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This past month, OCPC had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dr. Thomas Klammer, the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Cal State Fullerton, regarding the Farsi classes currently offered there. Both Cal State Fullerton and the Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County’s goal is to find a way to introduce the Persian culture to Americans, as well as teach Iranian-American students –- many of whom have lived their entire lives in the United States –- about the Persian language and culture. Currently about 50% of the students taking Farsi classes are Persian which means the other 50% are non-Persians!

” “We have about 33,000 students on campus and about 700 of them are Persian,”” Dr. Klammer explained. “”Foreign language is very important for the community and for communication in general.””

Currently CSUF offers these classes in the 200 level courses and they are hoping to get even more Iranian students involved. To give us a little more of a background on the history of how these Farsi classes got started, we spoke with Maryam Molavi, a member of the Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County (ICCOC).

” “We are proud to have worked with Cal State Fullerton in launching the first Persian studies and language program in Orange County, a place that is home to so many Iranians. No major university has offerred the Farsi language as an accredited foreign and general education course,”” explained Molavi.

These accredited classes at the university level, which started fall semester 2003 at CSUF, are open to all students with little or no background in the Farsi language. “”In the past we have had some group organizations that have given benefit performances in support of the Persian classes at CSUF including NIPOC (Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County) as well as a program including the former Black Cats music group and the Behzad and Rudaki Ensemble. I thank all of them including OCPC for supporting this program and informing the Persian community about this very important program,”” said Molavi.

ICCOC which seeks to preserve knowledge of Persian Language, literature, and culture worked closely with CSUF, and the University Advancement Foundation to set up a Persian Studies account for further education and research. Growth, advancement and development of Persian Studies program depend on the Iranian community’s donations and active participation.

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