Mohammad Ja`far Mahallati
Mohammad Mahallati is a presidential scholar in Islamic studies at Oberlin College. Since 2007, he has taught courses on Islam, religion and politics in the modern Middle East, the Quran, and other related subjects.
From 2005 to 2006, Mahallati was the recipient of the Harvard fellowship for Persian studies. Since 1991, he has given lectures and seminars related to various aspects of the Muslim world at Columbia, Princeton, Yale, and Georgetown. As Iranís ambassador to the United Nations during the peak of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, he went beyond his official mandate and successfully strove for bringing peace between the two countries. Mahallati also served as a senior scholar and affiliate with several think tanks, including the Middle East Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Affairs, Search for Common Ground, and others.
His current research involves the ethics of friendship in Muslim cultures and examines cultural and traditional factors that could be utilized in modern international relations. Mahallatiís immersion in classical and modern academics, as well as his diplomatic experience, has allowed him to understand modern Muslin life and those factors that are crucial to development of the Islamic civilization. In 2010, he initiated a friendship day festival at Oberlin, which he plans to continue as a college-wide, and then nation-wide, celebration every year.
A Conference on World Affairs participant since 2004, Mahallati has a PhD in Islamic studies from McGill University, and has studied economics, civil engineering, and international relations. He is interested in Islamic arts and literature, specifically Sufi poetry.