About the Center

The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies is the first and only academic institution of its kind -- dedicated to research and teaching about the historical and cultural experiences of the global Iranian diaspora.

Our Mission

Drawing upon San Francisco State University's robust academic foundation of ethnic, racial and social justice, the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies inspires interdisciplinary inquiry and exploration of Iranian diaspora experience and its impact on transnational identity.

The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies fosters innovative and collaborative scholarship between faculty and students and engages with complex and pressing subjects such as nationalism, immigration, xenophobia, gender, sexuality and identity.

The Center's research, programming, and projects examine overlooked and underemphasized narratives, advocate for new forms of scholarly engagement and support collaboration between individuals and institutions.


The Center prepares a new generation of policy makers, business leaders, artists and cultural ambassadors to effectively understand and engage with people of Iranian heritage.

The Center serves as a unique and valuable academic and cultural resource providing an innovative approach to the study of and research about Iranian diasporas and their impact on the Iranian identity.

The Center also models new methods of research and knowledge distribution that emphasize:

  • exposure to students through public lectures;
  • the development of collaborative opportunities for faculty and students across San Francisco State’s colleges to engage in research, scholarship and service about Iranian Diaspora communities globally; and,
  • a platform for academic programs (lectures, film-screenings, music and other cultural events) that fosters intellectual engagement and conversation with local and international communities.

Watch philanthropist Neda Nobari and Dean Andrew Harris discuss their hopes for the Center


Persis, DirectorThis center, the first of its kind, represents a bold new initiative for a field that has been gaining international recognition. The center’s vision is to support and disseminate this new scholarship and to showcase the diverse and unique cultures of Iranian diaspora communities in the Bay Area, California and globally. Revolution, war, migration and the complex transnational identities that emerge from these circumstances are shared by so many other communities and cultures today. The center draws on SF State’s strong foundation of studying ethnic, racial and social justice issues in the arts, humanities and social sciences to create opportunities for collaboration and exchange around the Iranian diaspora both in and outside the University.

- Dr. Persis Karim, Director