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Haggar Scholar Research Builds Understanding Across Cultures

 

In an age when differences often lead to divisiveness, Associate Professor of Management Richard Peregoy, D.P.S., uses his research on mindfulness and spirituality to build bridges across cultures, religions and political orientations.

In the summer of 2017, Peregoy and Associate Professor Greg Bell, Ph.D., presented research on mindfulness and spirituality at the Academy of Management’s annual conference. After the presentation, Peregoy was approached by Rachel Wang, a research scientist at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, who was also studying mindfulness and spirituality.

Through talking, the two researchers quickly realized that there were many similarities between their areas of study. Wang, a visiting professor from China, approached her understanding of spirituality from a primarily Eastern expression of the natural law arising from the concept of Daoism (called Wuity). Peregoy, having grown up Catholic, saw many parallels between Wuity and the Western understanding of the Natural Law as articulated by Aristotle and Aquinas.

Armed with a new appreciation for the similarities across cultures, Peregoy applied for, and received, a Haggar Scholar Award in the spring of 2018, which provided him with research funding to visit Boston to continue a collaboration with Wang and her team from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Over the course of five days, Peregoy and Wang — with the entire MIT library at their disposal — had written over 11,000 words and drafted five versions of their research paper. While their research is currently in review, the impact of this research is already being felt in Peregoy’s classroom back at UD.

Having an understanding and appreciation for other religions and cultures allows Peregoy to connect with the many students from across the world that come into UD’s classrooms.

“You have to reach students where they are,” said Peregoy. “I start every class by asking my students to take a moment to reflect by asking themselves, ‘Why am I here? What is it that I want to accomplish? And how may I help others to achieve their ends while they’re here?'’"

Learn more about UD professors who make an impact in Dallas and across the world.

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