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The Persian Studies Program has a limited amount of event funding. To apply, fill out this application form and email it to Emma Harver at There is no deadline as funding is approved on a case by case basis.

Be sure to visit the events calendar hosted by the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations for information about upcoming events in the Triangle area.

Nowruz at UNC Library – Thursday March 19, 2015 – UNC Chapel Hill

Persian Studies at UNC will be at the center of this program.  UNC graduate students Matt Hotham, Matt Lynch, and Candace Mixon will discuss their research and recent travels to Iran, with context provided by Prof. Carl Ernst who leads the Persian Studies program.

  •  5:30 p.m. Reception, Main Lobby, Louis Round Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Campus
  • 6:15 p.m. Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room



Negar Mottahedeh, ‘Crude Extractions: The Quest for Oil and the Construction of an Imaginary Modernity in Iranian Cinema’

February 10, 2015 @ 5:30 pm, FedEx Global Education Center, Nelson Mandela Auditorium301 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States

Negar Mottahedeh

Negar Mottahedeh

Negar Mottahedeh of Duke University is a cultural critic and film theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern studies and film studies. She will speak on contemporary Iranian film.
See the story on this event in the Daily Tar Heel.




Kadivar Keohane Flyer

Theology, Ethics, Politics: Three Challenges for Islamic Reform

 Mohsen Kadivar

 November 12, 2014; Keohane lecture; UNC-Chapel Hill

 The text of the lecture is available here.


Lectures by Prof. Mohsen Kadivar, Duke University,

on the philosophical allegories of Shihab al-Din Suhrawardi

sponsored by the Iranian Circle of Culture and Wisdom

and the UNC Persian Studies Program (all lectures in Persian)

Friday, February 6 at 5:45pm   Simurgh’s Shrill Cry – صفیر سیمرغ

Friday, January 9 at 6:00pm   On the State of the Childhood فى حالة الطفولية

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 5:45pm  A Day with the Community of Sufies روزی با جماعت صوفیان

  Friday, November 14, 2014 at 5:30pm The Red Intellect عقل سرخ

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 5:30pm: The Story of Birds  قصه ی مرغان  

All lectures at FedEx Global Education Center at UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Live streaming of all lectures here



 Workshop on Central Asia

October 17, 2014 @ 9:00 AM4:30 PM

Interrogating Change: Central Asia between Timelessness and
Friday October 17, 2014, 9:00am­ – 4:30pm
Hamilton Hall Room 569
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keynote Address:
Robert Crews, Stanford University
Presenters: (detailed program available here)
Sarah Cameron, University of Maryland, College Park
Devin DeWeese, Indiana University
Benjamin Gatling, Duke University
Maya Peterson, University of California, Santa Cruz
Kevin Schwartz, University of Maryland, College Park
Eren Tasar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations

This conference is made possible by the InterAsia Program of the Social Science Research Council with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Workshop Description

This workshop revisits the academic compartmentalization that has characterized studies of Central Eurasia by reimagining this region as an experientially interconnected sphere of commonalities and convergences transcending national borders and conventional disciplinary boundaries. The organizers envision a novel topography of nineteenth and twentieth century Central Eurasia as a distinct space at once Islamic and Asian. Such a configuration opens up new possibilities for conceptualizing the region as an integral participant in a broader landscape incorporating the Middle East, South Asia, China, and Russia. In bringing together a variety of scholars with different expertise in the study of Central Asia, this workshop revisits longstanding scholarly boundaries and explores how Central Asian Studies can offer unique contributions to broader debates in the humanities and social sciences.


Hamidreza Ghelichkhani

April 3, 2014. Hamid Reza Ghelichkhani, Demonstration: Traditional Persian Calligraphy ~ 2:00-4:00 p.m.; Lecture: Contemporary Persian Calligraphy ~ 6:00-7:30 p.m.  Murphey 104, UNC-Chapel Hill


March 25, 2014, 5:45 pm. Nowruz Persian New Year Celebration. Wilson Library, Pleasants Family Assembly Room.


February 10, 2014, 6:00pm. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, University of Maryland:  “Animating Modernism in Persian Poetry: Nima Yushij and His Immediate Successors.” FedEx Global Education Center, Room 3024, UNC-Chapel Hill


April 28, 2012: Mohammad-Reza Shajarian & the Shahnaz Ensemble will give a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center. A winner of the United Nations’ Picasso Award and Mozart Medal as well as one of NPR’s “50 Great Voices,” Shajarian has become Iran’s most iconic singer during his committed four-decade career. More than a rich and moving voice that seems to echo down the ages, he is a steadfast moral rudder for a tumultuous historical period. In Durham, Shajarian — with 17 musicians playing traditional instruments, some of his own design — reveals the magnificent ancient poetry of classical Persian songs.  View the flyer for this event here. Tickets available through DPAC BOX OFFICE and Duke Performances’ website, Tickets: $55 • $45 • $35 • $5 Duke students. For the pre-concert video interview with Shajarian, click here.

April 10, 2012: Middle East Seminar with Mohsen Kadivar, “Evolution of the Relationship of Islam and the State in Post-revolutionary Iran.” Lecture will begin at 4pm in Room 240 in the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University.

April 4, 2012: Film and Discussion. A screening of Al Jazeera’s “Letters from Iran,” a documentary on the aftermath of the Green Revolution. Introduction and discussion led by Prof. Omid Safi, Dept. of Religious Studies. The screening will begin at 5pm in UNC’s Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the FedEx Global Education Center.

April 3, 2012: Film: “Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness”. Abdul Latif Salazar’s powerful exploration of the life of one of the world’s greatest philosophers. Introduction and discussion led by Prof. Carl Ernst, Dept. of Religious Studies. The screening will take place at 5:00pm in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium at UNC’s FedEx Global Education Center.

April 2, 2012: Persian New Year talk, music, and reception presented by the Graduate Student Association of Iranians at Duke. The talk will be given by Dr. Sarami, an Iranian author and poet born in Ramhormoz a small town in southwest of Iran. He has received Ph.D. in Persian Literature and Language from University of Tehran, in 1968. He is an associate professor of Persian Literature and language at Zanjan University. He is an expert in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings), Bayhaghi’s History, and Hafiz, Sa’di, Rumi and other masters of Persian literature and poetry.  View the flyer for this event here.  RSVP by Monday, March 26th to or (770) 875 1042.

March 28, 2012: Persian Calligraphy Workshop with Dr. Mohammad Ali Bathaee. During this workshop, you will be introduced to the art of Persian calligraphy and learn more about this art, and also learn to write your name in a calligraphic design! Please RSVP to Shahla Adel at This event is free and open to the public. View the flyer for this event here.

March 26, 2012:Professor Wheeler M. Thackston presents the lecture, “Autobiography, Memoirs, and Apotheosis: Histories of the Mughal Emperors of India.” The first four emperors of Mughal India left unusual records of their reigns. In this talk, by the editor and translators of these autobiographies and memoirs, the emperors’ literary styles and historical value will be assessed. Co-sponsored by Islamicate Graduate Student Association, Persian Studies Program, Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, and Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies.

March 17, 2012: UNC Persian Cultural Society and Persian Studies at Carolina present Norooz: A Persian New Year Celebration at UNC-Chapel Hill. Please join us for a magical night celebrating the most ancient Persian holiday. We will have student performances, dancing, Persian music, and a delicious buffet of Persian food! We will also have an exclusive UNC-themed Haft Seen. $10 for UNC Students (Onecard required) $15 for Non-UNC Students (valid student ID required) $20 for Non-Students. View the flyer for this event here. Tickets will be sold in the Pit and also available online: http://payforno​rooz.web.unc.ed​u/ Co-sponsored by: Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations & Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies

March 1, 2012: Ali Kadivar, “Fear, Uncertainty, and Solidarity in the 2009 Iranian Uprising.” In last two years, the political landscape of the Middle East has been going through dramatic change. We cannot forget that this wave of popular uprising started in June 2009 in Iran, although it was brutally suppressed. This talk contextualizes the elite struggles within the Islamic Republic and pro-democratic supporters in Iranian society. After offering an overview of the history of the protest movement in Iran, Ali will discuss the protest participants and their motivations for participation, focusing on the use of social media, including blogs, used by activists. Ali Kadivar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at UNC. He grew up in Iran and received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from the University of Tehran. He was an active participant in the Iranian student movement. Ali’s current research focuses on social movements, the democratization processes, and authoritarian resistance in the Middle East. The lecture will begin at 5:30pm in Room 1005 of UNC’s FedEx Global Education Center. Refreshments will be served. Free parking is available after 5pm at the GEC! Click here to visit the event’s Facebook page, or download the event flyer here. Sponsored by the Persian Program at Carolina. This lecture is part of the Islam in the Global Context Speaker Series.

February 20, 2012: Paul Losensky, of Indiana University, Bloomington, presents “Where the Sun of Poetry Rises: The Concept of Creative Effulgence and its Imagery” – The Poetry of Sa’eb Tabrizi. This talk will explore how Sa’eb himself tried to understand the productive energy that made him not only the most original poet of the age but also its most prolific. In giving concrete imagistic form to the abstract philosophical concept of feyz, or creative effulgence, Sa’eb’s poetry enacts its dynamic force in the play of metaphor and an ethics of artistic creation and spiritual awakening. The lecture will be given at 6pm in Room 1005 of the FedEx Global Education Center on UNC campus. Paul Losensky is an associate professor in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies and the Department of Comparative literature at Indiana University, Bloomington. His recent publications include a translation of Farid ad-Din Attar’s Memorial of God’s Friends and In the Bazaar of Love: The Selected Poetry of Amir Khusrau (with Sunil Sharma). He is currently a fellow at the National Humanities Institute.

January 25, 2012: Dr. Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), will discuss his new book: “A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran”. “Have the diplomatic efforts of the Obama administration toward Iran failed? Was the Bush administration’​s emphasis on military intervention, refusal to negotiate, and pursuit of regime change a better approach? How can the United States best address the ongoing turmoil in Tehran? This book provides a definitive and comprehensive analysis of the Obama administration’​s early diplomatic outreach to Iran and discusses the best way to move toward more positive relations between the two discordant states. Trita Parsi, a Middle East foreign policy expert with extensive Capitol Hill and United Nations experience, interviewed 70 high-ranking officials from the U.S., Iran, Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Brazil—includin​g the top American and Iranian negotiators—for his latest book. Parsi uncovers the previously unknown story of American and Iranian negotiations during Obama’s early years as president, the calculations behind the two nations’ dealings, and the real reasons for their current stalemate. Contrary to prevailing opinion, Parsi contends that diplomacy has not been fully tried. For various reasons, Obama’s diplomacy ended up being a single roll of the dice. It had to work either immediately—or not at all. Persistence and perseverance are keys to any negotiation. Neither Iran nor the U.S. had them in 2009.”

November 7, 2011: “Shirin Ebadi: A Simple Lawyer” will be show at 7:30 pm in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the Fed Ex Global Education Center (UNC-CH) as part of the “Middle East Film Series.” This documentary profiles Iranian attorney Shirin Ebadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts for democracy and human rights, in particular the struggle for the rights of women and children.

October 5, 2011: “Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution” will be show at 6:00 pm in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the Fed Ex Global Education Center (UNC-CH) as part of the “Middle East Film Series.”  Despite political turmoil and cultural isolation — and sometimes even because of them — Iran has served as fertile ground for filmmakers for more than seven decades, as witnessed by this tribute to Persian cinema from Nader Takmil Homayoun. From escapism to social realism, the new wave of the 1970s, and the more poetic films of recent years, this homage traces the history of Iranian filmmaking through a fascinating array of clips and interviews.

May 1, 2011: Women’s Voices Chorus (WVC), along with string orchestra, will perform a spring concert entitled “Return to Joy”  at 4:00 PM, Duke Chapel, Durham. The program includes “Songs from Behind the Caravan” by Abbie Betinis, with lyrics in Persian by Hafiz. Dr. Amir Rezvani, president of the Persian Art Center in North Carolina, will discuss Hâfez from 3:00-3:30 pm in the Chapel. Tickets available atwww.womensvoiceschorus.organd at the door, $15 adults, $5 students.

April 21, 2011: Maryam Mosharraf, professor of Persian literature, Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran),“Mystical Interpretation of the Qur’an according to Ruzbihan Baqli.” 4:00-6:00 pm, 2008-2010 FedEx Global Education Center, UNC.

March 12, 2011: In Celebration of Nowrouz: Mamak Khadem Ensemble. Page Auditorium, Duke University, West Campus, 7:00-9:30 pm. Admission: Free

October 10, 2010: Persian Music Concert: Salar Aghili & Raz-o-Niaz Ensemble, with Hossein Behroozinia. Tickets available through Duke University Box Office. 7:00 p.m., Page Auditorium, Bryan Center, Duke University. Proceeds from this program benefited the UNC Persian Studies Program.

May 22, 2010: Persian Music Night at UNC: A Variety of Iranian Traditional, Classical, Pop, and Folkloric Music