Inspired Commentary Offered at Bahá’í Chair International Conference

October marked the 30th anniversary of the release of The Promise of World Peace by the Universal House of Justice, a globally significant work outlining the major prerequisites for—and the obstacles working against—the establishment of world peace. In recognition of that milestone, and the urgent need to explore alternative possibilities to address the current threats that are responsible for destabilizing the international order and inflicting violence and harm on millions of people throughout the world, the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace presented an international conference, “Global Transformations: Context and Analytics for a Durable Peace.”

The conference was held October 7–9, 2015 at the University of Maryland. It was presented in collaboration with the Bahá’í International Community's United Nations Office. This conference focused on barriers to peace and also will challenge outdated norms and models of thinking. It brought together scholars and practitioners across many disciplines to address a broad and complex spectrum of obstacles in the realm of global peace and security.

Presentations addressed:

  • Security and justice in global governance
  • Structural racism
  • Women’s peace movements in rebuilding societies
  • Collective security
  •  Sectarianism and totalitarianism in the 21st century
  • Constructive responses to oppression
  • Equitable water use and protection

Speakers included:

Prudence Carter
Jacks Family Professor of Education and Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

“Equality Demands Empathy: Why Education Has to Be More Than a Private Good in an Unequal Society”

Joseph L. Graves
Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Biological Sciences
Joint School of Nanosciences and Nanoengineering, North Carolina A&T State University/UNC Greensboro

“Great is Their Sin: Biological Determinism in the Age of Genomics”

Ellen Laipson
President and CEO, Stimson Center
“Security, Justice, and Global Governance”

Morten Bergsmo
Director of the Centre for International Law Research and Policy and Visiting Professor
Peking University Law School, China

“On the UN Charter Provision on the Military Staff Committee and the Prospects of Collective Security”

Bani Dugal
Principal Representative of the Bahá’í International Community, United Nations
“Building Peaceful Societies Through Constructive Responses to Oppression”

Anne Marie Goetz
Clinical Professor, Center for Global Affairs
New York University

“Conditions for the Effectiveness of Women’s Peace Movements and Implications for Policy-Makers: Analysis of Recent Examples”

Jeffrey Herf
Distinguished University Professor of History
University of Maryland

“Nazism, Islamism and Anti-Semitism”

Joshua Mitchell
Professor of Government
Georgetown University
“Are Global Values Possible?”

Giancarlo Mazzanti
El Equipo Mazzanti, Bogotá, Colombia

“Architecture’s Action as a Mechanism for Cities Development”

William Bowerman
Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Technology
University of Maryland                                                                                                      

“The Most Precious Resource on Earth: Water”

Hoda Mahmoudi
Professor and Holder of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace
University of Maryland

“Considerations for a Better Future”

View Speaker Bios and Abstracts

In addition, the Bahá’í Chair published special edition of The Promise of World Peace with translations in 10 different languages, which will be available for purchase at the conference.

The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland is a renowned, academic program within the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. It utilizes interdisciplinary discourse to examine the way actors and institutions effect society and transform global communities. The Promise of World Peace was the inspiration for creating the endowed Chair in 1993.

Read more about the event and the discussions it inspired via #GTUMD15.

To find out more about the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace, visit

GT conference