Norani Abu Bakar ’11 M.A.R.
B.E. University of New Brunswick (Canada) 1993
M.B.A. Charles Sturt University (Australia) 2001
I came to the Yale Divinity School to do comparative studies on Islam and Christianity. The work done by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture had drawn me to this school. These two years were also intentionally designated as a part of my life journey in discovering my own spirituality and as a period of preparation for the next stage in my life.
There are two things I will be doing when I am back in Asia. First is to work with an emerging faith leaders program in Singapore and, second, to set up an international office in Hong Kong for Home Sweet Home, the philanthropy organization that I used to serve in Shanghai.
YDS transformed me tremendously. My theology was deconstructed and, ironically, the reassembly made me more theologically appeased. The YDS ecumenical setting and diversity revolutionized my perspective on faith and cultivated a deeper understanding of God that has been present throughout the history of mankind. I have learned to love and appreciate different faith traditions. Within the YDS community, I will surely miss all of my close friends, the wonderful library facility, services at Marquand Chapel, my small Friday group prayer, the lectures that sometimes altered my life perspectives, the hospitable and dedicated faculty members, the community dinners, and the privilege to serve the International Students Fellowship. As a Yale University student, I will miss the campus activities such as the World Fellows' seminars, the sports tournaments, the highly academic conferences, the well-equipped gym, and the fellowship with the Muslim students' community.
The highlight of my time at Yale was when I went to Egypt in January 2011 as a member of the YDS student group selected to spend a term at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. It was unfortunate that we were evacuated because of the civil unrest there. However, the opportunity to participate in such an endeavor was wonderful. I am also thankful to have been selected to join the intercultural trip to Saudi Arabia and to participate in the Islam-West Relations seminar at the Center for Faith and Culture’s Summer Institute, and to be given the opportunity to translate some articles in the book A Common Word into the Indonesian language. These experiences were invaluable to my education at Yale.
Most of all, I am very thankful that by God's grace I have grown spiritually during my two years at YDS. I trust that God will continue to guide me during the next phase of my life’s journey.