Andreas Önver Cetrez

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TD, docent
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I work as professor in Psychology of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University. In 2005 I defended my doctoral dissertation at the Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University, focusing on identity and ritualization among Assyrian youth and adults in Sweden.

During 2017-2021 I was the co-coordinator and PI for the Horizon2020 project RESPOND – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond (

See more in:


  • migration
  • psychology
  • qualitative methods
  • quantitative methods
  • religion
  • vulnerable immigrant groups
  • youth and marginality


Denna text finns inte på svenska, därför visas den engelska versionen.


Uppsala University, Department of Religious Studies, Program in Psychology of Religion, Sweden

(2022) Professor in Psychology of Religion

(2017) Associate Professor/Docent

(2005) PhD in Psychology of Religion and Cultural Psychology

Dissertation title: Meaning-Making Variations in Acculturation and Ritualization: A multi-generational study of Suroyo migrants in Sweden

Supervisors: Professors Valerie DeMarinis, Uppsala University, and Anthony J. Marsella, University of Hawaii

(1995) MA in Social Sciences of Religion

(1994) BA in Social Sciences of Religion


In my research I have primarily used the disciplines of psychology of religion, cultural psychology, and ritual studies. My scientific activity so far has been to contribute both empirically as well as theoretically to topics related to ethnic and religious identity, resilience, meaning-making, ritualization, acculturation, religion and conflict studies, refugee health and acculturation, in all cases most strongly in relation to migration populations in postmodern and secularised societies.

During my academic career I have published several articles in journals, chapters, and own edited books, related to the following themes:

  • Resilience, coping, and culture

  • Existential health, culture and migrants

  • Religion, identity, and youth

  • Psychology of religion in peace and conflict

  • Genocide and generational trauma

  • Refugee psychosocial health

  • Mixed method

  • Evaluation research and cultural analysis


My management skills have been developed and refined significantly in my role as coordinator of the large, multi-year, multi-partner EU Horizon 2020 project RESPOND between December 2017 and March 2021 (including the reporting period). The project included 14 partners across 12 countries, with more than 40 researchers and assistants (part-time).

During 2014-2016 I have been working as the Deputy Director for the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII), Turkey. My responsibilities have been to edit the two journal series of the SRII, Transactions and Papers. Transactions is a blinded peer reviewed series. Other responsibilities have been to organize conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures, the summer school, as well as to inform the Scandinavian academics about the work of the institute.

During 2014-2016 I was leading the research project Mental health Pilot Study for Assyrian Christian Refugees from Syria living in Istanbul, financed through The Impact of Religion – Challenges for Society, Law, and Democracy. The research group consists of a team of 2 psychologists of religion, 1 research assistant, 1 doctoral student, and myself.

During 2010-2013 I have been leading the research project Gilgamesh Mental health, meaning-seeking, and integration processes among Iraqi refugees in Södertälje, Stockholm, and Uppsala, financed by the Swedish Research Council. The research group consisted of a team of 2 psychiatrists, 1 psychologist of religion, 1 research assistant, and myself. Leading a project as this requires skills for planning, administering, as well as conducting research.

As a senior lecturer at the Department of Religious Sciences, Uppsala University, I am, together with Professor Valerie DeMarinis, also responsible for the research seminars in psychology of religion as well as advising doctoral and postgraduate students.

After a period of coordinating the master programme Religion in Conflict and Reconciliation, between 2007-2008, I passed over the coordinating role, due to reasons of own research projects I received. I have previously coordinated two EU financed projects at Uppsala University. For the first one, a master programme in Religion in Conflict and Reconciliation (ReCor), I was the coordinator from its start. The programme was a Socrates financed programme in cooperation with partners from Münster University, Germany, Irish School of Ecumenics, Ireland, Life and Peace Institute, Sweden, and Sigtunastiftelsen, Sweden. For the second one, Thematic Network Project “Teaching Religion in a multicultural European Society” (TRES), I was asked to take the coordinating responsibility until Professor Kajsa Ahlstrand could take over the position.

From 2008-2013 I was coordinating the seminars for the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul – The Research Colleague, first together with Ph.D. Helena Bani-Shoraka and later with Ph.D. Helena Bodin. These seminars have taken place in Stockholm covering up to date and innovative research topics.


As an active researcher, it is crucial to participate and present one’s research, both nationally and internationally, in a scholarly context, such as conferences, webinars, seminars and workshops. Among these, can be mentioned organizing the events, being invited to give a speech as a keynote or guest lecturer.


My approach to teaching is based on critical reflection, which indicates that all through the study process, the student needs to show a preference and ability for reflectively questioning the conclusions of his/her work. This approach both contributes to a self-critical perspective as well as an ethical responsibility in academic work. In my teaching, I try to communicate this to my students. Employing critical reflection in my teaching includes being aware of the underlying assumptions of the theories we use, as these assumptions shape the way we view knowledge and how we select our research questions, how we operationalize these questions and the way we interpret the results.

I have held lecturer positions at Uppsala University and at Södertörn University College, and have given lectures in different departments (psychiatry, nursing, IMER) and universities, both in Sweden and abroad. I have taught in total 174 courses at undergraduate (A, B, C levels in the Swedish system) and graduate levels (D, E levels in the Swedish system). Up until now, I accrued more than 1250 teaching hours:

  • Program courses in psychology of religion from A, through B, C, D up to E (Swedish system) level as well as PhD courses
  • Paper thesis courses on C, D, and E levels
  • Courses on qualitative and quantitative methods D level
  • Independent non program courses, such as Inter-cultural encounters, Inter-religious encounters, Cultural Meetings, A continuing education for Rikspolisen (Swedish Police Service) on Religion, Culture, Resistance, and Terrorism
  • Courses in the master programme Religion in Conflict and Reconciliation
  • Several Internet courses (distance learning) on A, B, C, and D levels in religious studies

The courses I have been involved in represent all the different levels within the programme of Religious Sciences. There have been courses both in Swedish and English, as well as on campus and distance learning.


Principal supervisor for doctoral students—graduated:

  1. From 2015–December 11, 2020: PhD student Victor Dudas, accepted into the PhD program in psychology of religion. Title of dissertation: Exploring the identity of a group of Assyrian/Syriac young adolescents in Sweden.

Principal supervisor for doctoral students—not yet graduated:

  1. From 2018–present (planned public defence Fall semester 2023): PhD student Mudar Shakra, accepted into the PhD program in psychology of religion.

Assistant supervisor for doctoral students—graduated:

  1. From 2013–2018: PhD student Yukako Nahlbom, program in psychology of religion, Uppsala University. Title: Existential meaning-making in the midst of meaninglessness and suffering: Studying the function of religion and religious organizations in the reconstruction and development of existential meaning and psychosocial well-being after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

  2. From July 2009–2018: PhD student Åsa Schumann, program in psychology of religion, Uppsala University. Title: Vilken mening!?: En blandad metodstudie i religionspsykologi av meningsskapandets betydelse för skolungdomar (Which meaning!?: A mixed-method study in psychology of religion on the importance of meaning-making among school adolescents.)


When planning research as well as when given different lectures, I have found the relation to the surrounding society as very important. This is shown by research projects I have initiated or been part of and which have had a close link to the surrounding society, such as:

  1. “Qnushyo” – A refugee centre in Istanbul. While conducting research among Syrian refugees in Istanbul during 2014-2016, together with local refugees and people in Turkey, I started a centre for daily activities among refugee children and adults. The centre organized pre-school activities for the children and language courses and relaxation activities for the adults. See more at:

  2. Uppsala University Innovation ( fosters collaboration between Uppsala University and the surrounding society partly by supporting research collaborations between the university and the society, and partly by supporting the development and commercialization of ideas from research at Uppsala University. As part of this development I was financed by the Uppsala University Holding to commercialize my research on ethnic studies. Further, my project, Gilgamesh: Mental health, meaning-making, and integration, financed by the Swedish Research Council, was chosen as one of the first projects within social sciences for further seminar activities. Uppsala University Innovation employed a part time employee to work with this, through the concept AIMday.
  3. Evaluation of a diversity and gender equality programme, called Real Diversity, organized by Landsrådet för Sveriges Ungdomsorganisationer (LSU) [The National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations], in cooperation with Skandia, Föreningssparbanken, and Integrationsverket, during 2002 – 2005. The project resulted in nine different reports and was financed by the Swedish European Social Fund (ESF).
  4. Evaluation of a programme for Syriac Orthodox education, at Hagabergs Folkhögskola (Hagaberg’s Community College), Stockholm, Sweden, in 2005-2006.


Denna text finns inte på svenska, därför visas den engelska versionen.


  1. Funded by the European Commission, under Horizon Europe funding for Research & Innovation, for the project GAPs - De-centring the Study of Migrant Returns and Readmission Policies in Europe and Beyond (Ref. nr: 101094341). Funding sum of 5.5 million Euro, divided by 17 partners. Main applicant and co-coordinator of the project, 2023-2026.
  2. Funded by Belmont forum 2022, through the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), for the project PHOENIX - Human Mobility, Global Challenges and Resilience in an Age of Social Stress (Ref. nr: 2022-06011). Funding sum of 1.174.000 Euro. PI, 2023-2026.
  3. Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), under funding for researchers’ communication, for the project Footsteps - To understand other people’s experiences of integration (Ref. r: 2022-06349). Funding sum 1 million SEK. Main applicant, 2023-2024.
  4. Funded by the European Commission, under Horizon 2020 funding for Research & Innovation, for the project RESPOND – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond (Ref. nr: 770564). Funding sum of 3.3 million Euro divided among 14 partners (50% share as coordinator and researcher, during 2017–2021). Main applicant and coordinator of the project. See here:
  5. Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for the project “Integration and Tradition: The Making of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden”. Total funding: 12.7 million SEK, divided among four researchers (20–70% research on my part, during 2018–2022). Head researcher Magdalena Nordin, Göteborg University. See here:
  6. Funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, for a project to disseminate research in an innovative way: “Gilgamesh: flyktingminoriteters traumatiska erfarenheter som hamnat i skuggan” [Gilgamesh: traumatic experiences of refugee minorities who have been forgotten]. In cooperation with Världskulturmuseerna (The National Museums of World Culture). Funding sum of 490,000 SEK.
  7. Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for the project Mental health and religio-cultural resources and problems in the acculturation process among Iraqi refugees in Södertälje and Uppsala. Funding sum of 3,681,000 SEK, period 2010–2014, on average 50% research on my part. Participating researchers were Prof Valerie DeMarinis, Dr and psychiatrist Manuel Fernandez and doctoral student at Karolinska Institute, Maria Sundvall.
  8. Funded by the European Syriac Union for the project A Cultural analysis of Assyrian values, attitudes, and practices in different European countries. Funding sum of 40,000 SEK, period 2008–2009.
  9. Funded by Forte: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. For a workshop on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and its Multi-Layered Impacts and to prepare the application for the Horizon 2020 funding from the European Union (Call on the global challenge of migration). April 2016–February 2017. Funding sum of 149,500 SEK. Main applicant and project leader.
  10. Funded by Forte: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. For workshop and seminars for further research applications. Funding sum of 149,850 SEK. Main applicant and organizer.
  11. Funded by the Rector of Uppsala University in cooperation with Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, a PhD doctoral project: “Selfing and Othering in Discourses on the Role of Religion in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building”. Head applicant Önver Cetrez, co-applicant Prof Valerie DeMarinis. Funding sum of 200,000 SEK, spring 2007–2008.
  12. Funded by the Rector of Uppsala University in cooperation with Rijksuniversiteit Groningen to develop a joint Master programme in “Religion and Culture in Conflict and Peace Building”. Funding sum of 80 000 SEK, spring 2006.
  13. Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), for the project “Strengthening emergency response to societal crisis – appraisal of intercultural health communication strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic” (Stärkt beredskap vid en samhällskris – analys och lärdomar av interkulturell hälsokommunikation under covid-19 pandemin). Karolinska Institute and Region Stockholm, SLSO, Norra Stockholms psykiatri. Head applicant MD Sofie Bäärnhielm. Funding sum of 6,066,000 SEK, start spring 2022.
  14. Funded by The Impact of Religion – Challenges for Society, Law, and Democracy, for two sub-projects: 1) Cultural values among Assyrians in Sweden, and 2) Mental Health Pilot Study for Assyrian Christian Refugees from Syria living in Istanbul. Total funding: 450 400 SEK, during 2009–2013 (on average 10% research on my part) and 2013–2015 (on average 10% research).
  15. Funded by for research on Cultural analysis of Internet gambling among Expect’s customers. Head applicant Prof Valerie DeMarinis, co-applicant Önver Cetrez and Prof Thorleif Pettersson. Funding sum of 211,000 SEK (for my part only), period 2006-02-01–2006-08-31, on average 40% research on my part.


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Andreas Önver Cetrez