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Iranian Studies Initiative at University of Southern California

Source: Farhang Foundation


Farhang Foundation and the University of Southern California (USC) have officially announced the launch of an Iranian Studies Initiative at the university.  For the first time ever, USC will offer its students Persian language classes as part of their curriculum, beginning as early as Fall 2011; a Minor in Iranian Studies is in the works. This is the first of many.


What is the Iranian Studies Initiative?

The Iranian Studies Initiative at USC is comprised of two phases, the first of which will add Persian language courses to the curriculum at USC as early as the Fall 2011 semester.  The second phase, still in planning stages, aims to bring a full Iranian Studies Minor program to USC's College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences.

What is the significance & purpose of this initiative?

Undoubtedly, the world is becoming more interconnected and cultures more integrated through politics and technology. Therefore it is now critical that premier academic institutions - such as USC - lead the way in the teaching and researching of other languages and cultures.




This Iranian Studies Initiative is the first of its kind at USC, one of the world's leading private research universities, located in Los Angeles, home to the largest population of Iranians outside of Iran.


As the Iranian community in this region grows, it becomes that much more necessary to offer educational opportunities in the areas of Persian language and Iranian Studies, which will primarily serve two very distinct but equally important purposes:

  • To preserve our language, culture, history, and heritage for younger generations of Iranian-Americans...
  • To introduce our language, culture, history, and heritage to all others, including non-Iranians, who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Iran, its past and its present...


Professor Bruce Zuckerman

"Today I was a fortunate witness to a small event that I trust will have broad implications.  My university, the University of Southern California, signed an agreement with the Farhang Foundation to begin to do the best thing one can do to remind us all of what Persian culture truly embodies." Bruce Zuckerman, Professor of Religion at USC


"In the past few years we have seen a tremendous demand by our students for Persian language and Iranian culture programs.  Through this very generous gift from Farhang Foundation, we will be able to quickly respond to this demand and begin right away to build a vibrant and rigorous academic program in Iranian Studies.  I look forward to partnering with Farhang Foundation as we make this program one of the premier programs in the country."  Howard Gillman, Dean of the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at USC


"The significance and necessity of an Iranian Studies Initiative at USC cannot be overstated... This effort - in partnership with USC - is both a historical duty for Farhang Foundation and at the very core of its mission."Ali C. Razi, Chairman of Farhang Foundation


 "It is my honor and privilege as an Iranian-American to be a part of Farhang Foundation and this effort in support of an Iranian Studies Initiative. This program will offer students from all walks of life the opportunity to explore and study thousands of years of Iranian culture and language." Dr. Cyrus Adami, Iranian Studies Council at Farhang Foundation

Standing left to right: David W. Newman, General Counsel (pro-bono), Haleh Emrani, Iranian Studies Council Member, Bita Milanian, Executive Director & Ahmad Gramian, Trustee (Farhang Foundation).  Seated, left to right: Ali C. Razi, Chairman (Farhang Foundation) & Howard Gillman, Dean (College of Letters, Arts & Sciences)


Timeline of Events

November 1, 2010

The first phase of Farhang Foundation's Iranian Studies Initiative has officially launched. Persian language courses will now appear on USC's curriculum as early as the Fall 2011 semester.

January/February 2011

Join Farhang Foundation as we host a reception celebrating the kick-off of the first phase of our Iranian Studies Initiative. Location and date to be announced!

August 2011 and Beyond

For the first time ever, Persian language courses will be available as part of USC's curriculum, beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.

Note: While the above timeline highlights important upcoming dates, we remind you that Farhang Foundation will continue to work hard to raise funds in support of our Iranian Studies Initiative in an effort to successfully launch its second phase, which aims to bring an Iranian Studies Minor program to USC. 
But we cannot do it alone. Help us raise funds and friends for this important program.


How YOU can help...

This Iranian Studies Initiative has been spearheaded by Farhang Foundation and welcomed by USC. But it has been made possible by the generous contributions of various individuals. Thanks to their support, Persian language courses will appear on the curriculum as early as the Fall 2011 semester. But we still have a ways to go to launch the second phase of this initiative and bring a full Iranian Studies Minor program to USC!

And please remember, contributions are welcome in more ways than one:

  • Become a financial donor to the Iranian Studies Initiative at USC - 100% tax deductible
  • Volunteer your time and help us spread the word
  • Know a current or former USC Trojan (alumni)? Refer them to Farhang Foundation for the latest news on this exciting program


To learn more about Farhang Foundation's Iranian Studies Initiative and to find out how you can contribute to this program, please email us at or call us at 310.666.1546.

Read the original press release.

See the photo album from the signature ceremony on 10.29.10 at USC.

... Payvand News - 11/29/10 ... --

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