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Report of PFAP 2009 Event in Palo Alto: The Story of the Persepolis Fortification Archive

Report by A. J. Cave


source: Oriental Institute


Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Four Seasons Hotel, Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto, CA, USA


Friends of Persepolis Fortification Archive Project (PFAP) extend heartfelt thanks to the 100 guests and all who helped make the PFAP '09 Event not just a wonderfully informative experience, but one which raised both awareness and contributions for this important cause. 


Matthew Stolper, Head of Persepolis Fortification Archive Project, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, kicked off the event by discussing the languages of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, as a symbol of inclusiveness of the empire of many people and many languages:  Cracking the Code: using language to unlock ancient history


During his presentation, Professor Stolper read and interpreted a few lines from the Cyrus Cylinder.



The Story of the Persepolis Fortification Archive


After a brief break, the main event started with three presentations: 


Matthew Stolper: Persepolis Fortification Archive Project: Preserving the Legacy of the Achaemenid Persians


Nema Milaninia: Overview of Legal Issues and Latest Legislative Developments


Glenn Schwartz: Legal Threats to Cultural Exchange: An Archaeologist's Perspective 


All four presentations can also be viewed consecutively along with introductory remarks by Nahal Iravani-Sani:





Following a short break, a roundtable discussion commenced, introduced by Dr. Richard Saller, Dean of Humanities & Sciences, Stanford University.  An impressive gathering of educators, museum curators, and members of Iranian-American organizations, followed suit with comments in support of preserving ancient Iranian history and heritage, raising awareness about the need to financially support both the Iranian studies programs at American universities, as well as on-going research projects such as the PFA Project at the Oriental Institute of University of Chicago. 



Roundtable participants in alphabetical order were:


Mitra Ara, Founding Director, Persian Cultural Heritage Studies (PCHS), San Francisco State University


Touraj Daryaee, Professor of the History of Iran and the Persianate World, University of California, Irvine


Renée Dreyfus, Curator in Charge of Ancient Art and Interpretation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor Museum


Babak Hoghooghi, Executive Director, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)


Fredun Hojabri, Former Academic Vice-President of Sharif (Aryamehr) University of Technology


Gita Kashani, Board Member, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)


Nema Milaninia, President, Iranian American Bar Association (IABA)


Ali Mousavi, Assistant Curator of Ancient Iranian & Near Eastern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Member of Academic Committee of Farhang Foundation


Glenn Schwartz, Professor of Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University, Member of Archaeological Institute of America


Martin Schwartz, Professor of Iranian Studies, University of California, Berkeley


Matthew Stolper, Head of Persepolis Fortification Archive Project, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago




PFAP '09 Event was made possible thanks to generous funding from San Francisco Bay Area philanthropists: Neema Bahr, Jamshid Varza and Afshin Zand. 


IABA, PAAIA and NIAC assisted with event planning and logistics and all the Organizational Friends promoted the event to their respective members.


Farhang Foundation and IABA graciously provided funding for Audio-Visual services during the event.  Babak Jamshidi, member of PAAIA and SUTA, streamed the four presentations on the PAAIA website with the assistance of the PAAIA technical team.


Iranican Productions donated their video services.


Event brochure was funded by a donation from the U.S. Census. was the event's media sponsor.


PFAP '09 Event was made memorable thanks to all the esteemed speakers, panelists and honored guests who came from near and far to be a part of this event. 



Upcoming Educational Events


Members of PFA Project Team will participate in the upcoming AIA (Archaeological Institute of America) and APA (American Philological Association) joint annual meeting, in Anaheim, CA, January 6-9, 2010. 


The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project: Current Research session is organized by Mark Garrison from Trinity University and is scheduled for Thursday, January 7, 8:30 - 11:30 AM,  co-sponsored by Farhang Foundation.




Please join us!


To ensure the successful completion of the PFA Project and continuation of ancient Iranian studies at American universities, Friends of PFA Project have embarked on a campaign to generate grassroots support from the Iranian communities worldwide.


The campaign aims to create awareness of the need for coordinated private funding in three key areas:


  • Create a PFA Project Fund to support the budgetary requirements of Persepolis Fortification Archive Project for the duration of the project

  • Create an Endowment Fund to support the continuation of educational and historical research on ancient Iranian history, languages and archaeology at American universities by endowing Chairs of Iranian Studies at American academic institutions and building graduate programs, fellowships, and global faculty exchanges around them

  • Encourage active participation of Iranian-American scholars and students in the PFA Project


Please join the Friends of PFA Project and show your support for the rich ancient history of Iran by making a gift to the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project through the Oriental Institute's Website:


You may use the Electronic Gift Form or print and fax or mail the Paper Gift Form.


OI Electronic Gift Form

§  Please scroll down on the "Purpose of Gift" list of projects and select "Persepolis Fortification Archive Project" and enter 100% in the allocation box.

§  Enter the $ amount of your gift in the "Amount" box.

§  Fill out the form with your credit card information.

§  You will receive an online confirmation upon payment.


Gifts to the PFA Project are tax deductible under applicable rules.  For tax information and other giving options, please contact the Oriental Institute directly:  


Your generosity will help the PFA Project at the Oriental Institute continue its valuable efforts in preserving the priceless archive of Persian Achaemenids.


If you would like to be notified of future events in support of education and preservation of Iranian History and Heritage, please email


Thank you.


About:  A. J. Cave is an Iranian-American writer based in California, USA.  She is an associate member of Northern California Chapter of Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA) and a member of World Association of International Studies (WAIS).


Related Article:

Battle over Persepolis Fortification Archive: Achaemenid Administrative Archives


... Payvand News - 10/22/09 ... --

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