As sectarian violence increases around the world, finding peaceful solutions to intergroup friction is more important than ever. Dr. Sufian Zhemukhov is studying the mechanics of conflict resolution, and his work illuminates the ways in which diverse groups can peacefully coexist.
Dr. Zhemukhov is a political scientist studying the Muslim world, whose current projects investigate the way that participation in mass religious rituals, like the Hajj, promotes intergroup tolerance. He and his research partner, Dr. Mikhail Alexseev, discovered that, while developing a strong in-group identity, pilgrims become more tolerant of other religious and social groups than they were before they performed Hajj. They concluded that conflict resolution may benefit from bringing together as many subgroups as possible within each conflicting group in settings where their common identity is affirmed in a non-discriminatory fashion. Of course, his research has implications far beyond pilgrims on the Hajj.
Dr. Zhemukhov hales from the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR) in the North Caucasus of Russia. With a Ph.D. in history from the Russian Academy of Science, he served as an associate professor and head of the Humanities Studies Department at Kabardino-Balkaria State University. His research examined Islam in the North Caucasus and the issues of the Circassian world, a region of southwest Russia where the Circassian people continue to seek recognition for a disputed genocide committed in the 19th century by tsarist Russia. His work has earned him international accolades and a Fulbright award.
Dr. Zhemukhov’s important work flourished on his IIE-SRF fellowship. After his fellowship ended, both George Washington University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County offered him positions to further his research.