Upcoming Event: Bahá’í Chair for World Peace Annual Lecture 2019

Baha’i Chair for World Peace Annual Lecture 2019

Professor Alondra Nelson

Even a Moon Shot Needs a Flight Plan: Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration

October 10, 2019

8:00PM

Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland College Park 

In May 27, 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bombing. In a speech that day at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama proclaimed that the “scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.” In this lecture, Dr. Alondra Nelson considers the “politics of ethics” that was a signature of the Obama administration’s approach to science and technology. This politics of ethics endeavored to place temporal distance between scientific research of the past and present, enabling claims about the importance of federal science to national wellbeing, broadly conceived. In particular, she will examine the roll-out of the Precision Medicine Initiative that incorporated plainspoken acknowledgement of prior discrimination in government-backed scientific research as a necessary predicate to the successful enrollment of research subjects—especially those from minority populations–into the program.

Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council and Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is an acclaimed researcher and author, who explores questions of science, technology, and social inequality. Nelson’s books include, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. She is coeditor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race and History (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee) and Technicolor: Race, Technology and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh Tu). Nelson serves on the board of directors of the Teagle Foundation and the Data & Society Research Institute. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and of the Hastings Center, and is an elected Member of the Sociological Research Association.

After the discussion, the speaker will take questions from the audience.

REGISTER TO ATTEND

You can find out more about the Bahá’í Chair by watching our video here

Welcome to Campus!

The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace is delighted to welcome all new and returning students to campus. We have a very exciting year planned and invite you to stop by our office to learn more about us and our program’s focus on advancing interdisciplinary discourse on global peace. Continue reading

Book Review: The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations

In the summer of 2018, while battling brain cancer, Arizona Senator John McCain released a book in the midst of a particularly chaotic and toxic political atmosphere. The book, The Restless Wave, serves as a powerful meditation on the future of America as an identity and an ideal; the critical need for compromise and civil discourse; and the need for the propagation of spiritual values such as humility, grace, courage, and justice both among our political leaders and the American people.

McCain’s parting advice cautions against the excesses of partisan entrenchment, righteous and arrogant discourse, and a xenophobic and exclusive definition of America. His principled guidance should be carefully considered by all Americans concerned about the unprecedented and unsettling denigration of truth, unity, civility, and community in our country. Continue reading

Welcome Back to Campus!

The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace is excited to welcome all of you back to campus for the start of the spring semester! We hope everyone is settling in and enjoying the first day of classes.

We look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming spring lecture series. All the lectures are open to the campus community and the public and are free to attend. These events bring leading thinkers to campus to examine obstacles to global peace, and solutions for overcoming those obstacles.

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Reflection: International Day of Peace 2017

“We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace.”

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General

 

Today is the International Day of Peace, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The day is focused on the TOGETHER campaign launched by the United Nations in September 2016 to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants and to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination. Continue reading

About ‘In-Depth’

“The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one’s reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child. Love, being dependent on the relative absence of narcissism, requires the development of humility, objectivity and reason.” – Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland is an endowed academic program that advances interdisciplinary examination and discourse on global peace. Viewing humanity as a collective and organic whole, the Chair’s incumbent, Professor Hoda Mahmoudi, explores the role that social actors and structures play in removing obstacles and creating paths to peace. The Chair’s explanation focuses on a number of thematic issues including, structural racism, climate change, human nature, women’s inequality, and leadership and global governance. Continue reading

About ‘Book reviews’

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ~ Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

The book reviews on the blog will feature important books related to the Chair’s research themes, both academic and non-academic texts. The reviews will focus on what the reader found inspiring, what questions the book raised and how it has influenced their approach. Continue reading

About ‘Reflections’

“Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.” ~ Confucius

The reflections on the blog will be in a number of formats. Reflections by Professor Mahmoudi will include the Chair’s thoughts and approaches to current events. Students will write reflective pieces on events they have attended, those organized by the Chair and other events across campus. Every event arranged by the Chair will be reflected upon in the blog, these reflections will highlight what the author found interesting and any questions the event made them think about. We will also feature reflections by guest authors related to the research themes of the Chair. Continue reading

About ‘Interviews’

“Everybody talks, nobody listens. Good listeners are as rare as white crows.” ~ Helen Keller, “The Beauty of Silence,” in The Home Magazine (1935)

As part of the conversations series the blog will also feature interviews with upcoming guest speakers and other notable figures. These interviews will be carried out by students who will select the interviewee, do the background research and then conduct the interview. Continue reading

About ‘Conversations’

“If one talks to more than four people, it is an audience; and one cannot really think or exchange thoughts with an audience.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient (1935)

The conversations series will feature audio recordings of discussions between the Chair and a small group of students. These conversations will focus on topics of importance and relevance and are designed to spark new ideas and approaches to challenges to world peace. Continue reading