Peace be with you, assalamu alaykum,
I am Rev. Aaro Rytkonen, and I have lived here in Muscat since April 2017 when I joined Al Amana Centre as the Executive Director. I believe we all are created equal, and there is so much we can learn from each other. I have been working for the last decade for building peace and supporting religious actors in their peace building efforts among others in Central African Republic, Mozambique and Somalia. My previous work experience includes World Council of Churches, Conference of European Churches, FinnChurchAid, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland. I am an ordained pastor in the Lutheran Church, and now I am privileged to work for peace and reconciliation through leading this unique organization of Al Amana Centre. I want to welcome you all on behalf of Al Amana Centre to the Sultanate of Oman, and I encourage all of you to join our efforts for shared values of peace, reconciliation and acceptance.
Greetings from Oman! When I graduated from Western Seminary in 2003 I never would have imagined that I would call a country like Oman home. After serving pastorates in upstate New York and New York City, I came to Al Amana Centre in the summer of 2013. I am passionate about bringing people from different religions and cultures together to learn about each other and to break harmful stereotypes.
I am joined in Oman by my wife, Stephanie, and our two school-aged sons. When we are not busy with school and work, our family likes to spend time on and in the water, reading, and exploring God’s beautiful creation.
I recently completed a M.A. in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation from University of Winchester in the U.K.
Oman is an incredible country – a desert filled with life and diversity. It is also a safe place to learn about engaging persons of other religious traditions in a way that challenges us to think more deeply about our own tradition and faith. Al Amana Centre is unique in many ways, and I am excited to join the team.
Prior to joining Al Amana Centre, I spent nearly fifteen years in Dhaka, Bangladesh where I served on the faculty of the College of Christian Theology Bangladesh, as both the Director of Academics and the Dean of Research and Resource Development (2001-2017). As I transitioned to Al Amana Center, I had the opportunity to hold a position as Scholar-in-Residence at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan (2017-2018).
I am doctoral candidate at Gonzaga University. Under the mentorship of Father David Burrell, my research is inquiring into the ways Muslims, Christians, and Hindus in Bangladesh are learning together though experiences of interreligious dialogue, modeled after the practice of Scriptural Reasoning. When I am not in the office, I enjoy fly fishing, trekking, skiing, snorkeling, and hanging out my wife, Melissa, and our three children in the wild places of Oman. When we we are not in Oman our home is in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state.
Hailing from Kerala, the southern state of India, I came to Oman with my mom and sisters to join my dad who was then working in Muscat. Being in Oman from the age of seven, I did all my schooling in the prestigious Indian school Muscat. Having a bachelor’s degree in Management and a master’s in Business Administration, I worked in a business concern for four years before joining Al Amana Centre in 2005 as the Administration/Business manager. Since then I have been continuing my journey with the Centre and it’s been 12 years running.
I am happily married to Melba, and we celebrated a decade of togetherness this year. We are blessed with an eight year old son Ryan and a four year old daughter Riana, and the both of them have been in Oman from their very young days. We are actively involved in the Catholic Church in Ruwi, where we are part of one of the youth ministries.
Living in this wonderful and peaceful country for nearly thirty years, I rightly call this place my home enjoying its warmth and hospitality. Surely for us Oman is where our heart is.
I am Catherine Armstrong. I am from the southern part of India I have been living in Oman since 1994. My husband, Armstrong works with Majan University College, as head of the post graduate centre. We have two boys Joshua (13 years) and Andrew (9 years).
After a fifteen year stint with Oman Hotels and Tourism Company as a finance and accounting professional, I had taken a sabbatical. Since January 2017 I have resumed my career as Controller at the Al Amana Centre. I have a Bachelors degree in Commerce and a Masters degree in Business Administration.
Venerable Canon Bill Schwartz
Ms Margaret Shurdom
Dr C Thomas
Ms. Bridget Ganguly
Rev Canon Andrew Thompson, Board Chair, Anglican Church
Rev Dr Peter Ford, Board Vice Chair, Reformed Church in America
Rev Ken Bradsell, Board Treasurer, Reformed Church in America