(Anchorage, ALASKA., November 7, 2003) - The Middle East Studies Association of North America is pleased to present the MESA Academic Freedom Award for 2003 to Saeed Razavi-Faqih for his courageous and persistent efforts to promote the integrity and autonomy of Iran's universities in the face of pressures and attacks from the state.
At an awards ceremony at the organization's 37th annual meeting in Anchorage on Friday evening, the organization also cited Razavi-Faqih's vigorous advocacy on behalf of Iranian professors and intellectuals jailed and persecuted for their beliefs and opinions.
"Saeed Razavi-Faqih has worked tirelessly as a writer and as an organizer, at great risk to himself, to defend the basic right to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression in Iran," said Amy Newhall, MESA's executive director. "This award represents our recognition of the importance of his efforts for the free exchange of information and ideas in Iran and the Middle East."
Saeed Razavi-Faqih, 38, is a doctoral student in philosophy at Tehran's Tarbiat Modaress University, where he also lectures. He has been a prominent student leader and a frequent columnist in the Iranian press, where he has taken up the cause of professors like Hashem Aghajari, who had been sentenced to death for advocating religious and political reform in the country.
Razavi-Faqih was arrested himself on July 10 and held for 78 days, much of that time in solitary confinement and undergoing relentless interrogation, for his speeches protesting the government's repressive measures.
For more information, contact:
Amy Newhall, MESA executive director: +1 520 621 5850
Joe Stork, chair, Committee on Academic Freedom: + 202 299 4925
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