“Us and them” – Prejudice and Peace – Dr. Tiffani Betts Razavi

History furnishes no shortage of examples of the suffering of one group of people at the hands of another, even as news headlines daily document ongoing conflict and oppression. Some stories are well known, others obscure or lost, and none are as well understood as they need to be to overcome the barrier posed by the “us and them” attitude that is at their root. Continue reading

Still far from equal: reflections on Women’s inequality in America – Dr. Nasim Ahmadiyeh M.D., Ph.D

She was only five, but she spoke in a metered and matter-of-fact tone, stating plainly that she no longer wanted to play with boys because she had observed that boys on the playground were rough and used harsh words and tone. Bias or astute observation? By age six, she shared that it appeared that girls were valued less than boys by society, and by age seven she proclaims she would like to move to a country with a female leader because she feels life during a pandemic would be better there, as women make better leaders.  You might think my daughter was fed these thoughts, that I sit to brainwash my child, or get into lengthy political commentary with her – but I don’t – I truly don’t, although I have lied to her on one occasion, but more on that later.  The scientist in me was fascinated that to a young child growing up in the Midwestern United States, gendered stereotypes and the implications of gender inequalities were already clear and causing concern. Continue reading

Centered Around a Common Purpose – Dr. Nasim Ahmadiyeh M.D., Ph.D

This is a reflection written by Dr. Nasim Ahmadiyeh M.D., Ph.D for the new series from The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace on Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

There is no cure for one infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus which can cause the disease commonly known as COVID-19.  All we can do is wait it out, support the body and hope the immune system can fight the virus and survive its scourge. Ironically, or perhaps poetically, what is needed to fight the virus in one body, can lend insight into what is needed to fight the virus globally.

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Learning from the Current Crisis – Professor Peter N. Stearns

This is a reflection written by Professor Peter N. Stearns for the new series from The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace on Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The suffering and dislocation caused by the recent pandemic legitimately provoke all sorts of thoughts, including many constructive suggestions about how we can build on short term response to construct a better society and, more specifically, seek to prepare better for similar crises in the future. I certainly hope some good can indeed emerge.  Continue reading

Learning During The Covid-19 Pandemic: A Reflection Series From The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace

Once again, we find ourselves in a crisis that is global in nature.

The Coronavirus outbreak is the great tragedy of our era. The pandemic has disrupted virtually every aspect of the systems that hold up our global and local society. Sadly, we do not seem to have in place what could help us to overcome this crisis. Continue reading

The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace hosts successful virtual conference Global Climate Crisis: Seeking Solutions


The world was a different place a number of months ago when the Baha’i Chair began the process of organizing our recent virtual conference. Long before the advent of the Covid-19, we planned to offer our conference virtually – the better to highlight the global, diffuse nature of environmental challenges. Sadly, these same challenges are paralleled in our coronavirus crisis – offering both hope for what we can accomplish and warnings of our essential unpreparedness. Continue reading

Book Review: A Nation of Immigrants

This is a book review of “A Nation of Immigrants” by John F. Kennedy. The review was written by Sharath Patil. 

These States are the amplest poem,

Here is not merely a nation but

A teeming Nation of nations.”

                             -Walt Whitman[1]

In 2018, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), re-published a classic by his great-uncle, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy: A Nation of Immigrants. Although the book has been widely celebrated for decades, Joe Kennedy intended to demonstrate the relevance of JFK’s principles and values to debates around immigration policy today. As the first Roman Catholic U.S. president, Kennedy’s election was a critical milestone in this nation’s path to becoming a more inclusive country. Throughout his presidency, Kennedy did not forget his own immigrant roots nor that of most Americans. Irish by heritage, Kennedy wrote with great respect for the suffering that so many Irish immigrants to the United States endured – particularly during the Irish potato famine and under British rule.

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Insight – Black Girl Labor as Magic: Toward an Understanding of Digital Black Feminism

This is an insight written by Jack Schurman on the recent Bahá’í Chair for World Peace lecture by Dr. Catherine Knight Steele, Black Girl Labor as Magic: Toward an Understanding of Digital Black Feminism, co-sponsored with The Critical Race Initiative, the College of Arts and Humanities, and the College of Behavioral and Social Science on March 12, 2019.  Continue reading

Insight – Black Girl Labor as Magic: Toward an Understanding of Digital Black Feminism

This is an insight written by Angela Yang on the recent Bahá’í Chair for World Peace lecture by Dr. Catherine Knight Steele, Black Girl Labor as Magic: Toward an Understanding of Digital Black Feminism, co-sponsored with The Critical Race Initiative, the College of Arts and Humanities, and the College of Behavioral and Social Science on March 12, 2019. 

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Belonging and its Implications for Diversity and Inclusion

This is a transcript of a talk given by Professor Hoda Mahmoudi at the opening of the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Retreat on Belonging: Connections and Challenges. The retreat was hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Maryland on January 24, 2019 in the Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union.  Continue reading

Insight: Is the Cost of Globalization the Extinction of Ancestral Identities?

This is an insight written by Esther Kaufman on the recent 1oth UN Session of the Forum on Minorities. 

Is the cost of globalization the extinction of ancestral identities? 

The UN held the 10th session of the Forum on Minorities from the 28th of November to the 1st of December 2017. This conference welcomed organizations from across the world to speak as representatives of their respective minority nations, and to air their concerns to the International community. Continue reading

Insights: Muslims and the Holocaust: Reconciliation and Hope

This is an insight written by Margo Shear on a lecture given by Dr. Mehnaz Afridi as part of the Bahá’í Chair series on human nature. 

Perspective on History 

The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace recently hosted Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College. The subject of her lecture, “Muslims and the Holocaust: Reconciliation and Hope,” drew interest from guests in the hopes of exploring a dark part of history – from a different perspective. Continue reading

Insights: The First Political Order

The First Political Order: Sex, Governance and National Security

The turn-out to the Baha’i Chair of World Peace’s First Annual Lecture on Thursday, September 21st was impressive. The audience included University of Maryland students, teachers and deans, as well as amazing visitors from all over the world. There could not have been a better topic addressed in the presence of some of the most significant minds involved with the promotion of international peace.

Professor Hoda Mahmoudi and Professor Valerie Hudson at the Annual Lecture, September 21st 2017.


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Reflection: Do Ethics have a Place in Capitalism?

Do Ethics have a Place in Capitalism?

Is capitalism the best ideology for society? As the income gap between the rich and poor grows nationally and global inequality persists, it would be beneficial to reflect on what values drive the system.

Both critiques and advocates of the capitalist system—an economic model driven by the free market and operates outside of state control— rely on the field of economics to shape their arguments. This field of study has always played an important role in understanding human behavior and specifically the interaction between humans and their society. Continue reading

Insights: Non-violence as an effective strategy?

This is an insight written by Esther Kaufman on the lecture given by Professor Kathleen Cunningham as part of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace series on Leadership and Global Governance. 

Non-violence as an influential strategy?

Professor Kathleen Gallagher’s lecture on self-determination of nationalistic organizations offers insightful and relevant evidence on moving towards a peaceful society. Groups seeking self-determination have been known to have high internal fragmentation that is associated with the use of violence in pursuit of political recognition. Continue reading

Reflection: The Poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere?

Reflection: “The Poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere”

Proud Beginnings

In many ways, the new world’s first free country was not the United States, where much of the population was enslaved. The first free country was Haiti, roughly the size of Maryland and located in the Caribbean, at its peak Haiti was the most prosperous colony in the world which enabled France, and other Western nations, to acquire wealth at the expense of its own development. Continue reading

Insights: Searching for the Impossible

This is a reflection written by Esther Kaufman on the lecture given by Dr. Nicole des Bouvrie on the 30th of November 2016.  

Why We Should Search for the Impossible

What if the question, “Can Women Think?” is not an absurd question? Dr. des Bouvrie began her lecture by introducing historic western philosophers whose ideas have established the foundation of Western thinking. From ancient times, white male philosophers have built identities based on differences. Following their philosophies women cannot think, or at least, not as men do. Continue reading

Reflection: Solving Racism Through Dialogue

The Problem of Prejudice 

Once again the stubborn scourge of racial prejudice and structural racism is tearing apart the American society. For almost four-hundred years since slavery was first introduced to the American continent, the pseudo-scientific doctrine of racial superiority, and the structural arrangements that promote the systematic support of racism, continue to persist. Continue reading

Insights: The Power of Patience

This is an insight written by Esther Kaufman on the lecture given by Mrs. May Rihani as part of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace series on Women and Peace. 

The Impact of Examples

Mrs. May Rihani’s lecture, “Sexism, Gender Roles and Their Intersection with Power”, shed light on the broad range of issues surrounding sexism and gender bias around the world. Continue reading

Interview: Dr. Rashawn Ray on Why Police Compliance Does Not Save Black Lives

Interview with Dr. Rashawn Ray, interview conducted by Brandie Reeder Williams.

Dr. Ray will be giving a lecture on the 25th of October in Hoff Theatre, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland. To find out more and to RSVP visit the website of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace.

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Values and Moral Principles – Our Road to Peace

Rather than make assumptions about other people that are not based on facts, try to get out of your comfort zone and try to talk to people you would not normally talk to. ~ Professor Hoda Mahmoudi.

Professor Hoda Mahmoudi discusses the Baha’i Chair’s views on peace in this video by the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, University of Maryland.

Reflection: International Day for Peace 2016

When you ask most people about world peace, they tell you that peace is among the most important matters on their mind and that we should all be concerned about it. But longing for peace is only the first step on the path toward making the world a better place for all people.

If we really wish to work toward achieving world peace we will first have to start with expanding our worldview about what peace requires from individuals, communities, and leaders of nations.

If we really desire a better more peaceful world, then we can start by accepting the fact that there are many barriers to peace. Through our actions every person has the power remove the road blocks to peace. 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 ‘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