The PARSA Community Foundation has contributed $200,000 toward an endowment at California State University, Fresno as part of a series of grants promoting Iranian studies programs throughout North America.
Part of a total of $2.4 million in grants to various universities in the U.S. and Canada, the Fresno State grant will help establish the "PARSA Community Foundation Visiting Scholar in Persian and Cultural Studies" position. The PARSA grant is also matched dollar-for-dollar by the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, and is pooled with a previous $500,000 Roshan grant for a total $900,000 endowment.
Fresno State was selected for the endowment, in part, because 20,000 Iranian families and students call the Central Valley home, far from urban centers, according to PARSA. Vida Samiian, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State, is in the process of building and expanding the Persian language and culture components as part of a Middle East Studies Minor.
"As the minor includes a two-year language requirement in one of the languages of the region, the establishment of an Endowed Professorship in Persian Language and Culture is indispensable to the success of the program," according to a news release from PARSA.
Other universities receiving PARSA grants include UC Davis, UC Irvine, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley.
The PARSA Community Foundation "promotes strategic philanthropy and social entrepreneurship within the Persian-speaking communities around the globe. PARSA CF identifies organizations and projects with long term impact and supports them through grants and networking," according to the release.