Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Conflict Resolution

First Advisor

Karen Ross

Second Advisor

Darren Kew

Third Advisor

Michael Karlberg


As the largest religious minority in Iran, Baha’is have been going through persecution since the very start of the religion in 1863. This thesis explores the experience of Baha’is in Iran, focusing on how they respond to persecution, and make meaning of their identity and response approach. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted among Baha’is living in exiles in the U.S. Their narratives were analyzed for recurring themes. Consistent with the Baha’i approach to conflict resolution, constructive resilience, the Baha’is have remained non-confrontational/non-oppositional and resilient in response to the persecution, and have acted in constructive manners. Results also showed that in contrast to the wide-range of persecutions that Baha’is receive from the government, the general public is perceived to hold positive attitudes toward the Baha’is. Baha’i participants attributed this positive attitude from the public to the manner in which the Baha’i community has conducted themselves in response to persecution, which mitigated the suffering that the Bahá’is went through and helped them make meaning of constructive resilience as an approach to oppression.


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