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Abdu'l Baha at Stanford: A Centennial Conference

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Abdu'l Baha on Stanford campus

Sunday, June 4, 2023
8:30am to 12:30pm PT

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Li Ka Shing Center
291 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305
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Ticket required. Free and open to the public.

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Event Details:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: A free ticket is required but does not guarantee a seat. Seating is first come, first serve. Doors will open at 8:10 AM. Event will be in English.

In 1912, Abdu’l Baha, son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith and its leader from 1892 to 1921, became one of the first Iranians to visit Stanford University and address the entire student body and faculty. A little more than a century later, this conference will revisit and analyze the important event at Stanford.

Dominic Brookshaw, Abbas Milani, Negar Mottahedeh, Robert Stockman, Shane Tedjarati, Richard Thomas, and Mina Yazdani will discuss topics including Abdu’l Baha’s views on women's education, anti-racism, peace, modernity, the place of science in social discourse, and the need to engage with universities (some of which were addressed in his talk at Stanford).


8:10: Conference check in and light refreshments

8:30: Welcome Remarks: Dr. Abbas Milani

8:40: The Baha’i Archives at Stanford: Dr. C. Ryan Perkins

8:50: "Abdu'l Baha’s Journey Across America" by Hamid Mozaffari 

9:00-10:45: PANEL I

  • Shane Tedjarati, Abbas Milani: “Abdu’l Baha at Stanford: An Archival Inquiry

  • Negar Mottahedeh: “Abdu'l Baha's Journey West: The Course of Human Solidarity”

  • Robert H. Stockman: “Abdu’l Baha and Universities in the US and Europe”

  • Moderated discussion and audience Q&A

Moderator: Dr. Natalie Jean Marine-Street

10:45: Break & light refreshments

11:00-12:45 PANEL II

  • Mina Yazdani: “Reflections on “Abdu’l-Baha’s Views on Reform in Persia”

  • Dominic Parviz Brookshaw: “To Train Mothers and to Promote Eloquence: Abdu’l-Baha and the Education of Women and Girls in Iran”

  • Richard W. Thomas: “Abdu’l Baha: Pioneer in Anti-racism, Racial Unity, and Cultural Diversity” (via Zoom) 

  • Moderated discussion and audience Q&A

Moderator: Dr. Kioumars Ghereghlou

12:45: Conference concludes

If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at  Requests should be made by May 24, 2023.



Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Professor of Persian Literature and Iranian Culture at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College. Before arriving at Oxford, he was Assistant Professor of Persian and Comparative Literature at Stanford University from 2011 to 2013. He has published widely on premodern and modern Persian literature and his articles have appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Iranian Studies, Middle Eastern Literatures, and IRAN: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies. His most recent book, Hafiz and His Contemporaries: Poetry, Performance, and Patronage in Fourteenth-century Iran (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), won the Saidi-Sirjani Book Award in 2020.

Abbas Milani is the director of the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. His expertise is U.S.-Iran relations as well as Iranian cultural, political, and security issues. Milani is the author of numerous books in Persian and English including Modernity and Its Foes in IranLost Wisdom: Rethinking Persian Modernity in IranTales of Two Cities: A Persian MemoirThe Shah; Culture and Politics in Contemporary Iran (co-edited with Larry Diamond); Saadi and Humanism (co-authored with Maryam Mirzadeh); and most recently volume one of 30 Portraits. Dr. Milani edited and wrote the introduction for A Window into Modern Iran: The Ardeshir Zahedi Papers at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and edited and translated An Encounter with Dylan Thomas by Ebrahim Golestan.

Negar Mottahedeh is a cultural critic and theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film and Media Studies. She holds multiple appointments at Duke University in the Departments of Literature, Art, Art History and Visual Studies and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies. She has published five books on Iranian Cinema, the history of reform, revolution, including an edited volume on Abdu'l-Baha's journey to the West. Her most recent book, Whisper Tapes: Kate Millett in Iran (Stanford UP, 2019) draws on audio cassettes recorded by the American feminist Kate Millett to recover the lost history of the women’s protests that followed on the heels of Ayatollah Khomeini’s ascent to power as the leader of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Robert H. Stockman obtained his Master's degree and doctorate in Religious Studies from Harvard University, where he specialized in history of religion in the United States. He is the author of The Bahá'í Faith in America, volumes 1 and 2, which cover Bahá'í events in the United States from 1892 to 1900 and 1901 to 1912 respectively; Thornton Chase: The First American Bahá'í; `Abdu'l-Bahá in America, a volume that reviews `Abdu'l-Bahá’s 8-month journey across North America; The Bahá'í Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed, which is an introductory text; a book about the Bahá'í Faith and nonviolence; and various articles on Bahá'í history and theology. He also edited The World of the Bahá'í Faith, a 51-chapter survey of the Faith published by Routledge. He was the Director of the Wilmette Institute 2000-2022 where he is currently Dean of Bahá'í History and Texts, and has served on the boards of World Order magazine and the Bahá'í encyclopedia project. He is an instructor of religious studies at Indiana University South Bend.

Shane Tedjarati is the founder, chairman and CEO of the Tribridge Group. He is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and the co-founder of its Middle East Leadership Initiative and China Fellowship Program. He is a member of the advisory board of Antai College of Economics and Management and the industry co-chair of China Leaders for Global Operations of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Mr. Tedjarati studied mathematics and computer science at McGill University, Canada; earned an MBA at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom and completed the Executive Program in e-Commerce at the Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Richard W. Thomas is Professor Emeritus of History at Michigan State University. For four decades he taught race-related courses and lectured and conducted workshops on race relations in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Fiji, Australia, South Africa, and Israel. He is author and co-author of several books on race relations, the Baha’i Faith and the African American experience. His most recently co-authored book is Anchor of Faith: The Enduring Spirit of the Black Men’s Gathering.

Mina Yazdani is Professor of History at Eastern Kentucky University. She holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She has authored a book on the social reality of Persia during the Qajar period as reflected in the Baha’i writings, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her research focuses on the intersection of religion and politics in Persia/Iran from the nineteenth century onwards, with emphasis on the country’s Baha’i community.


Dr. Kioumars Ghereghlou is the Curator for Middle East collections at Stanford’s Green Library. He oversees the planning, development, processing, acquisition, management, and public service of collections on all aspects of Middle East Studies.  Dr. Ghereghlou selects and acquires a wide range of resources, including traditional scholarly publications (print and digital), special collections and archival materials, and materials published via emerging forms of scholarly communication, in order to support the research and teaching needs of scholars working on Iran, Turkey, and all Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa. He provides advanced reference support and teaches courses.

Dr. Natalie Marine-Street, a specialist in the history of business and institutions, gender history, oral history, and the history of Stanford University, directs the Stanford Oral History Program for the Stanford Historical Society. The program documents the history of a major research university through interviews with faculty, staff, and alumni; conducts theme-based projects on topics ranging from the experiences of the university’s pioneering women faculty members to the history of Stanford’s athletics program; and serves as an oral history education and training resource to the university community. She received her PhD in History from Stanford University, her MA from San Francisco State University, and her BA in History and American Studies from American University.