Laura is currently an undergraduate student in Middle Eastern Studies following the Persian Language and Culture track at Leiden University. After spending a couple of years living and studying in Iran (Isfahan University) and Turkey (Dutch institute of Turkey), she is at present focussing on both countries and their relations in the context of the wider region. In her studies, she mainly emphasises on the role of cultural heritage at the intersection of conflict and war, minorities and diasporas, the (social impact and political purposes of) arts and (im)material culture, and language, both from a linguistical approach as well as from a visual one. Laura finished her propaedeutic year cum laude with a research paper on the renewed Pan-Turkism and irredentism rhetoric of Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, by analysing the poetry of Bahtiyar Vahapzade as citated by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his Victory Parade Speech. She followed the Practicum Artium Program in The Hague in the discipline of photography. She is currently finishing her second year with a research paper on the role of poster propaganda issued between 1979-1987 by the Ḥezb-e Jomhūrī-e Eslāmī during the process of nation-building in the Islamic Republic Iran. She will start the upcoming academic year of 2022-2023 with a minor in Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, with the objective to include the preservation of cultural heritage as focal point.
You can read Laura van Alfen's student report here