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March, 2016


Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Shirin Ebadi In Conversation with SJSU Persian Studies Director Persis Karim

The first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi, in conversation with San Jose State University Persian Studies Program Director, Persis Karim.


shirin-ebadi   Persis Karim

Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
(Transcript of conversation will be available online shortly)

“If you go on as you are now, we will be forced to end your life. If you value it, stop slandering the Islamic Republic. Stop all this noise you are making outside the country. Killing you is the easiest thing we could do.”

In Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi’s memoir, Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran, Ebadi chronicles how these words were written on a notepad and thumbtacked to her front door in Iran. Until We are Free charts Iran’s tumultuous 20th century history and the years of personal intimidations she received from the Islamic Republic of Iran—wiretapping her phones, bugging her law firm, sending spies to follow her, arresting her sister, and even confiscating her Nobel medal.

Ebadi says it wasn’t until she received a phone call from her distraught husband—the Iranian government set a trap for Ebadi’s husband filming a staged liaison, putting him on trial, and making him denounce her on camera—that she realized what the intelligence apparatus was capable of doing to silence its critics.

Ebadi will be in conversation with Persis Karim, a professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at San Jose State University the Director of their Persian Studies Program.

"Shirin Ebadi has paid a tremendous price for defending women's rights, human rights, and the rights of dissidents in Iran,” says Persis Karim. “Her work and her commitment are particularly inspiring to women and to Iranians of the diaspora worldwide."

Persis Karim will speak with Shirin Ebadi about Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 7:30 p.m. at Kepler’s Book in Menlo Park, California. A transcript of the sold out conversation with Shirin Ebadi will be available on San Jose State University’s Persian Studies program shortly.

For inquiries contact Persis Karim at persis.karim@sjsu.edu.


Dr. Shirin Ebadi was born in 1947 in Hamadan, Iran. Educated in Tehran, she became one of Iran’s first female judges, and in 1975, the youngest and first female chief magistrate of Iran’s 26th Divisional Court. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, all female judges were dismissed. In 1992, Dr. Ebadi set up a private practice handling contentious cases and was incarcerated, charged with spreading lies against the Islamic Republic. In 2003, she won the Nobel Peace Prize and used some of the prize money to set up the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Dr. Ebadi left Iran for a conference shortly before the June 2009 presidential election and did not return. The government filed a legal case against her, confiscated her properties on the pretext of unpaid taxes, and arrested her sister and husband. Dr. Ebadi continues her activities in de facto exile.

Persis Karim is a professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at San Jose State University. She is also the founding director of Persian Studies. She is the editor of three anthologies of Iranian diaspora literature, and has written numerous articles on Iranian-American literature and culture. You can learn more about her work at www.persiskarim.com.



Iranian-American filmmaker, Ana Lily Amirpour's
"A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night"

March 3, 2016, 5:30pm
Dr. Martin Luther King Library – room 255/257
150 E. San Fernando St. San Jose, CA 95112
Free and Open to the Public

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Spring, 2016 — Full Schedule 

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