Report of REGENN Research Week

 I am María León-Olarte, I was born in Colombia, and since 2018 I have lived in the Netherlands. Currently, I am starting the second year of my PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, specifically at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. My research is about women’s spiritualities as a resource for healing, agency, and political participation of women-of-faith in peacebuilding in Colombia. I investigate specifically the contributions that women-of-faith make to peacebuilding in Colombia based on their different spiritualities (ecumenical approach) and theological reflections (Latin-American feminist intercultural-decolonial theologies).

At the beginning of this year, thanks to a partial scholarship from the Catharina Halkes Fund, I was able to participate in the Annual REGENN Research Week. I had the opportunity to present the progress of my research, which was focused on the methodology for the empirical part of it. I got some valuable questions and remarks that will help me to improve my research. There was even a chance to exchange bibliography and resources, which is an excellent earning from this space.

During this week, besides the small group sessions to present and listen to different research, the program counted with plenary sessions with essential topics in the field of gender and religion; it was nurturing to get some new ideas and perspectives in this field.

There was also free study time to make progress in our research. I consider that time as one of the better ideas for the REGENN week. The environment facilitated to focus on tasks and ideas of our research that, in daily life, you do not have the opportunity to pay enough attention to. The result was definitely a good impulse for the rest of the year.

Last but not least, we had a conversation about the Religion and Gender Network in Nederlands-REGENN. It was a time when some updates about ESWTR were presented, and the participants could share about networks they are part of and how it may be interesting for REGENN. It was a key space to know more about opportunities to connect and work together.

In short, this week helped me in so many different ways, not only concerning my research but in connecting and broadening my study network in the Netherlands. I am very much looking forward to the next one in 2024.