Peace expert appointed to university chair

November 16, 2005

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND, United States — A former senior official with the United States Agency for International Development, John Grayzel, has been appointed to the Baha'i Chair for Peace at the University of Maryland in the United States.

Dr. Grayzel will succeed the inaugural holder, Suheil Bushrui, who is retiring after holding the position since 1992.

Dr. Grayzel, a member of the Baha'i Faith, holds a law degree from Stanford University and a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Oregon.

He served for 25 years in the field of international development and conflict management, tackling senior foreign service assignments for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

His work took him to Africa, India, and the Philippines, among other places. He also served in the US Peace Corps.

The Baha'i Chair for Peace is part of the University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management, which adheres to the belief that "peace building and development-with-justice are two sides of the same coin."

The Center's director, Jonathan Wilkenfeld, said that Dr. Grayzel, with his extensive background in conflict management, "will be a good fit here."

The chancellor of the University of Maryland System, William E. Kirwan, said that through the chair, the values of the Baha'i Faith resonate on campus and support the major values and activities at the university.

"This is the first ... Baha'i Chair in existence, and was one of my most important initiatives as president of the College Park campus," Dr. Kirwan said.

The mission of the Baha'i Chair for Peace, in part, is to develop alternatives to the violent resolution of conflict, promote global education and spiritual awareness, and reflect the beliefs of the Baha'i world community in building a global society.

(For a story on Professor Bushrui, see

(Reporting by Deborah Leigh Wood for "The American Baha'i".)