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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

Close up photograph of Hina, gazing upward. To her right, an abstract design with gold stars on turquoise background.

We are delighted that Hina Khalid, a third-year PhD student and highly-committed researcher in the domain of inter-religious researchers has been recognised by the Faculty of Divinity. Hina is one of three students to be awarded the 2023 Don Stebbings Prize, as recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Faculty community.

A vital mediator

Hina’s nomination was proposed by Dr Safet HadziMuhamedovic and seconded by Dr Iona Hine, recognising both Hina’s work with the Cambridge Interfaith Programme and her wider dedication to teaching and outreach. The nomination was strongly supported by Hina’s supervisor, Dr Ankur Barua. Indeed, he composed a brief poem to celebrate the award—inspired, he says, by a favourite Qur'an passage of Hina’s:

Because in whichever way you turn you would see shimmering signs of God’s face
Hina interweaves idioms of religion with a gravity that is exceeded only by her grace,
Tracing with scholarly rigour the structures of Abraham’s many mansions in India
She remains a vital mediator between the wider world and our arcane academia

More prosaically, Dr Barua also attests:

“Hina’s scholarly understanding of Islamic theology and Christian doctrine is paralleled by an immersive fluency in various Hindu socioreligious worldviews. Her luminous mind is reflected in her capacious heart that actively seeks to engage the wider public in discussions relating to the world and God, and everything that lies in between them.”

The nomination

Here is the nomination as submitted to the Prize Committee, illustrating the diversity of Hina’s contributions to Faculty life in the past academic year:

“Hina Khalid’s contributions to the Faculty of Divinity this year have been remarkable. Her teaching and pastoral support for undergraduate students has been exceptional. She has contributed teaching to a range of papers: A6 (Understanding Contemporary Religion), B9 (Religious Encounter), A7 (Studying World Religions - Hinduism), B15 (Introduction to Islam) and C9 (Islam II). The sheer breadth of her teaching is praiseworthy. The students particularly speak of her kindness, in-depth knowledge in theology and social studies of religion, her attention to detail, and advice on the trajectories of their undergraduate studies.

“Hina has made exceptional contributions to the life and research culture of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, energising staff, students and the wider public to think about syncretism, Muslim-Hindu lifeworlds and poetic encounters. She recently gave a talk on materiality and divine beauty for the CIP Cambridge Festival panel ‘Objects Across Religious Boundaries’, co-organised a fantastic online colloquium on ‘Inter-religious Interactions in South Asia’ with leading scholars in South Asian studies, participated as a panellist at a DivSoc/CIP joint event for the UK Inter Faith Week, helped organise the CIP anniversary, organised the monumental two-day South Asia postgraduate symposium, and is supporting Dr Barua’s upcoming event ‘A Mehfil of Indo-Islamic Music’. She is also involved in plans for a CIP poetry event next year. 

“Furthermore, Hina recently gave a ClickCambridge Taster Session for BAME sixth form students, titled ‘Poetry and Politics: An Unlikely Pairing?’. She coordinated the Sutton Trust summer school in both 2022 and 2023. She designed and taught a course on ‘Hindu-Muslim Relations in the Indian Subcontinent’ for Gonville and Caius College Outreach as part of the Cambridge Higher Aspirations Scheme (CHAS) programme. And, she co-taught a workshop on South Asian Religions for the Foundations Year in 2023. 

“These incredible achievements show Hina Khalid’s academic strength, collegiality and readiness for collaborative projects, her research ethic, and her dedication to the community of staff and students in the Faculty of Divinity. Her colleague Susie Triffit (another fantastic PhD candidate deserving of this prize) perhaps best described Hina’s contribution to the Faculty spirit by choosing her as the subject of photographic portraits at the Interfaith Relations student exhibition in Michaelmas 2022/23.”

About the Don Stebbings Prize

The prize is awarded each year to students who have given to the Faculty of Divinity beyond their academic work. For example, for particular effort in nurturing the spirit of the community in the Faculty, engaging in outreach work or serving fellow students. It is given in memory of Mr Donald Stebbings, for thirty years Chief Custodian.

Born and brought up in Cambridge, Don Stebbings began to work for the University of Cambridge as a deputy custodian at the Arts School. In October 1985, he moved to the Faculty of Divinity (as Chief Custodian), remaining until his retirement on 30 September 2015. Half that period was caring for the Faculty at the old building in St John’s Street and from 2000 at the new premises on the Sidgwick site.

Don was a lively presence, well-known for his jokes and amusing sayings. He was also a sensitive man who comforted and encouraged many a student in trouble, whether worried about exams or feeling depressed. Whilst he showed enormous commitment to the smooth running and the maintenance of the building, for him the Faculty was more significantly the people within it. He never wavered in his commitment and was faithful in all aspects of his role right up to the end of his tenure.

Diagnosed with cancer in February 2017, Don died on 10 November 2017 aged 66. He is remembered for his service and companionship to generations of students and academics in the Faculty of Divinity.

A word from Hina

Responding to news of the award, Hina told us:

“I am honored and humbled to have received the Don Stebbings Prize this year – along with two wonderful peers, Tyler Horton and Hannah Fytche. This award is especially meaningful as Don Stebbings was a cherished friend of mine, who I miss dearly.

“This year, I have enjoyed immersing myself actively in the vibrant intellectual and social life of the Faculty – from teaching undergraduate students to organizing the Sutton Trust summer school, to liaising with CIP colleagues on various workshops. All of these activities, distinctive though not divergent, have dovetailed with my own research in valuable and enriching ways – providing me with ongoing creative avenues to explore the fertile intersections between faith, society, and the arts.” 

Congratulations, Hina.

A longer biography of the late Donald Stebbings can be accessed (as a PDF) on the Faculty of Divinity website ( The above information is excerpted from there.

Featured image: Photograph of Hina Khalid, captured by Susie Triffitt, for the exhibition “Women of Faith”. (The exhibition will be on show on 15 June as part of the Student Symposium.)

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