October 22, 2008, Washington, D.C. – The Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute Center for Persian Studies, University of Maryland at College Park, the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, and the Library of Congress are sponsoring a unique and timely International Conference on Iranian Jewry. The conference will be held from November 1-3, 2008 at the University of Maryland, Van Munching Hall.
Beginning with the Achaemenid period and lasting beyond the emigration of a portion of Iran’s Jewish population to the State of Israel in 1950s, Jews have had a complex interaction with the Persian state and culture. The Jews of Iran comprise not only one of the oldest populations of Jews in the world, but also one of the most ancient threads in the multifarious fabric of the ancient Iranian community. This interdisciplinary conference encourages investigations not only with an eye on contemporary socio-political dynamics, but further, and more importantly, with the aim gradually to fill some of the lingering gaps in our knowledge about Iranian Jewry, ultimately to enrich both fields of Iranian and Jewish studies.
PAAIA supports and applauds the sponsors for organizing the International Conference on Iranian Jewry, which will undoubtedly shed much needed light on a topic of great interest and importance to the Iranian American community. We also applaud the vision and timely efforts of Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, the Founding Director and Professor of Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, without which this conference would not have been possible.