Neda Nobari, a respected alumna, and Iranian-American philanthropist have awarded San Francisco State University with $5 million to help them establish the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies (CIDS).
The lump sum of money will ensure that San Francisco State becomes an academic pioneer related to Iranian diaspora research. CIDS will aim to approach the Iranian diaspora field of study in a vigorous, fresh and dynamic way. They will cover the ways that diaspora communities impact Iranian identity regarding their contributions and developments. The Center will be the number one place for new academic programs that aim to encourage engagement among Iranian communities on both a local and global level. Also, the Center will illustrate how to utilize new models of research and scholarship as well as creating multiple interdisciplinary opportunities for both students and faculty in all State campuses and international institutions.
San Francisco State University President Les Wong expressed his gratitude for the generous gift. He explained how the money would be used to help prepare students to think globally along with the needs of the 21st century. He also spoke about how proud the University feel to be the first people to launch such a project. The project will help produce a new generation of outstanding business leaders, extraordinary policy makers, cultural ambassadors and incredible artists to successfully explore and understand Iranian heritage. Given the wide variety of San Francisco State University community, it is the perfect location to launch such a project.
The topic of mass migration was highlighted as one of the most crucial challenges for the 21st century explained Nobari. She believes it is a chance for people to acquire knowledge and increase understanding. Just over 37 years have passed since the time of the Iranian Revolution and migration of Iranian’s around the world. Such communities provide us with a valuable insight into the cultural evolution and an important chance to provide research and scholarship opportunities. The Center will be at the heart of understanding and examine the Iranian diaspora in a larger global context.
In 1978, aged just 15 years old, Nobari immigrated from Iran to the United States. In 1984 she graduated in computer science from San Francisco State University and later in 2015, earned a masters in liberal studies while studying at Dartmouth College. Her masters research heavily focused on the intersection of diaspora and cultural identity among Iranian-American females. Nobari was also the director and vice chair of Bebe Stores, Inc. as she wanted to distance herself from profit-driven foundations. She also plays an important role at San Francisco State University as a member of the board of directors.