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Understanding the Challenge of Iran Is Focus of Yale Conference


New Haven, Conn. — Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) will hold a two-part conference, “Understanding the Challenge of Iran,” on April 29 in New York City and on April 30 in New Haven.

The event is free and open to the public and the media. Pre-registration is required to attend the New York event, email Lauren Clark.

“It is crucial to understand the implications of the challenge that the Iranian regime poses to democratic principles and human rights at the regional and international levels from an analytical and scholarly perspective,” says Charles Small, director of YIISA. “The regime attempts to garner support in its use of classical antisemitic tropes. In doing so it not only gains legitimacy among those who fall pray to the politics of hate, but also removes much-needed attention on the dramatic human rights abuses within Iran and the structural removal of democratic institutions and practices. It also deflects from the real socio-economic and developmental issues of governance that the Middle East must face.”

Conference speakers include American and international scholars and thinkers such as Saeed Paivandi, professor of sociology at Paris-8 University; Karim Sadjadpour, director of the Carnegie Iran Initiative; Roya Boroumand, executive director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, and others.

The conference will open at the Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, at 6:45 p.m. on April 29. Following dinner, experts in the field will speak and take questions. Panelists are David Menashri, director of the Center for Contemporary Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University; journalist Mehrangiz Kar, outspoken Iranian women’s rights spokesperson; and Irwin Cotler, professor of human rights at McGill University and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

On April 30, the conference will resume at Yale in Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Room 101, 63 High St., at 9 a.m. Morning panels are titled “The Iranian Regime and Human Rights” and “The Regime: Ideology, Politics and International Terror.” Afternoon panels will focus on “Iranian Society and ‘The Other’” and “International Law: Terror and Incitement to Genocide.”

For more information and a complete schedule, go to

Partial list of speakers:

Hooshang Amirahmadi is a professor of urban planning and policy development and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Rutgers University. He is founder and president of the American Iranian Council, the founder of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis and president of Caspian Associates, Inc. He has served as chair and graduate director of his department at the Bloustein School and as the University Coordinator of the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program. He was a candidate for president in the ninth presidential election in Iran in June 2005, but the conservative and religious Guardian Council disqualified him because of his American citizenship and democratic platform. Amirahmadi is the author of four books, editor of 10 books and 16 conference proceedings on US-Iran relations.

Andrew Apostolou is the associate director of programs, Saban Center, Brookings Institute. He formerly worked for The Economist Group’s Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Before joining the EIU, he was a freelance researcher on Central Asia and the Middle East for the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He completed his doctorate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.

Roya Boroumand holds a history doctorate from the Sorbonne (France) and specializes in contemporary Iran. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran and is currently working on an Internet-based project to promote human rights education in Iran. She has co-authored several articles on the political situation in Iran and has researched and written about women rights and family law in North Africa.

Patrick Clawson is the deputy director for research at The Washington Institute for Near Policy. He is the author or editor of 24 books and monographs, including “Eterman Iran: Continuity and Chaos” (with Michael Rubin) and “Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran” (Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, 2005, edited with Henry Sokolski). Clawson has authored more than 70 articles, appears frequently on television and radio, and has published op-ed articles in major newspapers.

Irwin Cotler serves as a Canadian Member of Parliament and is the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. As Minister of Justice, he tabled Canada’s first-ever National Justice Initiative Against Racism, in parallel with the government’s National Action Plan Against Racism. Cotler has worked with a group of international jurists to indict Iranian President Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide under the UN Charter and the Genocide Convention. A professor, scholar and lawyer, he is a professor of human rights law (on leave) at McGill University.

Gregory Gordon is an assistant professor of law at the University of North Dakota. Previously he worked with the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the first international post-Nuremberg prosecutions of radio and print media executives for incitement to genocide. In 2003, he joined the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations, where he helped investigate and prosecute Nazi war criminals and modern human rights violators. Gordon has been featured on C-SPAN, NPR and Radio France International as an expert on war crimes prosecution and has lectured on that subject at the US Army JAG School and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library.

Malvina Halberstam has been a professor of law at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law since 1976, where she specializes in international law, terrorism and criminal procedure. Halberstam is a member of Cardozo’s founding faculty and served as a counselor on international law for the US Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor. As counselor, she supervised the State Department’s comments on what became the “Restatement of U.S. Foreign Relations Law (Third)” and headed the US delegation in the negotiations on the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, adopted in Rome in 1988. She is coauthor of “Women’s Legal Rights: International Covenants an Alternative to the ERA?” She is a member of the American Law Institute, Advisory Committee of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security and the boards of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

Liora Hendelman-Baavur is a research fellow of the Center for Iranian Studies (CIS) at Tel Aviv University. She teaches courses in modern Iranian history and media of the Middle East. Her dissertation focused on gender representations in Iranian popular culture and the printed press during the 1960s and 1970s.She is a co-editor of “Iran-Pulse,”overviews on Iranian current affairs, published by theCIS. Her current research focuses on the use of modern communication technologies in Iran.

Mehrangiz Kar is an Iranian journalist and one of the most celebrated advocates for women in Iran. In 2001, she was convicted of charges of acting against national security and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic regime. She was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and was also based at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2002, she received the National Endowment for Democracy’s Democracy Award, presented by First Lady Laura Bush, and also the Ludovic Trarieux Prize in recognition of her life’s work.

Meir Litvak is a senior researcher at theCenter for IranianStudies at Tel Aviv University and a senior lecturer in its Middle Eastern History Department. Having received his doctorate at Harvard University, Litvak specializes in the study of Iranian history, Palestinian affairs, Arab anti-Semitism and perceptions of the Holocaust.

David Menashri isdirector of the Center for IranianStudies and professor in the Department of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University and deanof the University’s Special Programs Division. Hehas been a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Princeton and Cornell. His research focuses on the social and political history of modern Iran, education and modernization in the Middle East, Shi`i political thought and Central Asian affairs. Menashri is the author of numerous books and published papers on Iranian politics.

Saeed Paivandi is a professor of sociology at Paris-8 University and is a leading Iran expert. He is the author of “Discrimination and Intolerance in Iran’s Textbooks,” a report that revealed the prejudice deeply ingrained in the books that make up the core of Iran’s school curriculum. He is one of the few Western scholars to specialize in Iran’s post-revolutionary education system and has contributed greatly to studies in this area.

Tom Parker is the executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. He is the former CEO of the Halo Partnership Consulting Firm, which has designed and executed transitional justice projects for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the United States Agency for International Development and the Darfur Peace and Development Organization.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School, and editor of the Middle East Quarterly (a publication of the Middle East Forum). Between 2002 and 2004, Rubin worked as a Country Director for Iran and Iraq in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, from which he was seconded to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Charles Small is the director for the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA). He received a Doctorate of Philosophy from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. He lectures in the Ethics, Politics & Economics Program at Yale University.


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