Iran Study Group

The Iran Study Group, co-chaired by USIP Senior Advisor Daniel Brumberg and Farideh Farhi, brings together a dozen scholars who are engaged in original research and analysis on the complex internal dynamics and developments in Iran, with a focus on factors and institutions that shape public policy making, government-opposition relations, and the evolution of Iran’s judiciary.  The Study Group papers will be completed by late spring 2012 and USIP will host a series of public events to set out the findings. USIP's Iran Program >>



Daniel Brumberg

Daniel Brumberg is Senior Adviser to the Center for Conflict Management, where he focuses on issues of democratization and political reform in the Middle East and wider Islamic world. He is also an associate professor at Georgetown University and a former senior associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s Democracy and Rule of Law Project (2003-2004).

Dr. Brumberg was also a Jennings Randolph senior fellow at USIP, where he pursued a study of power sharing in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Brumberg was a Mellon junior fellow at Georgetown University and a visiting fellow at the International Forum on Democratic Studies. Brumberg is the author of many articles on political and social change in the Middle East and wider Islamic world.  A member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and the advisory board of the International Forum on Democratic Studies, Brumberg is also chairman of the nonprofit Foundation on Democratization and Political Change in the Middle East.

He received his B.A. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Farideh Farhi

Farideh Farhi is an Independent Scholar and Affiliate Graduate Faculty of political science at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She has taught comparative politics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Hawai'i, University of Tehran, and Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran.

Her publications include States and Urban-Based Revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua (University of Illinois Press) and numerous articles and book chapters on comparative analyses of revolutions and Iranian politics and foreign policy. She has been a recipient of grants from the United States Institute of Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation and was most recently a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the International Crisis Group.

Yasmin Alem

Yasmin Alem is an Independent Iran analyst and the author of Duality by Design: the Iranian Electoral System. Ms. Alem has served as a consultant to international organizations and NGOs, including the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

She holds a Master of Business Administration in International Organizations from the University of Geneva.

Mehrzad Boroujerdi

Mehrzad Boroujerdi is Associate Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where he also serves as the Founding Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program and Founding Co-Director of the Religion, Media and International Relations Program. In addition to more than thirty journal articles and book chapters in English and Persian, he is the author of books translated into Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. He is also the editor of a forthcoming volume entitled Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and Theory of Statecraft. 

Dr. Boroujerdi has been the recipient of grants from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute of International Education, the U.S. Department of Education, and the United States Institute of Peace. Since 1996, he has served as the editor of over 28 books that Syracuse University Press has published under the imprint of Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East. 

Dr. Boroujerdi received his B.A. in Political Science and Sociology (Magna Cum Laude) from Boston University, and his Ph.D. in International Relations from the American University in Washington, D.C.

Fatemeh Haghighatjoo

Fatemeh Haghighatjoo is a part-time Faculty member at UMass Boston’s Women’s Studies program. An expert on Iran’s internal affairs and a leading advocate of human rights, women’s rights, and democracy in Iran, she is also founding chair of the Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy, Inc. (NID).  Dr. Haghighatjoo was a member of Iran’s reformist parliament from 2000-2004.

Dr. Haghighatjoo has held academic posts at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Connecticut. She has published a book chapter and several papers on the Iranian women’s movement.  She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled A Voice for Truth. In 2005, Dr. Haghighatjoo earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from Tarbiat Moallem University in Tehran, Iran. She has served as an assistant Professor at the National University of Iran, and authored a book entitled Search for Truth (published in 2002). She was honored as a Young Global Leader 2005 by the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Haghighatjoo has been extensively interviewed and quoted by the international media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, BBC Persian TV and Radio, Voice of America, CNN, and others. Since arriving in the United States, she has given numerous talks regarding women’s rights and internal politics in Iran.

Kevan Harris

Kevan Harris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at The Johns Hopkins University.  He has received numerous awards including the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Fellowship which funded his fieldwork in Iran from 2009-2010.  He frequently contributes to the USIP Iran Primer Blog on labor, economy, and social issues in Iran.


Mehrangiz Kar

Mehrangiz Kar is a writer, attorney, and activist specializing in women's rights and family law.  Currently, she is a resident Fellow with the Dubai Initiative (DI) at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Her focus is currently on analyzing the role of the constitution in Iran’s internal conflict and examining viewpoints of different factions as well as the likely outcomes of the constitutional and political disputes between them. Ms. Kar was also a Visiting Professor at Brown University in the Pembroke Center in. Ms. Kar has practiced law in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 22 years.  
A recipient of several human rights awards, including the National Endowment for Democracy’s Democracy Award (2002), Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize (2002), and the Human Rights First Award (2004), Ms. Kar sits on the board of a number of international organizations such as Human Rights Watch’s Advisory Committee on the Middle East (2000-2011). 

Ms. Kar received her B.A. in Law and Political Science from Tehran University and has been a visiting scholar and fellow at several universities including Harvard University, Wellesley College’s Newhouse Center for the Humanities, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute, and the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town.

Shervin Malekzadeh

Shervin Malekzadeh received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the Department of Government at Georgetown University.  His dissertation focused on the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran to produce the New Islamic Citizen through schooling.  His most recent publication is "Children Without Childhood, Adults Without Adulthood:  Changing Conceptions of the Iranian Child in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Textbooks (1979-2008)” forthcoming in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. 

Prior to his graduate studies, he spent several years as a bilingual first grade and kindergarten teacher in Latino communities in California and Washington, DC.  There, he became interested in how teachers, parents, and students negotiate between their personal needs and beliefs and the school curriculum.  This experience continues to inform his approach to teaching and his research interests, which include the politics of identity and modern state formation, power as a cultural and discursive phenomenon, the religious foundations of nationalism, the comparative politics of the Middle East and Latin America, and the negotiation of hegemony at the local level.  Shervin has lived and worked in Chile and Brazil, as well as in Qatar where he taught comparative politics at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Payam Mohseni

Payam Mohseni is a Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics at Georgetown University. His research interests include authoritarian and hybrid regimes, political economy, democratization, and Middle East politics. He undertook two years of fieldwork in Iran for his doctoral dissertation, which focuses on the mechanics of regime resiliency and transformation in guardian regimes.

He received his B.A. in Development Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and his M.A. in Conflict, Security and Development at King’s College London, Department of War Studies.


Azadeh Pourzand

Azadeh Pourzand is a recent graduate of Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and Nijenrode Business Universiteit in NL. Currently she works as a freelance consultant and a researcher for a number of international organizations focusing on strengthening civil society in the Muslim world.