Mahan Mirza was appointed executive director for the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion on July 1, 2019.
An Islamic studies scholar and expert on religious literacy, Mirza brings extensive pedagogical and administrative experience to his role, including serving as dean of faculty at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, America’s first accredited Muslim liberal arts college. Immediately before his appointment to the Ansari Institute, Mirza served as the lead faculty member for Notre Dame's Madrasa Discourses project, which equips Islamic religious leaders in India and Pakistan with the tools to confidently engage with pluralism, modern science, and new philosophies.
Mirza joined Notre Dame in 2016 as professor of the practice for the Keough School’s Contending Modernities research initiative, a flagship program of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Through Contending Modernities, Mirza led the Madrasa Discourses project by teaching participants in India and Pakistan through distance learning. He also coordinated learning intensive sessions in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Qatar, including sessions that allowed for intercultural exchanges between Notre Dame students, Madrasa Discourses participants, and participants from South Africa. Additionally, Mirza directed pedagogical videos, helped develop an online Urdu journal published in India, and led an effort to launch an interactive website to make the Madrasa Discourses curriculum publicly accessible.
Mirza holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. from Hartford Seminary, and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University. He has taught courses and lectured on Arabic-Islamic studies, western religions, and the history of science, along with foundational subjects in the liberal arts, including logic, rhetoric, astronomy, ethics, and politics. He has edited two special issues of The Muslim World and served as assistant editor for the Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought.
He is a fellow with the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the Keough School and continues to serve as an advisor for Madrasa Discourses.