About the Khatib Program in Religion & Dialogue

We are honored to announce the establishment of The Khatib Program in Religion & Dialogue (KPRD) at
the University of Mary Washington in 2019. Over a decade ago, Dr. Mehdi Aminrazavi, Professor of
Religion, first met Dr. Reza Khatib and his wife, Georgianna Khatib, through mutual friends in New
York. Dr. Khatib has practiced neurosurgery in New York and Florida. He graduated from Tehran
University’s Medical School in 1956 before coming to the U.S. to specialize in neurosurgery.
Dr. Khatib and his wife are well known for their philanthropic work in science, medicine, and
brain-related diseases, but the tragedy of 9/11 opened up an area of concern. Dr. and Mrs. Khatib were in
New York on 9/11 and witnessed the horrors and destruction caused by hate and religious fanaticism.
They looked at each other and said, “We need to do something about it!” The Khatibs set aside one
million dollars to devote to promoting interreligious dialogue. The Khatibs observed that through mutual
understanding and respect for each other’s religions, tolerance and peaceful coexistence is possible. The
Khatibs encourage endeavors that aim to expose and introduce the scholarly and academic versions of
religions taught by well-respected academics to offset the hateful agendas of those who commit violence
in the name of world religions.
Other institutions of higher education have been past beneficiaries; the University of Mary Washington
has become the hopefully permanent home of The Khatib Program in Religion & Dialogue. Throughout
the last year, following numerous meetings at UMW and in New York, an ambitious program was put
together, and we hope that it is able to accomplish such a necessary task of promoting interreligious
dialogue.