had the pleasure to receive in the Scholars’ House Professor David Hollenberg, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Oregon, Department of Religious Studies, and Mrs. Yakota Gobran, PhD in the history of Islamic thought at the French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris.


Upcoming activities

On January 11ᵗʰ, Dennis Halft, OP will give an online talk entitled “Muslim Perspectives on the Holy Land” during a research program on Jewish-Christian dialogue at the University of Salzburg in Austria.

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