Hundreds of UC Berkeley students took part in a social experiment – without knowing it – as part of an awareness-raising campaign for the denial of higher education to tens of thousands of young Baha’is in Iran. The Baha’is are Iran’s largest religious minority and are persecuted by the government for their beliefs. Baha’is believe in gender equality, peaceful non-violence, and education for all.
A team of Berkeley students and alumni staged a campus pop-up advertising an exchange program for students and professors with universities in Iran. People who signed up were offered free cupcakes and asked to fill out a simple form with just three questions.
- Do you believe in the equality of men and women?
- Do you believe in world peace?
- Do you believe in universal education?
People who said yes to these questions were in for a surprise.
The social experiment was designed to help students on the Berkeley campus – one of the world’s most prestigious universities – feel for a few seconds what Iranian Baha’is have been feeling for almost 40 years.
Young Baha’is are barred from teaching and studying at Iranian universities. But education can never be a crime.