Mehnaz Afridi, Ph.D., to Receive Costello Excellence in Teaching Award

Afridi is a widely recognized interfaith scholar and dynamic classroom presence.

Headshot of Mehnaz AfridiMehnaz Afridi, Ph.D., director of Manhattan College’s Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith (HGI) Education Center and associate professor of religious studies, will receive the annual Costello Excellence in Teaching Award this fall.

Afridi teaches contemporary Islam and the Holocaust, with a look at contemporary issues of religious identity like gender, race and class. Within the local community, she is widely recognized as a unifying figure – a Muslim woman teaching about the Holocaust at a Catholic college. Afridi has also made several appearances in national and international media and education panels, discussing her interfaith efforts and tying her work to current events.

This summer, she is also partnering with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom for a women's only Jewish-Muslim trip to Auschwitz. Afridi is the first Muslim woman to lead a trip of that type that includes only women.

This fall, the HGI Center will host an exhibit in O’Malley Library from the Herman and Lea Ziering archive collection. A Holocaust survivor, Herman Ziering’s collected letters, correspondences, evidence of Nazi criminals and belongings will be displayed, thanks to a donation from his daughter, Debby.

Afridi earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Syracuse University, where she studied post-Holocaust studies and Islam. She earned her doctorate in religious studies from the University of South Africa, where she examined the shift from early Islamic models of social life toward post-colonial and modern conceptions of the Islamic Identity.

The Brother Casimir Gabriel Costello, FSC, Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes a faculty member of the School of Liberal Arts who exemplifies the excellence in teaching that characterizes Manhattan College and is central to its mission and the mission of the Lasallian Christian Brothers.

The award is named in memory of Brother Casimir Gabriel Costello, FSC (1910-92), a Manhattan College graduate who chaired its department of History for many years and served as dean of the College from 1953-59. His book, The Arches of the Years, traces the history of Manhattan College from its founding until 1979.

By Pete McHugh