In 2008, Kenny Rasool founded the study association for the degree programme Languages and Cultures of the Middle East (TCMO). At the time, TCMO was organised in two separate tracks, with Arab and Islamic studies on the one hand (with courses like ‘Introduction to Arab-Islamic culture’) and Hebrew and Jewish studies on the other hand (with courses like Culture of Israël in the Cinema). While students of both tracks belonged to the same degree programme, they met only sporadically. The goal of Rasool’s study association was therefore to build a bridge between the two tracks. That’s where the original name originated: “Shalom Arabs”. This name emphasized mutual respect and ‘meeting in the middle’. The study association aimed to be a platform for constructive dialogue: every conversation was possible, as long as it remained respectful. The main activities were the Christmas dinner and the end-of-year barbecue.
After the change of the degree programme from TCMO to Middle-Eastern Studies, the two separate tracks were united in one comprehensive degree programme, only separating the language specialization. Following this change, in 2014-2015, the study association changed its name to Siduri, a tribute to the Mesopotamian goddess of wisdom and beer brewery as featured in the legendary epic of Gilgamesh.
The study association founded by Kenny Rasool paved the way for our current Study Association Siduri. The yearly Christmas dinner and the end-of-year barbecue have become beloved traditions within the association. At the time of writing this, our study association has existed for 13 years and counting. We will never forget our first five years as “Shalom Arabs” and Kenny Rasool’s pioneering efforts!