The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace is pleased to announce the upcoming fall 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.
The series begins with the annual lecture on September 21st with Dr. Valerie Hudson, Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair in the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. Professor Hudson will be examining how the development of male-female relations in society affects nation-state level phenomena, including food security, health, economic prosperity, demography, governance, and intra- and inter-state conflict. Dr. Hudson, along with three colleagues, has created the largest extant database on the status of women in the world today. This database has been used to demonstrate the “strong and highly significant link between state security and women’s security. In fact, the very best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is not its level of wealth, its level of democracy, or its ethno-religious identity; the best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is how well its women are treated. What’s more, democracies with higher levels of violence against women are as insecure and unstable as non-democracies.” (Hudson, 2012)
On September 26th Dr. Nicole Hirschfelder, Associate Professor for American Culture and Literature Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen, Germany will discuss the language and terminology used in relation to refugees, specifically the term “refugee crisis” and the underlying, problematic implications of the use of this terminology. Dr. Hirschfelder will also address how Germany’s past informs attitudes towards the current situation, and why this frequently makes dialogue between opposing camps difficult.
The Structural Racism and Roots Causes of Prejudice lecture series will continue on October 10th, with an important lecture by Dr. Sheri Parks, former associate dean for research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming for the College or Arts and Humanities, an associate professor of American studies, and the first director of the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy at the University of Maryland (UMD) at College Park. In this lecture Dr. Parks will explore the Western cultural conceptualization of darkness, as exhibited in old and new mythologies, and how it has created a foundation and rationale for racial marginalization of people described as “dark.”
The series will conclude on October 24th, with a lecture by Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College. In her lecture Dr. Afridi will examine the portrayal of Jewish, Christian and Muslim relations and the ways in which the many positive and lost stories of reconciliation, rescue, and religious roots have been buried by extremist agendas and media. Dr. Afridi will also discuss how the Holocaust is connected to Muslims and why this connection is significant in creating a bridge of understanding between Jews and Muslims.