Iran News ...


4/22/05

Microtechnology Pioneer Fariborz Maseeh And His Foundation Give $2 Million To Establish UCI Center For Persian Studies And Culture


First of Its Kind in the UC System, Center Is Envisioned as a National Resource that  Elevates and Advances Persian Studies


Irvine, Calif., April 21, 2005-Microtechnology pioneer Fariborz Maseeh and the Massiah Foundation have pledged $2 million to create an innovative interdisciplinary research center at UC Irvine that will bring together scholars in Persian history, language, culture, art and literature.


Fariborz Maseeh


The Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture - named after a missionary in the early 1900s who became a leading educational figure in Iran - will be the first interdisciplinary center in the University of California system dedicated entirely to Persian studies not based in a department of Near East or Middle East studies. In partnership with the university, Maseeh envisions creating a leading resource for advancing scholarship about Persian culture at a critical juncture in world affairs.

"We live in an increasingly interdependent world that demands mutual understanding," Maseeh said. "Our goal is to establish a beacon of knowledge about Persian culture and create an environment where both our nation as a whole and the Persian community are enabled to learn from this rich, ancient culture."

Three endowed professorships also will be established: the Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies and Culture, which will be filled by a director for the Jordan Center; the Howard Baskerville Professor in the School of Humanities, named after another early missionary key to Iran's educational development; and the Maseeh Professor in Persian Performing Arts in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

"We are proud to partner with Dr. Maseeh in establishing this distinctive center," said UCI Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone. "UCI is situated in a region with one of the largest Persian communities outside of
Iran, making it a natural place for a center that celebrates this historically and culturally significant region."

The
Jordan Center will provide research grants; sponsor symposia, lectures and workshops; and host public events. The School of Humanities will administer the center with involvement from faculty and staff from many disciplines across campus. UCI will begin offering classes in Persian studies and language in fall 2005. As part of its community outreach, the center will offer an annual Persian cultural _expression prize to authors and performers from around the world. The center will be located in the campus's Berkeley Place building until approximately 2010, when it will move to its permanent home in a new humanities building.

The Iranian-born Maseeh is a worldwide expert in micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS. After earning a doctorate in engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maseeh founded IntelliSense in 1991. It was the first company of its kind for the custom design, development and manufacturing of next generation MEMS devices - tiny, computer-controlled chips used in products ranging from cardiac pacemakers to aircraft landing gear. After IntelliSense was acquired in 2000, Maseeh established the Massiah Foundation, whose mission is to make significant improvements in education, health, arts, literature and science.

Maseeh considers himself a "venture philanthropist," applying business concepts to his philanthropy. He considers his gifts as investments and looks for causes with clear objectives and broad markets. Maseeh serves as a UCI Foundation trustee and sits on engineering advisory boards at UCI's Henry Samueli School of Engineering, the
University of Southern California and Portland State University. He has endowed several chairs in various engineering disciplines at MIT and PSU. He is chairman of the Children's Hospital of Orange County Foundation and serves on a number of community boards, including the Boys and Girls Club of Boston.

The
Jordan Center will be the first in the UC system dedicated to examining Persian culture, history and art that is not based in a department of Near East or Middle East studies. According to Karen Lawrence, humanities dean, this means the center will be uniquely positioned to take a wide and interdisciplinary approach to Persian studies. "Persian culture has had a profound influence from the Mediterranean to India to Central Asia, but too often it's viewed narrowly as confined to the borders of one region," she said. "This center will allow us to study Persian culture in a truly transnational context. Dr. Maseeh's generous gift also will enable us to recruit two top humanities scholars in Persian studies to build on existing faculty strengths."

Arts dean Nohema Fernandez added, "The endowed professorship in Persian performing arts will bring to UCI the rich cultural tradition of Persian music and culture, creating a unique program for both our students and the community." A dozen Persian scholars from around the nation will gather at UCI next month for a workshop with humanities faculty to assess the current state of Persian studies and exchange ideas of how the center can best advance scholarship in this field. An event celebrating the establishment of the center also is planned for May.

A dozen Persian scholars from around the nation will gather at UCI next month for a workshop with humanities faculty to assess the current state of Persian studies and exchange ideas of how the center can best advance scholarship in this field. An event celebrating the establishment of the center also is planned for May.

For more information about the Massiah Foundation, contact Robert Magnuson at (949) 278-7515 or by e-mail at
rgm@magnusonandcompany.com

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

 

Contact:  Lori Brandt
                (949) 824-5484
               
lbrandt@uci.edu

 

... Payvand News - 4/22/05 ... --



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