By Alex Shashkevich
When the Iranian Studies program began in the 2005-06 academic year, only two classes were offered. Since then, under the direction of Abbas Milani, the program has expanded significantly.
Today, as the program celebrates its 10th anniversary at Stanford, it continues to bring a thoughtful and immersive perspective to the study of Iran and its place in the world.
Students now have the opportunity to dive into the history of Islam and other religions in Iran, dissect the modern politics of the country, learn Persian through a series of language courses or discover the country’s contemporary cultural movements and its world-renowned film scene.
These subjects are among many that are taught in about 20 Iran-specific classes offered as part of the program each academic year.
“From a geopolitical perspective, Iran is one of the most important countries in the world, yet there had been very little research and policy work on Iran carried out at leading universities in America,” said Hamid Moghadam, a business executive who served on Stanford’s Board of Trustees for 10 years. “We saw an opportunity to start a program at Stanford under the directorship of Abbas Milani to educate our country’s future leaders on Iran, its politics, strategic importance and relationship with America and the rest of the world.”
Milani, who has been at Stanford since 2003, shared some of his thoughts on the significance of teaching the history, culture and complexities of Iran.