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Seton Hall University

Religion Professor Ines Murzaku Chosen as Fulbright Scholar to Romania

Ines Angeli Murzaku, Ph.D.

Ines Angeli Murzaku, Ph.D.

Ines Angeli Murzaku, Ph.D., professor of Religion, Department of Religion, director, Catholic Studies Program, and founding chair, Department of Catholic Studies, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Cluj-Nopoca, Romania, for the 2025 spring semester from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Her project, "Transitional Justice and Dialogue as Means to Build Peace in Post-communist Romania," draws on her recent research in interreligious and intercultural dialogue to bring to light new data regarding the application of transitional justice from communism to post-communism and understanding of the experiences of those of minority religions in a country whose majority population is of the Eastern Orthodox faith.

"Professor Murzaku has her finger on the pulse of many contemporary issues of global significance," said Reverend Gerald J. Buonopane, Ph.D., vice provost for Academics and Catholic Identity. "Her research and teaching on transitional justice are particularly relevant today, and her lived experience participating in peace-building dialogue across cultures and religions positions her to conduct groundbreaking research in her upcoming Fulbright experience."

Murzaku’s project will focus on the culture of encounter and dialogue in Romania’s multi-cultural and multi-religious landscape in the context of an extensive process of diversification, which has taken place within the new political context of Romania since 1990. It will include a comparative study on the role and impact of transitional justice in peacebuilding in post-communist Romania and other former-communist countries.

Babeș-Bolyai University.

Babeș-Bolyai University.

Against this background, Murzaku’s project takes on a special significance. She will collaborate with colleagues at Babeș-Bolyai University. Now considered the first five-star, world class research university in Romania, it has roots as the sixth-century Major Jesuit College in Cluj.

"My aim is to promote respect for diversity, combating any manifestation of religious discrimination, xenophobia, radicalization and hate speech," Murzaku explained, noting that "in particular, I look forward to using the work I’ll do in Romania to lay the groundwork for future research collaboration, as well as for faculty and student exchange opportunities—all in the interest of promoting justice and peace."

This will be Murzaku’s fifth Fulbright award as she has delved into researching transitional justice and peacebuilding. She has completed Fulbright research twice in Italy, once in Slovenia, and once in North Macedonia.

"We welcome the opportunity to support Murzaku’s research on a very timely topic," said Professor Ovidiu Ghitta, Ph.D., dean of Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, adding that "these countries have experienced different historical trajectories and political regimes but share a common heritage of Eastern Christianity. . . We hope the discussion of common themes and concerns will build bridges for future collaboration."

Murzaku noted that "I am planning to publish a book with the results of my research and fieldwork on transitional justice and minority religions in East Europe. To explore the case of minority religions, religious freedom and religion viewed through the lens of human rights, Romania’s Greek Catholic Church will be an important part of the book."

"Professor Murzaku’s teaching at Seton Hall shows her comprehensive multicultural competencies," said James J. Kimble, Ph.D., Fulbright Liaison for the campus and professor of Communication & the Arts, noting that "she is truly a global educator, whose in-class pedagogy and involvement in international initiatives and organizations, such as the International Federation of Catholic Universities, enrich the life of our University. She is uniquely positioned to contribute further to intercultural dialogue and serve as an ambassador of Seton Hall in Romania as a distinguished Fulbright scholar and we congratulate her on this achievement."

About the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program

Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide unique opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad. Fulbright scholars also play a critical role in U.S. public diplomacy, establishing long-term relationships between people and nations. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide. In the United States, the Institute of International Education implements the Fulbright U.S. Student and U.S. Scholar Programs on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Notable Fulbrighters include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, 41 heads of state or government, and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia and many other fields across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Visit here for more information about the Fulbright Program.

Categories: Faith and Service, Nation and World, Research