The cultural effects of mass migration

JULY 15, 2016

Detail of a work by Iranian artist Ali Bozorgmehr

The new Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies will extend the study of Persian culture through scholarship, engagement and cultural programs. (Above: Detail of a work by Iranian artist Ali Bozorgmehr.)

In 2015, the world witnessed one of the largest mass migrations in recent history as more than a million migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans crossed into Europe. How will this seismic shift in populations and cultures affect Europe’s cities and towns as well as the migrants themselves 20, 30, or 40 years from now? Some clues may be found in past episodes of mass migration, including one following the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

In order to better understand the short- and long-term impacts that Iranian migration has had on a broad array of communities, SF State has established the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies and created a distinguished chair to lead the center, both made possible by a $5 million gift from alumna Neda Nobari (’84).

"Mass migration is one of the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century," said Neda Nobari in speaking about her motivation for making this leadership gift to the University. "It's also an opportunity to learn. Nearly 37 years have passed since the Iranian Revolution and migration of Iranians across the globe. The diversity of these cross-national communities and their cultural evolution provides a window for scholarship and research into their impact on the Iranian socio-cultural identity and the relationship between individuals and different communities around the world. This center will be a catalyst for understanding and studying the Iranian diaspora in the larger global context."

Read more about the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies >>>
Read about the inaugural Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair >>>
Read how a former refugee and recent graduate responded to today’s migrant crisis >>>



Making an Impact

Neda Nobari (B.S. ’84)

Neda Nobari emigrated from Iran to the United States in 1978 at the age of 15. She credits her parents with inspiring her passion for giving. “My parents were always helping others in their community,” she explains. “I learned from them the responsibility that goes along with being human and a member of the larger family of humanity. This code was embedded in my DNA from the beginning, so I always volunteered my time and gave money to charities, even as a broke student.”

Neda Nobari graduated from SF State in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in computer science and earned a master's degree in liberal studies from Dartmouth College in 2015. A former director and vice chair of bebe stores, Inc., she is founder and president of the Neda Nobari Foundation, which supports organizations and initiatives associated with the arts, film and education in service of social justice and cultural awareness. She is also a member of the SF State Foundation board.

Hear Neda Nobari speak about her SF State experience and motivation for her leadership gift >>>

Neda Nobari