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How Iranians and Iran Changed the life of an American Woman

Mona Khademi
Thu February 2nd 2023, 10:00 - 11:00am
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Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
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Mona Khademi will examine the extraordinary life of Laura Barney and her deep and enduring connections with Iranians and Iran, and their impact on her life. Laura Barney learned Persian, traveled to Iran in 1906, visited several cities there, and met many Iranian dignitaries and government officials. She also met Iranian officials and scholars outside of Iran. 

Laura Barney was born in Ohio in 1879 but lived much of her life in Paris. She was introduced to the Baha’i Faith in 1900 in Paris and accepted its teachings. This sudden and profound change in the life of this young woman would have lasting consequences throughout the rest of her long life. She traveled to Akka, Palestine, the same year and met the son of the founder of the Baha’i faith, Abdu’l-Baha, who was then confined to prison. She compiled a book based on his responses to questions she posed to him titled Some Answered Questions, which was published in 1908 in three languages and became a major Baha’i book.

Laura Barney’s humanitarian activities reflected her spiritual beliefs in the equality of men and women, world peace, and the oneness of humankind. She promoted these principles through her selfless work with the League of Nations and the International Council of Women, and later with the United Nations. She used her social privileges and blessings to become a feminist, global thinker, and peace builder. For her services to France, she was named Chevalier and later Officer of the Legion of Honors.

Laura Barney sitting among a group of people in IranPhoto credit Smithsonian Institution Archives

Mona Khademi received her BA from Pahlavi University (today’s Shiraz University), Master's Degree in Arts Management from the American University, and has worked towards a PHD degree at Imperial College in London.

As an independent researcher, Khademi has presented papers at conferences in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, England, and several cities in the US. Her articles have been published in several journals and magazines, quarterlies, and as chapters of books.

Khademi started her research about the life of Laura Clifford Dreyfus-Barney in 2000 and has presented papers and published articles on this subject. Based on this research, she wrote the full biography titled The Life of Laura Barney which was published in June 2022.

Mona Khademi is the Director of International Arts Management Consulting in Washington, D.C. Through her consulting firm, she promotes global understanding through exchange of arts and cultural programs. Her areas of interest include development and management of international cultural and arts programs. She is a member of the American Alliance of Museums.

If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at iranianstudies [at] (iranianstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu).  Requests should be made by January 21, 2023.