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Farhang Foundation Sponsors First-Ever Iranian Studies Initiative at the University of Southern California

November 1, 2010

Representatives from Farhang Foundation and USC College gather to commemorate the launch of the Iranian Studies Initiative. From left: Bita Milanian, executive director, Farhang Foundation; Haleh Emrani, Iranian Studies Council; Ali Razi, chairman of the board, Farhang Foundation; Howard Gillman, dean of USC College; Ahmad Gramian, trustee, Farhang Foundation; David Newman, attorney, Farhang Foundation. Photo credit Jie Gu.

Representatives from Farhang Foundation and USC College gather to commemorate the launch of the Iranian Studies Initiative. From left: Bita Milanian, executive director, Farhang Foundation; Haleh Emrani, Iranian Studies Council; Ali Razi, chairman of the board, Farhang Foundation; Howard Gillman, dean of USC College; Ahmad Gramian, trustee, Farhang Foundation; David Newman, attorney, Farhang Foundation. Photo credit Jie Gu.

Farhang Foundation and the University of Southern California (USC) announced today the launch of an Iranian Studies Initiative at the university. This initiative will, for the first time ever, offer USC students Persian language classes offered by USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences beginning as early as Fall 2011.

Spearheaded by Farhang Foundation, the Iranian Studies Initiative at USC is composed of two phases, the first of which will add Persian language courses to the curriculum. The second phase, still in planning stages, will allow students to choose a major with a focus on Iranian studies.

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.

“The significance and necessity of an Iranian Studies Initiative at USC cannot be overstated,” said Ali C. Razi, Chairman of Farhang Foundation. “As the Iranian Diaspora in this region continues to grow, so does the need for education in the areas of Persian language and Iranian Studies. Having an Iranian Studies Initiative at one of Southern California’s leading universities is not only important for younger generations of Iranian-Americans who study there, but also for the rest of the community who can now learn about Iran and gain a deeper understanding of its culture and people. This effort — in partnership with USC — is both a historical duty for Farhang Foundation and at the very core of its mission.”

As the world becomes more interconnected and cultures become more integrated through politics and technology, it becomes that much more critical that premier academic institutions — such as USC — lead the way in the teaching and researching of other languages and cultures.

"In the past few years we have a seen a tremendous demand by our students for Persian language and Iranian culture programs,” said Howard Gillman, dean of the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. “Through this very generous gift from the 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 the Farhang Foundation as we make this program one of the premier programs in the country."

Farhang Foundation was able to raise the funds needed to kick-start the Iranian Studies Initiative at USC through the generous contributions made by various individuals. 

The Foundation, together with USC, will continue its fundraising efforts and will reach out to the community to support this program and its expansion.

For more information on this or any of Farhang Foundation’s programs, or to learn how you can become a member and contribute, please visit www.farhang.org.