UCI and Farhang Foundation partner to enhance the study and appreciation of Persian history and culturePartnership results in a minor in Persian studies, signature conference and campus-wide events
A longstanding partnership between the University of California, Irvine’s Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and the Farhang Foundation has provided students with several academic opportunities, including a minor in Persian studies, and supported a variety of cultural events for the community.
A nonreligious, nonpolitical, and not-for-profit foundation with a mission to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large, the Farhang Foundation has been a steadfast donor to UCI’s Jordan Center since the center’s inception in 2009. In 2014, the Farhang Foundation pledged $200,000 to establish a minor in Persian studies and relevant coursework—the first degree-granting program in Persian Studies at UCI. Now fully funded, the program has provided students with 62 courses—from Persian music to cinema in modern Iran—with enrollments as high as 50 students per course.
In addition to the Persian minor, the Farhang Foundation has funded a signature conference series called the Mehregan Conference, which brings noted scholars and performers to campus for events that are free and open to the public. The 2018 conference, entitled “In Search of Zakariya Razi,” will take place on October 7 in Humanities Instructional Building 100. The conference will feature talks by Mahmoud Omidsalar, scholar in residence at the UCI Jordan Center, and Ahmed Alwishah, associate professor of philosophy at Pitzer College, as well as a special musical performance by the Arezoo Koochakan and Vandad Massahzadeh ensemble.
The foundation hosts several annual cultural events on campus, including the Annual Celebration of Nowruz and the Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema. The 3rd annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema will take place September 15-16 at UCI’s Crystal Cove Auditorium.
The foundation also supports the Sasanika Project, which is dedicated to promoting the study of the Sasanian Persian Dynasty, one of the most remarkable empires of the first millennium CE. Administered by the Jordan Center, the Sasanika Project website maintains archaeological reports and timelines, recorded lectures from experts in ancient Iran, and features the latest information related to Sasanian studies across the globe.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Farhang Foundation for their generous support of Persian studies at UCI,” said Tyrus Miller, dean of the UCI School of Humanities. “This important partnership generates a greater appreciation and understanding of Persian culture throughout UCI and amongst our broader public, while allowing a space for diasporic Iranians to build community.”
Originally established by the UCI School of Humanities in collaboration with the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, the Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture is dedicated to preserving, understanding and promoting the history, culture, and languages of the Persianate world.
“Farhang Foundation is proud to be a long-term partner with UC Irvine and the Jordan Center for Persian Studies in helping establish the first Persian studies minor program at the university,” said Alireza Ardekani, executive director of Farhang Foundation. “UCI has quickly become the hub of many of our exceptional collaborations in Orange County, and we are thrilled to continue to nurture and expand this incredible partnership.”
“Partnerships like the one we have with the Farhang Foundation are what make the events and scholarship taking place at the Jordan Center as far reaching and impactful as they are,” said Touraj Daryaee, director of the UCI Jordan Center and Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies & Culture. “I am grateful for their partnership and look forward to continuing to work with them to enhance the study and appreciation of Iranian history and culture at UCI.”
About the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies
- The Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies is the first interdisciplinary center for the study of Iran in the University of California system.
- With eleven affiliated faculty, including four with endowed chairs in Persian history, ancient art history, music and literature, the center benefits both undergraduate and graduate students with the ability to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship. The center has more endowed chairs than any other program or center in Persian studies and boasts unique interdisciplinary expertise, including Armenians in Iran and Persian Jews.
- This fall, the center welcomes new professor Matthew Canepa, noted historian of ancient art, archaeology and religions in the eastern Mediterranean, Persia and wider Iranian world, as the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History & Archaeology of Ancient Iran. Canepa’s appointment is housed within the UCI School of Humanities’ Department of Art History and Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies, and affiliated with the UCI Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies.
About Farhang Foundation
Farhang Foundation is a nonreligious, nonpolitical and nonprofit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic and cultural activities in Southern California by funding university programs, diverse cultural programs such as the celebrations of Nowruz, Shab-e Yalda as well as musical performances, film screenings and festivals in Southern California. For more info visit Farhang.org
Pictured left to right: Tannaz Mazarei (Farhang Foundation), Gilda Gilak (Farhang Foundation), Sidney Mehrdady (Farhang Foundation), Shazad Ghanbari (Farhang Foundation), Tyrus Miller (UCI), Fay Hamadanchy (Farhang Foundation), Marjaneh Afkhami (Farhang Foundation), Touraj Daryaee (UCI) and Linda Haghi (UCI)