The Baha’i Chair — founded in 1993 through the inspiration of the Universal House of Justice’s statement The Promise of World Peace — is an endowed academic program dedicated to advancing interdisciplinary study of, and discourse on, major issues of global peace.
The first two Baha’i Chair incumbents were Suheil Bushrui (1993-2006) and John Grayzel (2006-2011).
In an official message to the University of Maryland community, John Townshend — dean of the college — praised Mahmoudi as “a proven leader dedicated to scholarship and research and a distinguished member of the Baha’i community.”
For her part, Mahmoudi said that she looks “forward to building on the strong international reputation of the Baha’i Chair, while also moving it in new directions.”
“The Chair’s affiliation with an outstanding flagship university,” she continued, “combined with its location in close proximity to the nation’s capital, places it in an excellent position to influence both scholarly and policy discussions.”
Following a period of deliberation and reflection, Mahmoudi will announce a new program of research as well as at least one new undergraduate course offering.
Prior to assuming the professorship in July 2012, Mahmoudi was head of the Research Department at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel, where she served since 2001.
Previously, Mahmoudi was dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois. At that institution she was a member of the Department of Sociology faculty.
Before that she served as a vice president and dean of Olivet College, where she was instrumental in the institutional transformation that brought national recognition to Olivet.
Mahmoudi holds a Ph.D. in Sociology, an M.A. in Educational Psychology, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Utah.
Mahmoudi’s research interests have included comparative civilizations, social change, modernity and gender equality. In her published works she has engaged Baha’i topics and themes in the context of established scholarly methodologies and debates.
Her publications include: “Obligation and Responsibility in Constructing a World Civilization” (in The Bahá’í World, 2002-2003); “Altruism and Extensivity in the Baha’i Religion” (in Embracing the Other: Philosophical, Psychological and Historical Perspectives on Altruism, eds. Samuel and Pearl Oliner); and “The Permanence of Change: Contemporary Sociological and Baha’i Perspectives on Modernity” and “Resilience in Children: Within a Spiritual, Social and Neurobiological Framework” (both in The Journal of Baha’i Studies).
Read a brief biography of Dr. Hoda Mahmoudi