For the first time in its history, the University of Southern California's Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences will offer a minor in Iranian studies, as part of an initiative launched in November 2010 through the support of Farhang Foundation.
The university has also hired its first lecturer of Iranian History and Culture, Dr. Hani Khafipour, who has now joined the faculty at USC's Middle East Studies Program to facilitate the newly created minor program.
"I am very excited to join the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Southern California, and contribute to the development of a firm Iranian studies at USC," said Dr. Khafipour. "With Farhang Foundation's support and collaboration, I am confident that we will advance Iranian studies in Southern California, and American academia at large."
The minor in Iranian studies is the latest in a series of milestones in what has been a ground-breaking undertaking at USC. Sponsored by Farhang Foundation, the initiative set out to offer Persian language courses and a minor in Iranian studies at USC Dornsife. In fall 2011, Persian language courses taught by Professor Peyman Nojoumian began through USC Dornsife's Middle East Studies Program.
Farhang Foundation's Iranian Studies Initiative at USC has benefited greatly by engaging Iranian-American communities in Los Angeles and across California to contribute more than $875,000 in support. This endeavor is inspired by the belief that second and third generations of Iranian-Americans, as well as non-Iranians, deserve access to a systematic education in Persian language and culture, particularly in Southern California where so many Iranian-Americans reside.
"This landmark achievement at USC Dornsife is proof that when a community comes together, great things can happen," said Dr. Haleh Emrani, chair of Farhang Foundation's Iranian Studies Council. "The Iranian studies minor at USC Dornsife will provide students of all ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to learn the Persian language and thereby gain a deeper understanding of Persian culture, which is a significant step toward creating a tolerant and compassionate future."