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United States: Mayor declares ‘World Peace Week’ in honor of Baha’i Chair anniversary

ATHENS, Georgia, United States — Mayor Kelly Girtz of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, has declared 10 to 14 April 2023 as “World Peace Week” in honor of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland.

Mayor of Athens, Georgia, declares World Peace Week in honor of the Bahá'í Chair for World Peace's 30th anniversary, highlighting unity, justice, and human solidarity.
Mayor of Athens, Georgia, declares World Peace Week in honor of the Bahá'í Chair for World Peace's 30th anniversary, highlighting unity, justice, and human solidarity.

Mayor Girtz signed a proclamation emphasizing the importance of working together to overcome the challenges faced by society, including religious fanaticism, gender inequality, racism, and inadequate access to education.


He urged all residents “to work for the realization of the principles of peace, justice, and human solidarity promoted by Bahá’u’lláh.” The proclamation further states that “the wide gap between these ideals and the state of the world calls for the people of all faiths and no faith to rise above narrow partisanship and work together for human understanding and peace.”


The proclamation was issued during Hoda Mahmoudi’s visit to Athens, where she was invited as the holder of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace to commemorate the Chair’s 30th anniversary.

Left to right: Llewellyn Cornelius, Director of Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights at the University of Georgia (UGA); Hoda Mahmoudi, holder of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland; Philip Hong, Dean of Social Work at the UGA.
Left to right: Llewellyn Cornelius, Director of Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights at the University of Georgia (UGA); Hoda Mahmoudi, holder of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland; Philip Hong, Dean of Social Work at the UGA.

During her four-day visit, Dr. Mahmoudi delivered a series of thought-provoking lectures to the students and faculty of the University of Georgia (UGA) and met with members of the Interfaith Clergy Partnership of Greater Athens throughout the week.


Philip Hong, the Dean of the College of Social Work at the UGA, expressed his appreciation for the lectures. “Dr. Mahmoudi’s visit was a breath of fresh air. She brought her spirit of peace and compassion to our students, faculty, and staff in the School of Social Work.”


He added that her emphasis on dialogue and the principle of oneness invited lecture participants to consider innovative means for promoting “unifying peace and justice by advocating for human rights and wellbeing together as a common human race rather than fighting a zero-sum game where one group has to win over another.”

Hoda Mahmoudi (left) at an event at the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, joined by Carolyn Medina (right), Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Institute of African American Studies at the UGA Religion Departments.
Hoda Mahmoudi (left) at an event at the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, joined by Carolyn Medina (right), Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Institute of African American Studies at the UGA Religion Departments.

Reflecting on the week’s events, Dr. Mahmoudi states: “The highlight of my visit was the conversations and interactions with the students. The students are eager to speak about the challenges that humanity faces today.”


Her lectures covered a wide range of topics related to the Chair’s central themes: structural racism and the root causes of prejudice; human nature; empowerment of women and peace; global governance and leadership; and overcoming challenges in the globalization of the environment.


Dr. Mahmoudi also expressed gratitude to the Bahá’í Student Association on the UGA campus and the Bahá’ís of Athens for organizing her visit.

Hoda Mahmoudi’s lectures were simultaneously broadcast to several classrooms. The lectures were also recorded to be presented to future students at the School of Social Work.
Hoda Mahmoudi’s lectures were simultaneously broadcast to several classrooms. The lectures were also recorded to be presented to future students at the School of Social Work.

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