In this TEDx talk called “Education is not a crime” by Laura Hemmati, Laura talks about the Education is Not a Crime campaign which aims to put a stop to the continued denial of eduction for Baha’is in Iran. She also shares the creation of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), which was established in 1987 as an informal university to give young Baha’is a chance to learn, and which is the subject of the film To Light a Candle, produced by the Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Maziar Bahari.
The Baha’is are Iran’s largest religious minority. More than 200 Baha’is were executed between 1979 and 1987, after the Islamic revolution, and over 100 Baha’is are currently imprisoned because of their faith. The community was also periodically persecuted in the decades before the revolution. Baha’is today are still routinely harassed, denied livelihoods, arrested, and jailed on false charges.
Laura is a political speechwriter and motivational speaker. Originally from Scotland, Laura works in Brussels. She was recognized for her work on female leadership by U.S. President Barack Obama last year and believes universal education is a vital prerequisite for full participation in every society.