Baha’i employees at Intel learning to take part in diversity conversations

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January 18, 2019
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“Every choice a Baha’i makes — as employee or employer, producer or consumer, borrower or lender, benefactor or beneficiary — leaves a trace.” 
— Universal House of Justice, global governing council for the Baha’i Faith

Baha’is working for Intel Corp. have gained a seat at the table for events aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion. Next step is to learn how to be effective participants in those discussions.

May Mowzoon prepares for a recent Intel Corp. diversity fair to start. Photo courtesy of May Mowzoon

The effort to contribute a Baha’i perspective began after May Mowzoon, a Baha’i in Chandler, Arizona, wandered through an Intel diversity fair in 2017 and felt something was missing.

“I smelled Indian spices from the Indian Culture booth, saw thoughtful tips on parenting at the Parents at Intel booth, and heard drumming at the Native American booth,” she recalls.

“But … where were the Baha’is?” She felt it was only natural that Baha’is contribute to such an event. “Surely there were enough Baha’is among the 100,000 Intel employees to support a booth at an event that was so clearly in the Baha’i psyche.”

Mowzoon inquired and was told that to have a booth, there had to first be a Baha’i Employee Resource Group (ERG).

Easier said than done, as it turns out. Organizers had to define the group’s mission and recruit 20 members from Intel facilities worldwide. The Baha’is also had to clarify that the Faith is an independent world religion.

In the end, the group was approved — in time for the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, Prophet-Founder of the Faith in October 2017. “We thought it poetic to have the ERG’s inception 200 years after the beginning of it all,” says Mowzoon.

Its mission: “Be a catalyst for a cohesive global workforce that cherishes diversity and is skilled in consultation, cooperation, critical thinking, and community building through mutual trust and respect; celebrate peace and oneness of all religions; and provide a framework for service to the community at large.”

Now the Baha’is are included in Intel conferences and discussions about diversity and are beginning to learn how to use their newfound voice to bring Baha’i principles on diversity, justice and equality into those conversations.

Mowzoon has discovered that “for the most part the audience doesn’t know that the individual is specifically from the Baha’i ERG but a leader of ‘an ERG.’ So, I’m not sure if they associate the input as a Baha’i view.”

But Baha’is gained greater visibility through the latest local Intel diversity fair.

“We had a booth with hundreds of pamphlets and documents that got swept away by the 1,000 fair attendees,” says Mowzoon. Many expressed the Baha’i principles that underlie the Faith’s beliefs in race unity, equality of women and men, and unity in diversity. 

“This is only the beginning of the ERG. We have a lot of potential. Inside Intel now, we will leave a trace.”

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