Persepolis ruins

Mission & History

The Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University provides an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary platform for the study of modern Iranian history, culture, politics, society, and economy.

The Program also serves as a forum for scholars, experts, practitioners, and artists from Stanford and beyond to teach, collaborate, and study Iran.

Iran as a civilization is one of the oldest in the world. Modern Iran has been a pivotal force in shaping the crucial region of the Middle East. It is increasingly important for scholars, policy analysts, and decision-makers in every field to understand the intricacies of modern Iranian society, and the interplay between economics, religions, ideologies, and political cultures that together shape Iran’s character and behavior.

Generous support from the Bita Daryabari Endowment for Persian Studies enables the Program to more deeply engage Iranian arts, cultures, and languages.

Established in 2004 and endowed in 2006, the Program is part of the Stanford Global Studies Division in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Decennial Report cover

Iranian Studies Decennial Celebration

"Ten years ago, when a generous endowment by Hamid and Christina Moghadam enabled Stanford University to launch the Iranian Studies Program, there was not a single course on modern Iran offered here. The mandate of our program was, from its inception, an interdisciplinary study of modern Iran.

We began by concentrating on courses on Iranian society, politics and religion. With Bita Daryabari’s generous donations we were able to expand into cultural domains, and offer new courses on Iranian cinema, theater, and literature. We also helped expand the university’s offerings in Persian languages. Today, four faculty members, teaching in different domains and disciplines at Stanford, are supported by the Iranian Studies Program.

Ten years ago, our activities were limited to our meager offerings and a handful of lectures — all focused on modern politics…