Specializing in Iran and the Middle East
Dr. Ervand Abrahamian
Iranian and Middle East History and Politics, Baruch College
Ervand Abrahamian is a lecturer at Baruch College and recognized as a Distinguished Professor of History after more than forty years of teaching experience. Abrahamian previously taught at the prestigious universities of Oxford, Columbia, and Princeton, in addition to the Graduate Center in the City University of New York. He received his B.A. from Oxford University and consequently attended Columbia University, where he obtained his Ph.D. His book publications include: Iran Between Two Revolutions (Princeton University Press); The Iranian Mujahedin (Yale University Press); Khomeinism (University of California Press); Tortured Confessions (University of California Press); A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge University Press); and The Coup: 1953, The CIA, and the Roots of Modern US-Iran Relations (New Press). He is currently working on a book regarding the 1979 revolution in Iran.
Dr. Arash Alaei
Associate Director and Clinical Associate Professor
Global Institute for Health and Human Rights, Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, University at Albany School of Public Health
Arash Alaei is the Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior at the University of Albany. He also serves as the associate director for both the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights and the International Academic Program. Alaie has worked on issues related to health and human rights for more than a decade, with a special focus on HIV/AIDS patients and injecting drug users. He was working in the “Triangular Clinic” for three target groups: drug users, HIV patients, and STD cases in Iran. This model was documented by the World Health Organization/ EMRO as a “Best Practice Model”. Alaie earned his MD degree at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (MD) following a medical internship at the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. Selected publications include: Alaei A; Alaei K. Health Diplomacy, a case study: An AIDS Prevention and Treatment Initiative in the Middle East. Global Health and Diplomacy. Sept. 2012 p 40-43; and Alaei K; Alaei A. HIV/AIDS and Addiction in Iran: From a long time denial to breaking the silence. Epidemic Proportions. Jan.2007.
Dr. Kamiar Alaei
Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior
School of Public Health, University at Albany
Kamiar Alaei is a public service professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Albany and the founding Director of the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights. He is an expert on HIV/AIDS, drug policy and international health and human rights. In addition to WHO/CAIRO, he has served as a consultant or temporary advisor to the World Health Organization in Pan American Region (PAHO) to expand health and human rights training programs in the prison system. He and his brother Arash co-founded the first “Triangular Clinic” for three target groups in Iran. His area of expertise, focusing on HIV/AIDS policy and drug policy through an academic perspective with a concentration on central America, the Middle East and Central Asia. He earned his degrees from Isfahan Medical University (MD), Tehran Medical University (MPH), Harvard University (MS), and the University of Albany (Ph.D.) Alaei is currently completing his degree in international Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. Selected publications include: Alaei A; Alaei K. Drug users need more choices at addiction treatment facilities. British Medical Journal (BMJ). 22 March 2013; and Alaei K; Mansoori D; Alaei A. The response to HBV Vaccine in HIV infected patient’s. J of Archives of Iranian Medicine. Oct. 2003.Vol.6; No.4:20-25.
Dr. Roham Alvandi
London School of Economics and Political Science
Governing Council, British Institute of Persian Studies
Roham Alavandi, a historian of Iran and the modern Middle East, currently lectures at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He serves on the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies and is Assistant Editor (History) of the academic journal entitled Iranian Studies. Prior to lecturing at the university, Alvandi worked on the strategic planning staff in the office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Tehran. He received his MPhil and DPhil degrees at the University of Oxford and his doctoral thesis won the Foundation for Iranian Studies’ Dissertation Prize and the University of Oxford’s Pavry Memorial Prize. He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (2014) and is currently working on a second book, Iran’s Cold War.
Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi
Director and Professor
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University
Hooshang Amirahmadi is a professor and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Rutgers’s University. Amirahmadi is the Founder and President of the American Iranian Council, a research and policy think-tank devoted to improving dialogue and understanding between Iran and the United States. Amirahmadi is also the President of Caspian Associates, an international strategic consulting firm and founded the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis where he served as its Director. He was a candidate for President in the Nine Presidential Elections in Iran in June 2005, but became disqualified due to his American citizenship and democratic platform. He received his education from Tabriz University (BA), University of Dallas (MA), and Cornell University (PhD). His publications include nine written and edited works, six policy monographs, numerous journal articles, and myriad media interviews. Selected publications include: Amirahmadi 1392: For real Change in Iran, (Princeton: Amirahmadi 1392, 2012); The Political Economy of Iran under the Qajar, 1800-1920 (2012).
Dr. Ali Ansari
Director and Professor
Institute for Iranian Studies and School of History, University of St. Andrews
Ali Ansari is a professor of Modern History with reference to the Middle East at St. Andrews University in Scotland, the founding Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies, as well as an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. Ansari currently resides on the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies (BIPS). Moreover, he is a regular speaker at conferences and events regarding Iran, including “Iran’s New Parliament” at the New America Foundation. Ansari studied at Col. Brown Cambridge School Dehara Dun, University College London (BA), King’s College London (MA), and obtained his PhD from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Some of his publications include: The Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran (2012); Crisis of Authority: Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election (2010); Iran Under Ahmadinejad (Adelphi Papers) (2008); Iran, Islam & Democracy - The Politics of Managing Change (2000); The History of Modern Iran Since 1921: the Pahlavis & After (2003); and Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Roots of Mistrust (2006).
Dr. Hassan Ansari
Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University
Hassan Ansari is a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Ansari and other members at the Institute work to counterbalance a trend in Western universities to focus on the exclusive study of modern Islam. His research focuses on wide-ranging periods, such as the history and time surrounding the Qajar Dynasty leading up to the constitutional revolution and Shiism. In the “Hawza” in Qom and Tehran, his work focused on the study of philosophy, theology, canon law, and principles of jurisprudence. Ansari successfully completed the very highest level of study for the rank of Ayatollah, in the Shi’a clerical system. Ansari completed his Ph.D. at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) in Paris and has been co-authoring books, editions, and articles since. His publications include (with Sabine Schmidtke) Khulāṣat al-Naẓar; An Anonymous Imāmī-Muʿtazilī Treatise (late 6th/12th or early 7th/13th century) (Tehran 2006) and, together with Wilferd Madelung, a critical edition of Ibn al-Malāḥimī’s Tuḥfat al-mutakallimīn fī l-radd ʿalā l-falāsifa (Tehran 2008).
Dr. Said Arjomand
Director and Professor
Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies and State University of New York (SUNY)
Said Arjomand is a Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York (SUNY) and the Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies. Professor Arjomand was the Crane Inaugural Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, and a Carnegie Scholar (2006 - 2008). He is the founder and former President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies and founding Editor of The Journal of Persianate Studies. Selected publications include: After Khomeini, Iran Under His Successors (2009); Social Theory and Regional Studies in the Global Age (2013); Constitutional Politics in the Middle East (2008); Constitutionalism and Political Reconstruction (2007); The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Organization and Societal Change in Shi’ite Iran from the Beginning to 1890 (1984); The Turban for the Crown: and The Islamic Revolution in Iran (1988).
Author and Photographer, Iran Diary 1971-2002
Abbas Attar is an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. His most recent projects focus on the religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. During the 1970s he made a number of trips to Iran, taking pictures of the extraordinary impact that the western petro-dollars had made on the country’s society. Between 1978 and 1980, Abbas established a worldwide reputation as a photographer by documenting the Iranian revolution. He was a member of Sipa from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum photos in 1981. He wrote a book entitled, Iran Diary 1971-2002, which contains a critical interpretation of Iranian history, photographed and written as a private journal.
Dr. Michael Axworthy
Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Former Head of Iran Section, Foreign and Commonweatlh Office (FCO) (1998-2000)
Michael Axworthy is a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. He became the Director of the University’s new Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies (CPIS) in autumn of 2008 and is also a Fellow of both the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Society of Arts. Axworthy served as the Head of the Iran Section at the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1998-2000, before working in Cornwall and publishing his first book. He received both his MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Axworthy’s first book, The Swords of Persia, covers the topic of the great Iranian conqueror Nader Shah (published in 2006). His second book entitled, Iran: Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran (Hurst Books), appeared in November 2007 and was published by Basic Books and Penguin. However, Penguin published the book as a paperback in November 2008 under the title, Iran: Empire of the Mind. His latest book published in March 2013 conveys the story of Iran since the revolution of the ayatollahs, including a full account of the Iran-Iraq war.
Dr. Sussan Babaie
Curator, The Courtauld Institute of Art
Sussan Babaie is a lecturer at The Courtauld Institute of Art where she teaches courses on the arts of Iran and Islam. Her research and teaching concern questions of imperialism and artistic patronage in Persianate West, Central, and South Asia, where high culture derived from the literary corpus of the Persian language. Prior to her arrival at Courtauld, Babaie taught at Smith College, the University of Michigan, and served as a visiting professor for the Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig Maximilian University, in Munich. Babaie received her education at various institutions such as: Tehran University (BA), American University (MA), and the Institute of Fine Arts (PhD). She has published numerous book, chapters, and articles amongst which include: Persian Kingship and Architecture: Strategies of Power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis, London: I. B. Tauris, (co-edited with Talinn Grigor); Shirin Neshat, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan, 2013 (co-author); Isfahan and its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi‘ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (Edinburgh Press); Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran, London: I. B. Tauris, 2004 (co-author & co-editor with Kathryn Babayan, Ina Baghdiantz-McCabe and Massumeh Farhad); Persian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989 (co-author with Marie Lukens Swietochowski).
Dr. Houchang Chehabi
International Relations and History, Boston University, Harvard University
Houchang Chehabi is a professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, and has been concurrently teaching at Harvard University since 1987. Although he is a leading expert in history with specializations in Middle Eastern politics and cultural history, Shiism, and international law, his main research focuses on the history of Iran and surrounding countries. He previously taught at Oxford and UCLA and impressively acquired fellowships with both the Alexander von Humboldt and Woodrow Wilson foundations. Chehabi received both his MA and PhD from Yale University and has written numerous articles, book reviews, and translations. He published two books, Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: the Liberation Movement of Iran Under the Shah and Khomeini (1990) and Distant Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the Last 500 Years (2006). He also co-edited Politics, Society, and Democracy: Comparative Studies (1995); Sultanistic Regimes (1998); Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations, and Transnational Connections (2010); and Iran and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century: Essays in Honour of Mohammad-Reza Djalili (2013).
Dr. Stephanie Cronin
Lecturer, Iranian History, Faculty of Oriental Studies
St. Antony's College, University of Oxford
Stephanie Cronin is lecturer in Iranian history in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, and a member of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Cronin has held an Iran Heritage Foundation fellowship for many years. She is currently working on a comparative study of Middle Eastern state building. She is the author of Shahs, Soldiers and Subalterns in Iran: Opposition, Protest and Revolt, 1921-1941 (2010); Tribal Politics in Iran: Rural Conflict and the New State, 1921-1941 (2006); and The Army and the Creation of the Pahlavi State in Iran, 1910-1926 (1997). She is the editor of Subalterns and Social Protest: History from Below in the Middle East and North Africa (2007); Reformers and Revolutionaries in Modern Iran: New Perspectives on the Iranian Left (2004); and The Making of Modern Iran; State and Society Under Riza Shah, 1921-1941 (2003).
Dr. Shirin Ebadi
Human Rights Activist pertaining to Women, Children and Political Prisoners
Iran’s First Female Judge
First Muslim woman awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2003
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge, and human rights activist. In addition to writing several books and articles in support of human rights, Ebadi founded the Association for Support of Children’s Rights in 1995 and the Human Rights Defense Center in 2001. In 2003, Ebadi was the first Iranian awarded the Nobel Peace Prize due to her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women’s, children’s, and refugee rights. Ebadi earned her law degree at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and served as a judge in 1969. In 1975, Ebadi was appointed President of Bench 24 of Tehran’s City Court, becoming the first female in the history of Iranian justice system to achieve this distinction. More recently, Ebadi attended the first Trust Women Conference (2012) in London, where she promoted her petition to amend the gender-discrimination laws in Iran’s constitution. Ebadi’s publications include: Iran Awakening: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country (2007); Refugee Rights in Iran (2008); and The Golden Cage: three brothers, three choices, one destiny (2011).
Dr. Hadi Enayat
Visiting Lecturer, Agha Khan University
Author, Law, State, and Society in Modern Iran
Hadi Enayat teaches at several universities in London and specializes in the political sociology of the Middle East, socio-legal studies, comparative politics and race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism. He worked as a journalist for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo between 1993-4 and as an editor for I. B Tauris Publishers in London from 1994-2000. From 2002-2003, he became a researcher in the policy department of Praxis, an NGO that works with refugees in the UK. He received his BA from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and both his MSc (Distinction) and PhD from the University of London Birkbeck College. His recent book entitled, Law, State, and Society in Modern Iran: Constitutionalism, Autocracy, and Legal Reform 1906-1941 (2013), is based on his doctorate. The book discusses the historical sociology of the development of the modern legal system in Iran and won the 2013 Mossadegh Prize.
Dr. Robert Gleave
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Robert Gleave is a professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. The main research project he is currently focusing on is “Islamic Reformulations: Belief, Governance, and Violence”, which comprises of two elements: the development of a network of scholars examining the policy and security responses to religious belief and an analysis of the current state and future trajectories of Islamic thought about belief, governance, and violence. Prior to his arrival at Exeter, Gleave was a Visiting Mellon Scholar at the University of Chicago, a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, and a Visiting Scholar the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society, where he gave lectures on law, power, and exegesis in Shiite Islam. Selected Publications include: Islamic Law in Theory Studies on Jurisprudence in Honor of Bernard Weiss (2014); Books and Bibliophiles: Studies in honour of Paul Auchterlonie on the Bio-Bibliography of the Muslim World (2014); Islam and Literalism: Literal Meaning and Interpretation in Islamic Legal Theory (2012); Religion and Society in Qajar Iran (2009); Scripturalist Islam: The History and Doctrines of the Akhbari School of Shii Thought (2007); Religion and Society in Qajar Iran (2005); and with Kermeli E, Islamic law (2001).
Artist, Contemporary Art
Barbad Golshiri is an artist whose practice is prolific and wide-ranging—extending from photography and sculpture to installation, films, and critical writing. Central to some of his recent pieces is the examination of how media is used and how it manipulates the regime and its masses in his homeland of Iran. Golshiri earned his BA in painting at Azad University’s School of Art and Architecture and won third prize in the 6th Tehran Contemporary painting Biennial at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Golshiri has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, some of which include: Curriculum Mortis, Thomas Erben Gallery, NY (2013); A Twenty-One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Four Minutes Unworsenable Aplastic, Götenborg Konstmuseum, Sweden (solo with Francis Bacon) (2009); THE OTHER, Azad Gallery, Tehran (2007); and Light Art and Video Works of Art, Golestan Gallery, Tehran (2002).
Dr. Najam Haider
Islamic Studies and History at Columbia University and Barnard College
Najam Haider is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at both Columbia University and Barnard College, where he teaches courses on Islamic studies and history. His research interests include Islamic law, Shi’ism, and the impact of colonization on modern Islamic political and religious discourse. Prior to arriving at his current institutions, Haider taught at the college and universities of Franklin & Marshall, Georgetown, New York, and Princeton. Haider completed his PhD at Princeton University, M.Phil. at Oxford University, and BA at Dartmouth College, and has published articles focusing on Islamic historiography and the emergence of sectarian identity. His book entitled, The Origins of the Shī‘a: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in 8th century Kūfa, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 and focused on the role of ritual and sacred space in the formation of Shi’a identity today. His second book, Shi’a Islam (2014) offered a comprehensive overview of three branches of Shi’a Islam—Zaydi, Twelver, and Ismaili—through a framework of theology and memory. His current project focuses on the link between early Islamic historical writing and Late Antique and Classical Rhetoric.
Dr. Kevan Harris
Sociologist and Associate Director, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, Princeton University
Kevan Harris is the Associate Director of Princeton University’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies. Harris is also a post-doctoral research fellow at Princeton’s Department of Near Eastern Studies where he will continue working on two major articles for publication: a critique of the theory of the “rentier state” as used in Middle Eastern studies, and an analysis of welfare policy as class politics in Middle Eastern states over the past six decades. His research focuses on political economy, welfare systems, economic history, and social movements in Western Asia and Northern Africa. Harris obtained his degrees from Northwestern University (BA) and Johns Hopkins University (MA and Ph.D.) His current book project concentrates on post-revolutionary Iranian state and society.
Dr. Houchang Hassan-Yari
Professor of Political Science and SAPNIL
Royal Military College of Canada
Houchang Hassan-Yari is a professor of Political Science and the Special Assistant to the principal for National and International Liaison (SAPNIL) at the Royal Military College of Canada. His area of interest and teaching includes Middle East issues, geopolitics, Canadian foreign and defense policy, nuclear proliferation, and comparative politics. Hassan-Yari has prior teaching experience at Shahid Beheshti University, University of Lyon III, University of Montreal, and Queen’s University. He earned his BA from the University of Ferdowsi and both his MA and PhD in Political Science (International Relations) from the University of Quebec in Montreal. Hassan-Yari has been the author and editor of myriad publication, such as: The Iranian Crisis: the way forward NATO and Gulf Security (2009); The Artesh: Iran’s Marginalized Regular Military (2011); Transactional Analysis: An Efficient and Strategy (Iraq, Afghanistan, Arab-Israeli Conflict, Iran Nuclear Programme)”, (forthcoming, with Khaled Taktek); The Iranian Crisis: the way forward, NATO and Gulf Security (2009).
Baker Fellow and Director, Gulf and Energy Policy Program
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf. A former journalist with Financial Times, Henderson has also worked as a consultant advising corporations and governments on the Persian Gulf. He started his career with the British Broadcasting Corporation and served as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan in 1977-78 and reported from Iran during the 1979 Islamic revolution and seizure of the U.S. embassy. Henderson earned his degrees from Nottingham University (BA) and Cass Business School, London (MBA). His publications include: Nuclear Iran: a Glossary (2015); After King Abdullah: Succession in Saudi Arabia (2009); Energy in Danger: Iran, Oil, and the West (2008); Reducing Vulnerability to Middle East Energy Shocks: A Key Element in Strengthening U.S. Energy Security (2005); The New Pillar: Conservative Arab Gulf States and U.S. Strategy (2002); and After King Fahd: Succession in Saudi Arabia (1994).
Author, A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Middle East and The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict
Dilip Hiro is a writer and journalist who published 34 books and contributed to another 18. Hiro started his career writing about immigration to the UK from the Indian subcontinent. Since 2001, he has published a number of influential books on Islamism and associated conflicts. Hiro received his Master’s degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is the author of: A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Middle East (2013), The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict (1991), Sharing the Promised Land: A Tale of Israelis and Palestinians (1998), Between Marx and Muhammad: The Changing Face of Central Asia (1995), Neighbors, Not Friends: Iraq and Iran After the Gulf Wars (2001), War Without End: Rise of Islamist Terrorism and the Global Response (2002), Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm (2003), Secrets and Lies: Operation “Iraqi Freedom” and After (2004), The Iranian Labyrinth: Journeys Through Theocratic Iran and its Furies (2005), Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World’s Vanishing Oil Resources (2007) and, most recently, After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World (2010).
Dr. Farhang Jahanpour
Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University
Retired Lecturer, Cambridge University
Former Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Languages, University of Isfahan,
Chief Persian Monitor, Editor for the Middle East, BBC
Former Editor and Writer, Nuzhat Nama-ye ‘Ala’i
Publisher, Directory of Iranian Officials
Former Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Languages, University of Isfahan, Iran
Author, Reform and Pluralism in Islam: The Responses of Contemporary Iranian Intellectuals
Farhang Jahanpour is a member of Kellogg College as well as a tutor in the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University. Prior to his arrival at Oxford, Jahanpour taught Persian language and literature at Cambridge University before his return to Iran to serve as associate professor and chairman of the Department of Languages at the University of Isfahan. During his time at Isfahan, Jahanpour founded the first Department of American Studies in Iran and the first Faculty of Foreign Languages, where he consequently served as both professor and Dean. Upon returning to England, he served as the Chief Persian Monitor and Editor for the Middle East and North Africa at BBC Monitoring. Jahanpour attended various academic institutions such as Shiraz University (BA), University of Leeds (BA), University of Hull (MA), and University of Cambridge (Ph.D.). Jahanpour published the “Directory of Iranian Officials” in 1992 and is currently writing a book about the modernist movement in Iran.
Lawyer and Human Rights Activist
Author, Crossing the Red Line
Mehrangiz Kar, a human rights lawyer from Iran, is an internationally recognized writer, speaker and activist who advocates for the defense of women’s and human rights in Iran and throughout the Islamic world. Kar also serves as a visiting professor at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. The themes of her writings and presentations to audiences in North America and Europe consistently emphasize topics of women’s and democratic legal rights in Iran. She actively works to promote academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars worldwide. Professor Kar has written a memoir, numerous articles in both Farsi and English, and over fifteen books. Selected publications include: Women’s Participation in Politics: Obstacles and Possibilities (2001); The Burned Palms (2001); Violence Against Women in Iran (2000); and Women’s Political Rights in Iran (1997).
Graphic Designer and Founder
Peyman Pourhosein of Studio Kargah, Tehran
Contributor, Dabireh Collective and Tandis Bi-Weekly Magazine
Aria Kasaei is the Art Director of both Studio Kargah and Azad Art Gallery. With his colleague, Peyman Pourhosein, Kasaie creates compositions that combine Persian and Latin script, while pushing the boundaries of abstractions. Kasaie’s pioneering work have not only been exhibited internationally but he has also curated international graphic design exhibitions, such as Azad Art Gallery’s ‘Graphic Design Project’ in 2009 and ‘Posters from Iran’ in Copenhagen in 2011. He is also an active contributor to the Dabireh Collective and the bi-weekly Tandis magazine publication.
Dr. Homa Katouzian
Persian Literature and Iranian History, University of Oxford
Homa Katouzian is a lecturer on Persian literature and Iranian history at the University of Oxford, where he is also a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies as well as a Research Fellow at the Iran Heritage Foundation at St. Antony’s College. He organized two international conferences in 2003 and 2004 respectively: the Hedayat Centenary and Iran Facing the New Century. Katouzian serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Library of Iranian Studies in London and is an editor for the Iranian Studies academic journal. Moreover, he is an active member of the Editorial Board of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. His recent books are: Sa’di in Love: An Anthology of Sa’di’s love lyrics in Persian and English (in the press); Iran: Politics, History and Literature (hb and pb, 2013); Iran: A Beginners’ Guide (2013); The Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran (2009 and 2010); Sadeq Hedayat, His Work and His Wondrous World, ed., (2008 and 2011); Iran in the 21st Century, co-ed (with Hossein Shahidi), (hb&pb, 2007); Iranian History and Politics, the Dialectic of State and Society,(2003 and 2007); Sa’di, the Poet of Life, Love and Compassion, (2006); State and Society in Iran: The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Rise of the Pahlavis, (2000 and 2006); Sadeq Hedayat: The Life and Legend of an Iranian Writer,(1991and 2002); Musaddiq and the Struggle for Power in Iran (1990 and 1999).
Dr. Arang Keshavarzian
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University
Arang Keshavarzian is an associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. He is currently conducting research on a project that examines imperialism and globalization from the vantage point of the Persian Gulf political economic system. Keshavarzian’s field of research and teaching focuses on comparative politics of the Middle East with an emphasis on issues related to political economy, transnationalism, and contentious politics in authoritarian contexts. Keshavarzian earned his PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Keshavarzian is the author of Bazaar and State in Iran: the Politics of the Tehran Marketplace (2007) and several articles in edited volumes and journals, including Politics and Society, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Geopolitics, and Middle East Report.
Choreographer and Founder
Les Ballets Persans
Nima Kiann is the Founder and Artistic Director of Les Ballets Persans. Kiann’s concept and vision for establishing an international Persian ballet ensemble, inspired by the cultural and artistic heritage of Iran, premiered in 1998 and had an international impact. A few years later, his visionary and laudable determination resulted in the recreation and revival of the former Iranian National Ballet and Les Ballet Persans was established. The organization has become a representative cultural institution for the Middle Eastern art form of ballet in Europe. Kiann received his dance education at the Gothenburg Ballet Academy in Sweden and at the École supérieure de danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower in France. As a cultural administrator, Kiann has been internationally consulting various cultural, peace, and integration organizations such as the International Peace Culture Festival, Biennial Arts and Culture Festival of Tirgan, and Peace Quest International.
Dr. Francesca Leoni
Curator of Islamic Art
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Francesca Leoni is a lecturer at the Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East at the University of Oxford. She also serves as the University of Oxford’s KRC research associate, Fellow at Wolfson College, and the Yousef Jameel curator of Islamic art at the Ashmoelean Museum of Art and Archaeology. Her interests as a researcher include the history and circulation of technologies, Islamic arts of the book in pre-modern and early modern times as well as cross-cultural exchanges between the Islamic world, the Western world, and Asia. Selected publications include Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art, co-edited with Mika Natif (2013) and Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam, exhibition catalogue, with Ladan Akbarnia (2010).
Dr. Lloyd Llewelyn-Jones
Senior Lecturer of Ancient History
School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones is a senior lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh and a specialist in the history and culture of ancient Iran, Greece, and Egypt. His research focuses on the history, culture, and society of Achaemenid Iran and of ancient Greek perceptions of Persia. Llewellyn-Jones’s interests reach into the royal court, monarchy and the Great King, royal women, the ancient Persian body, and the role of dress in Persian culture. He received his PhD and MA from the University of Wales and his BA from the University of Hull. His current research focuses on the image of the body of the Great King of Persia in Greek and Near Eastern sources, and on the role and semiotics of dress in the Persian Empire. He has co-authored a volume entitled, Ctesias’ History of Persia: Tales of the Orient (2010) as well as a publication named King and Court in Ancient Persia (2013), a study of Persian court society and the role of monarchy in ancient Near Eastern cultures.
British Museum, Foam Amsterdam
Vali Mahlouji is a London-based curator, writer, translator, and current independent curatorial adviser to the British Museum on its modern and contemporary Iranian collections. His recent curatorial work included guest curator at Foam, Amsterdam (Kaveh Golestan—The Citadel) and co-curator at Musee d’Art Moderene de la Ville de Paris and MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome. His research platform, Archaeology of the Final Decade, engages in curatorial and educational programs, events, and publications with the aim of raising awareness about contested areas within arts and culture that have remained obscure, under-exposed, over-looked, or destroyed. The first phase of this research has produced to exhibitions shown at the Musee d’Art Moderne and MAXXI entitled, Restaging the Contested Space of the Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis (1967–77), and Recreating Shahr-e No.
Dr. Farzaneh Milani
Professor, Persian Literature and Women's Studies
University of Virginia
Author, Words Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement and The Gender of Modernity and Counter-Modernity in Iran
Farzaneh Milani is professor of Persian literature and Women’s studies at the University of Virginia, where she is the Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Culture. She served as president of the Association of Middle Eastern Women Studies in America and received the All University Teaching Award in 1998. In addition, she has served as the Executive Officer of the American Association of Persian Teachers, on the Board of Executive Directors of Middle East Studies Association of North America, and on the Advisory Editorial Board for the Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures. Milani has published over 100 articles, epilogues, forewords, and afterwords in Persian and English. Selected publications include: Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement (2011); A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Bebhbahani (1999); and Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers (1992).
Dr. Morad Montazami
Adjunct Research Curator, Tate Modern
Curator, UNEDITED HISTORY: Iran 1960-2014
Morad Montazami is an adjunct research-curator at Tate Modern, for the Middle East and North Africa, supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation. Montazami also serves as the Editor in Chief of the journal Zaman, which focuses on post-orientalism, cosmopolitan modernities, and the intercultural traffic at the crossroads of the Middle East and Europe. Until recently, he was the professor of Art History, Visual Culture, and Cultural Studies at the Advanced Institute of the Arts of Toulouse, France. Montazami has a Masters degree in English literature and civilization (LLCE) from the University of Nanterre, Paris and is about to complete his PhD in History and Theory of Art at the Ecole des hautes etudes en science sociales (EHESS). Montazami is the author of several articles and essays on various artists such as Farid Belkahia, Bahman Mohassess, and Davood Emdadian.
Iranian Artist, based in NYC
Nicky Nodjoumi is a well-known Iranian artist whose work premiered in several prominent collections worldwide. Notable establishments such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Museum in London, the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, the National Museum of Cuba, as well as the Taymour Grahne Gallery have exhibited his pieces. In conjunction with his solo exhibition at Taymour Grahne Gallery in September 2013, his work was also a part of Iran Modern, which opened at the Asia Society in New York. Nodjoumi received his education from notable institutions such as Tehran University of Fine Arts (BA) and The City College of New York (MA).
Dr. Venetia Porter
Curator, Islamic and Contemporary Middle East
Department of the Middle East, The British Museum
Venetia Porter is a curator for the British Museum and is responsible for the collection of Islamic art, in particular of the Arab World and Turkey as well as developing the collection of the modern and contemporary art of the Middle East. She was the previous curator of Islamic coins in the Department of Coins and Medals and recently curated the exhibition, Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam (2012). Porter received a degree in Arabic and Persian from the University of Oxford, followed by M.Phil. of Islamic Art. She later obtained her Ph.D. on, ‘the history and monuments of the Tahirid dynasty of the Yemen 858-923/1454-1517’ from the University of Durham. Selected publications include: Hajj: Collected essays (2012); The Art of Hajj (2012); Arabic and Persian Seals and Amulets in the British Museum (2011); Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East (2006); Mightier than the Sword, with Heba Salih (2004); and Islamic Tiles (1995).
Dr. Siavush Randjbar-Daemi
Lecturer in Iranian History
School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures, University of Manchester
Siavush Randjbar-Daemi is a lecturer of Iranian History at the University of Manchester. Prior to arriving at Manchester, he taught Middle Eastern and Iranian History at Royal Holloway and the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. Randjbar-Daemi received his education from several universities such as: London School of Economics, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (MA), and University of London Royal Holloway (PhD). He is the Book Reviews Editor (History) for the Iranian Studies academic journal and is preparing to teach the only specialist course on the Iranian Revolution of 1979 in the UK. He is presently writing a book entitled, Controlling Iran: The Struggle for Power in the Islamic Republic, forthcoming in October 2015. His published journal articles include: “Building the Islamic State: The Draft Constitution of 1979 Reconsidered”, “Bar Bal-e Bohran [Flying on the Wings of Crisis] (Book Review)”, and “The Quest for the State in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Artist, Contemporary Art
Narmine Sadeg is the artist in residence for both the Villa Arson in Nice and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Sadeg is also a lecturer of Fine Arts at the University Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux III. Between sculpture, drawing, video and installation, her works explore the notion of foreignness and invisible borders. These works have been exhibited at various institutions such as: the Galerie Giovanna Minnelli in Paris, Museum & CAVS at MIT, the Contemporary Art Centre of the Villa Arson in Nice, the Basilisk Gallery of Copenhagen, and the Werkstatt Gallery in Berlin. One of Sadeg’s exhibitions includes a surreal and disconcerting 2004 installation ’Office of Diverted Trajectories’, which presents a multimedia interpretation of Attar’s mystical 12th century Persian folk tale, Mantegh Ol-Teyre (The Conference of the Birds).
Human Rights Activist
Member, Committee of Human Rights Reporters in Iran
Producer and Reporter, Voice of America
Kianoosh Sanjari is an Iranian journalist and human rights activist and is currently a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters in Iran and the Democratic Iran Society. Additionally, he writes an English blog covering news about Iranian political prisoners and is a member of the Iranian Blog Writers. In the past, he has been the producer, reporter, writer, and anchor for Voice of America, a spokesperson for the Iranian Political Prisoners Association, and a consultant at the Freedom House. Sanjari also publishes Farsi articles and interviews regarding human rights violations and the situation of Iranian political prisoners.
Sculptor, Painter, Scholar, and Art Collector
Founder Member Saqqakhaneh Movement
Parviz Tanavoli is a critically acclaimed artist who is widely acknowledged as the “father of modern Iranian sculpture”. Based in Tehran and Vancouver, Tanavoli was a leading influence among a generation defined by its commitment to artistic practices that are both modern and distinctly Iranian. Over many decades, he has refined a complex system of symbols and motifs into a distinctive visual lexicon, fusing Persian traditions with pop sensibility. His work entwines profound sensitivity to language, formal clarity, and conceptual engagement into a forcefully original artistic practice. Tanavoli has written many publications, dating back over three decades. Selected publications include: The Afshars (in press); Gabbeh: Art Underfoot (2004); Tribal and Rustic Weaves from Varamin (2003); Persian Flat-Weaves (2002); Horse and Camel Trappings from Tribal Iran (1998); Sofreh of Kamo (1996); Kings, Heroes and Lovers (1994); and Shahsavan: Iranian Rugs and Textiles (1985).
Dr. John Vafai
Research Fellow at Archival
Former Deputy Minister, Social and Economic Development of Iran
Former Director, Legal Affairs and OPEC Negotiations, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)
John Vafai is an expert in international and petroleum law. Vafai is recognized as a leading practitioner in the areas of international business law, business immigration, foreign direct investment and licensing, and natural resources and energy law. He has advised national governments and multi-national oil companies at the highest levels, previously serving as Deputy Minister of Social and Economic Development of Iran, Counsel to the Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Province, Russia, and the Director of Legal Affairs and OPEC Negotiations for the National Iranian Oil Company. He previously served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., a visiting legal scholar at Columbia University School of Law, editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, and winner of Yale University’s Ford Foundation James Raymond Goodrich Prize for legal scholarship. Vafai earned his Doctorate in Juridicial Science (J.S.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M) from Yale University, his Masters in Public Administration (M.P.A) from Harvard University, and his Juris Doctorate (JD) from the University of Tehran, School of Law.
Adjunct Scholar, Middle East Institute
Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation
Alex Vatanka is an Adjunct Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. and as well as the U.S.-based Senior Middle East Analyst at HIS Jane’s. He currently lectures as a Senior Fellow in Middle East Studies at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field. Between 2001 and 2006, Vatanka served as a senior political analyst at Jane’s in London, where he mainly covered political developments in the Middle East. From 2006 to 2010, he became the managing editor of Jane’s Washington based Islamic Affairs Analyst and joined the Middle East Institute as a scholar. Vatanka holds a BA in Political Science (Sheffield University) and MA in International Relations (Essex University) as well as a specialization in Middle Eastern affairs with particular focus on Iran. His forthcoming book entitled, Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy, and American Influence and is set to be published in June 2015.
Dr. Marvin Weinbaum
Scholar-in-Residence, Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.
Former Intelligence and Research Analyst for Afghanistan and Pakistan, US Department of State
Marvin Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and scholar-in-Residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. where he provides analyses on Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, terrorism, development issues, political economy, and democratization. He also lectures at the Foreign Service Institute and has held adjunct fellowships at Georgetown and George Washington universities. He previously served as an analyst in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research for Afghanistan and Pakistan. His research, teaching, and consultancies have focused on the issues of national security, state building, democratization, and political economy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Weinbaum received his education from Brooklyn College (BA), University of Michigan (MA), and Columbia University (PhD). He is the author or editor of six books and has written more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Selected publications include: Egypt and the Politics of U.S. Economic Aid (1986); Food, development, and politics in the Middle East (1982); Pakistan and Afghanistan: Resistance and Reconstruction (1994).
Dr. Judith Yaphe
Senior Research Fellow and Middle East Project Director, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University
Former Middle East Specialist, CIA
Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University
Judith Yaphe is an adjunct professor in the Elliott School and Senior Research Fellow and Middle East Project Director in the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. Before joining INSS in 1995, Dr. Yaphe served for 20 years as a senior analyst on Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf issues in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA. She specializes in Iraq, Iran, Arabian/Persian Gulf security issues, and Political Islam/Islamic extremism. Yaphe received the B.A. with Honors in History from Moravian College and the Ph.D. in Middle Eastern History from the University of Illinois. Selected publications include Strategic Implications of a Nuclear-Armed Iran with Dr. Kori Schake, (2001), The Middle East in 2015: The Impact of Regional Trends on U.S. Strategic Planning (2002), The United States and the Persian Gulf, ed. by Richard D. Sokolsky (2003)