Azadi Monument in Iran

Series: Prospects and Challenges for Transition to Democracy in Iran

The Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University is convening a series of events in response to the on-going fight for freedom by the people of Iran. Most recently, the Woman, Life, Freedom uprisings that began with the death of Mahsa Amini in September, 2022, have highlighted the plight of the Iranian people and their brave struggle for equality, dignity, and representation. This series of events will bring together scholars, experts, and key figures to discuss and assess the prospects for Iran's  transition from the Islamic Republic regime to a secular democracy. 

Part I: "Dialogues on Iran's Transition to a Secular Democracy" Conference 

March 25-26, 2023

The Iranian Studies Program partnered with and KAI in a two-day conference that partially covered several of the topics related to the broader series of events. 

Conference Details and Agenda

This conference convened Iranian academics, experts, activists, cultural figures and entrepreneurs with diverse political and societal beliefs to explore such a vision and identify challenges and pathways to support and inform the Iranian society in the process of transition to democracy.   

The conference was a culmination of months-long inclusive stakeholder engagement in workshops and surveys, including 100+ academics, entrepreneurs, civil society activists (women's movement, labor movement, and religious, ethnic, and gender minorities). 

The following panels were organized by the Iranian Studies Program: 

Challenges of Transition in Comparative Perspective

Speakers: Larry Diamond, Michael McFaul, Abbas Milani

Language: English

Key Challenges and Pathways for Transition (Hambastegi group discussion)

Speakers: Masih Alinejad, Nazanin Bonyadi, Shirin Ebadi, Hamed Esmailioun

Moderator: Abbas Milani 

Language: Persian

Pacted Transitions and Applications to Iran

SpeakersHicham Alaoui, Abbas Milani

Language: English 

Human Rights Data Collection for Judicial Processes

Speakers: Allein Weiner, Bailey Ulbricht, Abbas Milani

Language: English 


From Esther to Persepolis: Harbingers of Woman, Life, Freedom

Speakers: Mahnaz Afkhami, Homa Sarshar, Marjane Satrapi

Moderator: Dr. Mandana Zandian

Language: Persian (with English translation subtitles)

Additional panel recordings from the conference will be made available as soon as possible. 

Part II: Challenges and Prospects for Dynamic Entrepreneurship in Iran’s Transition to Democracy

April 21, 2023 

Event details 

Speakers: Faraj Aalaei, Siavash Alamouti, Fay Arjomandi, Afsaneh Beschloss, Hamid Moghadam, and Shane Tedjarati. 

Moderator: Abbas Milani

Language: English (with Persian translation captions)

Part III: Women and Democratic Transition

Details forthcoming 

Part IV: A Democratic Constitution: Ethnic and Religious Minorities 

Details forthcoming 


Additional conferences and events will be added throughout the year.

This series is additionally supported by the following: