Western professor to discuss human rights abuses in Iran April 18

Western Today staff

Michael Karlberg, professor of communication at Western Washington University, will give a talk titled “Denial of Education as a Strategy of Oppression: Examining Human Rights Abuses in Iran” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie St., in Bellingham.

The free, public talk, an installment of the WWU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Lecture Series, is co-sponsored by the City of Bellingham.

Karlberg will discuss the Bahá’í community in Iran, which has suffered from waves of violent oppression for over 150 years. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, this oppression has intensified. Hundreds of Bahá’ís have been executed; thousands have been imprisoned; tens of thousands have lost their jobs, homes, and property. Crimes can be committed against Bahá’ís with legal impunity. Bahá’ís are systematically vilified through the media and from the pulpit. Bahá’í cemeteries and places of worship are being bull-dozed. Bahá’í children are harassed and intimidated in primary and secondary schools. And Bahá’í youth and young adults are denied access to higher education.

In the face of this oppression, the Bahá’í community has adopted a non-violent response characterized by constructive resilience. One example of this is the construction of a decentralized nation-wide system of higher education, conducted out of Bahá’í homes, offering over a dozen bachelor’s degrees in the arts and science. Recently, however, the government of Iran began imprisoning Bahá’ís for their participation in this university.

Professor Karlberg has written extensively about the Bahá’í community and its non-violent struggle for human rights in Iran. Some of the research he will be speaking about for the Dean’s lecture series comes from one of his recently published articles, “Constructive Resilience: The Bahá’í Response to Oppression,” which was published in the international journal of “Peace & Change.”

Audience questions will be welcomed. The lecture will be recorded and shown on Bellingham TV Channel 10.

For more information on this lecture, please contact Katrina Schaeffer, WWU College of Humanities and Social Sciences, (360) 650-3763, or katrina.schaeffer@wwu.edu.

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 12:36pm