MANAMA, Bahrain — The road to peace is long and arduous, but the journey is not in vain. This was among the main messages offered by Dr. Sawsan El-Hady in talks she delivered on 8 and 9 December, in Bahrain.
An Egyptian scholar of the Arabic language who has championed the cause of peace throughout her life, Dr. El-Hady addressed some 100 people—academics, authors, NGO representatives—over the two days of her visit. Her talks, which led to vibrant discussions among the participants, explored the cultivation of peace at the grassroots, the role of the individual in promoting a harmonious society, and the invaluable contribution of women to peace processes, among other themes.
While acknowledging the formidable challenges before humanity, Dr. El-Hady’s talks offered a hopeful vision for the future. But much, she argued, would depend on laying the groundwork for harmonious coexistence among diverse populations.
“Creating a society characterized by peaceful coexistence requires persistent effort,” she said.
Progress toward peace, she explained, would not reach its goal without addressing the question of justice in society.
She also spoke about the importance of establishing unity, based on recognition of our common humanity.
“Unity, a pre-requisite for peace, finds its meaning in realizing the value of our diversity and appreciating the unique gifts that each person brings to the mosaic of humanity.”
A movement towards a more peaceful society requires a reevaluation of the role of religion, Dr. El-Hady further explained. While religion has been distorted and used for harmful ends, she emphasized its power to change patterns of thought and action, establish a sense of a common human identity, and promote a moral character and world-embracing vision.
Dr. El-Hady, a Baha’i, is one of the first female graduates of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, an institution renowned for being the oldest university in Egypt and regarded by many as the chief center of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world. Dr. El-Hady has helped establish Arabic programs at universities in several countries during her distinguished career. Her lectures were organized in cooperation with the Bahrain Baha’i Society, a Baha’i-inspired NGO that promotes social harmony and peace.
The events build on a growing discourse in Bahrain on peaceful coexistence