Elizabeth Ruqaiyyah Rowe Lee-Hood is a PhD candidate in the study of religion at Harvard University and founding research associate for Religions and the Practice of Peace (RPP) at Harvard Divinity School, a hub for cross-disciplinary engagement, scholarship, and practice focusing on how individuals and communities around the world, past and present, have drawn on religious and spiritual resources to foster positive relationships, well-being, justice, and peace across differences. She assists Dean David N. Hempton in convening the monthly public RPP Colloquium, which provides a space for conversation among students, scholars, practitioners, community members, and religious peacebuilders. She is co-instructor for RPP's two cross-disciplinary courses, including its program on Transformative Leadership and Spiritual Development.
Liz Ruqaiyyah has been a community mediator and coach for the Harvard Mediation Program at Harvard Law School and other Boston-area mediation organizations, co-designing and delivering the Harvard Mediation Program’s first mediation training tailored for Divinity School students. Formerly an intern at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, she has worked in civil rights law and corporate equal opportunity; communication, conflict management, and intercultural skills coaching for international scholars and professionals; and culturally-sensitive hospital and end-of-life care.
Born and raised in greater Boston, Massachusetts, Liz Ruqaiyyah is the granddaughter of immigrants from Canton in southern China and the descendant of Anglo-Irish from the American South. She has lived and studied in France, China, and Morocco, traveled to India, and pilgrimaged to Mecca and Medina. She has attended retreats with Buddhist monk and peace leader Thich Nhat Hanh and with Jewish and Muslim emerging women leaders and was an international delegate to the First World Sufi Forum in New Delhi, India. Her doctoral research focuses on Islamic devotional life, early and classical literature, spiritual ethics, and spiritual psychology. Her dissertation on daily salat prayer explores Islamic teachings on the relationship between spiritual-ethical formation and intimacy with the Divine. Alongside sacred scriptures, her favorite book is The Golden Words of a Sufi Sheikh (Philadelphia, PA: Fellowship Press, 1981, 2006) by contemporary sage Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, as it offers an ocean of insights for living at peace with the Divine, with oneself, and with the human family. She is fascinated by traditional practices and pedagogies of wisdom, virtue cultivation, and cosmopolitanism in world religions and their remarkable contributions to humanity’s persistent endeavors to achieve a more compassionate and harmonious world.