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CNES and the Iranian American Community
Celebration of Persian New Year (No Ruz) in Westwood, Photo: David Hirsch

CNES and the Iranian American Community

A relationship that spans nearly a quarter-century

The Center's relationship with the large and diverse Iranian-American community in Southern California goes back to the early 1980s when, with the support of a National Science Foundation grant, the Center conducted a survey and photographic study of the Iranian immigrant community in Los Angeles, focusing on religious diversity and economic adaptation, and resulting in the publication of Irangeles: Iranians in Los Angeles (University of California Press, 1995). The Center was instrumental in bringing to the United States and to Los Angeles Mohammad Reza Shajarian, one of Iran’s leading classical singers; composer and instrumentalist Hossein Alizadeh; writers Ahmed Shamloo and Bozorg Alavi; and the first post-revolution festival of Iranian cinema, sponsored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and now an annual event in its 14th year.

CNES continues to document the scholarly, cultural and artistic output of the community, for example on Middle Eastern American Resources Online. The Center also supports the Iranian Studies Program, headed by Professor Hossein Ziai, in developing courses designed for the large numbers of Iranian-American students at UCLA, including seminars on Iranian literature in the Diaspora and the preservation of Persian as a heritage language.

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