Ebadi talks cultural acceptance at PeaceJam public talk

To rectify the problems we face today, we need to begin to accept and know about our cultures, religions, and different persons. 

Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi proposed this plan of action during her public talk on Friday at Florida State University’s Turnbull Conference Center to a full audience of students, staff, and fans. The public talk kicks off the weekend-long PeaceJam conference, where Ebadi will address and spend time with students from across the Southeast. 

Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi addresses the crowd on March 24 at PeaceJam Southeast's annual public talk.  Photo: Fabuola Pierre

“Value all cultural diversity,” Ebadi said as she began to break down the two main issues within the world today. One is the problem of blaming the wrongdoings of people on an entire culture instead of on the wrongdoer themselves, she said. The other is the misunderstanding of people’s different interpretations of a religion, particularly her own religion of Islam, and making a general assumption based off of that alone.

Ebadi made history when she became the first female judge in her home country of Iran in the late 1960s. 

In the wake of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, all female judges, including Ebadi, were removed from their jobs and assigned clerical work instead. Because of this, Ebadi proceeded to get a lawyer’s license, and went on to become one of the most well-known lawyers in Iran as she fought for human rights.

In 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts for peace and women’s rights in Iran and throughout the Middle East. Because of escalating threats from the Iranian government, though, Edabi has lived in exile in the United Kingdom since June 2009.

Referencing her history to give context to her insight, Ebadi broke down each of the flaws within society today. 

“We never talk about the violence that happens in Kosovo as a Christian guilt,” she said as one of many rebuttals to why all Muslims are blamed if only a certain number engage in mischief. 

Ebadi is high on accountability and looking within one’s self to enact the change we seek in the world.

“Before the wall is built in between our hearts,” she said, “let’s destroy it.”


— Fabuola Pierre