Nazila Isgandarova is a DMin candidate in Pastoral Counseling and Family Therapy, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary of Wilfrid Laurier University, and PhD candidate in Khazar University, Azerbaijan. She is also a Spiritual and Religious Care Coordinator of the Ontario Multifaith Centre and the Cummer Lodge Long Term Care Home , and a Chaplain at the Wenleigh Long Term Care Home in Mississauga. Nazila’s chaplaincy experience started in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton where she received her clinical pastoral education under the supervision of the well-known researcher Prof. Thomas O’Connor and Roy Dahl.
As a Muslim woman chaplain she provided religious and spiritual care not only to Muslims, but to patients from different background. Nazila is an internationally published researcher focusing on Islamic spiritual and religious care in a healthcare setting, pastoral counseling in a multi-faith context, and Muslim identity in the West. She has led many research projects on religious and spiritual issues in a clinical setting and presented in international and national conferences. Some of them have been published and are in use by chaplains and pastoral counsellors in Canada.
Born in Azerbaijan, a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia located far from Canada, Nazila views her role as an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the research of Islamic spirituality in society and in the identity of Muslims. “I felt very excited when I was offered to teach this course, because I thought that it would give me the chance to contribute to the effectiveness of Muslim spiritual care by explaining the tasks and functions of traditional and contemporary spiritual and religious care. In order to recognize the need for determining what it is and what it should be, my desire is not only to analyze sociological and theological aspects of Islamic spiritual care, but also to teach it.
Islamic spirituality and Imams' role as traditional healers, in 5th Annual Critical Multicultural Counselling & Psychotherapy Conference, (August 4-6, 2009) OISE, University of Toronto
Enemy within Us or Outside: Right Wing Extremism in EU, Khazar Unibersity, Baku/Azerbaijan (May 29-31, 2009)
Muslim Spiritual Care and Counselling, in The Spiritual Care Givers Guide to Identity, Practice and Relationships: Transforming the Honeymoon in Spiritual Care and Therapy, (2008), WLU Press, Waterloo, ed. T. O'Connor, E. Meakes and C. Lashmar
Identity as a Main Factor for Integration, presented at International Conference on Peaceful Coexistence: Fethullah Gülen’s initiatives for peace in the contemporary world, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands (23–24 November 2007)
Islamic Spiritual Care in a Health Care Setting, in Spirituality and Health: Multidisciplinary Explorations, (2005), WLU Press. Waterloo, Ontario, ed. A. Meier, T. O'Connor and P. VanKatwyk
MA Thesis: The Search for Security in the South Caucasus: NATO’s Role in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, Insitute of European and Russian Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa (September, 2006)
Can Islamic Spiritual Scale Be Useful The Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary, available at:http://macdonald.hartsem.edu/articles.htm Silence in Muslim language prayer, presented at CAPPE Annual Conference, Niagara Falls, (February 9, 2007)
What Should the Spiritual Caregiver Know While Dealing with the Survivors of an Ethnic Violence, conducted and submitted in the SPCR’s (Society of Pastoral Consellors Research) Conference, Ottawa, (May, 2006)
Ageing and Spiritual Care in a Cultural Context, approved by the Ethics Board of St. Josephs’ Healthcare Setting, conducted and submitted in the SPCR’s (Society of Pastoral Consellors Research) Conference, Windsor, (May, 2005)