This piece was written by Emily Gorey, the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace’s Marketing Specialist.
I lived in the same house in the same small town of about 3,000 people for the first 18 years of my life. From preschool through high school, a very similar homologous cast of classmates surrounded me. My exposure to people with backgrounds different than my own was – to say the least – limited. I had the privilege of attending school in one of the highest-ranked school systems in the nation. The county itself is ranked the third most affluent county in the United States. My particular schools were predominately white; and while I am absolutely appreciative of my infinite blessings and opportunities, I am sentient of the bubble in which I grew up.
My environment was controlled and immune to the harsh, ugly conflicts of our world. Inequality was a distant and abstract idea. In high school, a majority of my classmates received their own car. Money did not limit their pursuits of higher education. We went home to big houses that were – for the most part – healthy and whole. We did not know the face of hardship nor did we know the strengths of diversity.
Dr. Mahmoudi’s Honors Seminar, “The Problem of Prejudice: Overcoming Impediments to Global Peace and Justice,” was my first true encounter with the outside world and its long list of issues. I was suddenly confronted with the harsh reality of hate that is rooted throughout the world. I learned the faults of the masses who fail to see another man as a part of their own humankind. Struggle and inequality was closer than I had ever thought previously. Unthinkable issues bombarded me and opened my eyes to see how truly fortunate I have been. Some classes were difficult to get through. The topics are not light. However, in the end, I understood that while there is so much bad in the world, the good outweighs it all.
The idea of world peace is often mocked. It holds an air of unattainability. The Baha’i Chair is a fundamental driver in destroying such notion. It understands that our greatest shot at world peace is the employment of education. Exposing our future leaders, college students, to an interdisciplinary collection of academics dedicated to the greater good is a way to destroy ignorance. It is the foundation to building a generation of empathetic, strategic listeners with an agenda devoted to the formation of a more peaceful world.
I could not be more proud to be a part of the Baha’i Chair for World Peace. My bosses, Dr. Mahmoudi and Dr. Seaman, are examples of women who are fiercely strong, intelligent, and compassionate. As an intern, I am given the opportunity to continue to expand my own knowledge and the knowledge of my fellow students on the most pressing topics of our time. I am so happy to be a small step in our walk towards world peace.
About the Author:
Emily Gorey is a sophomore studying Marketing with a heavy concentration in Studio Art at the University of Maryland. She is currently the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace’s Marketing Specialist. Emily hopes to connect more of her fellow students to our events to aid in the creation of a more empathetic and aware future generation of leaders.