Iranian-American to speak on 'the making of modern Iran' on Oct. 15

The Center for Democratic Deliberation will present Hooman Majd, author and speaker about Iran, in a talk at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15, in Foster Auditorium in Pattee Library on Penn State's University Park campus. Majd's talk is titled “The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: Culture, Politics, Ethics, and the Making of Modern Iran.” All Penn State students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to attend.

Majd brings his style and political savvy to answer several timely and important questions: Who are Iranians? How did they come to be? And what do they really think about America? What emerges is a surprising, timely portrait of Iran as it really is -- not as we presume it to be.

Majd was born in Iran and raised and educated in America. He continues to travel frequently between the two countries; in a sense, he is both 100 percent Iranian and 100 percent American. The son of an Iranian diplomat and the grandson of an eminent Ayatollah, Majd has worked as an adviser and translator for two Iranian Presidents, Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on their trips to the United States and the UN. Majd has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Salon and GQ, among others. His 2008 book "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran" was selected as one of the best books of the year by The Economist and the Los Angeles Times and was a New York Times bestseller.

The talk is co-sponsored by the Department of History and Religious Studies Program, the Department of Political Science, the Rock Ethics Institute, the Schreyer Honors College, and the Migration Studies Project.

For more information about this event or the Center for Democratic Deliberation, please visit or contact Cheryl Glenn, co-director, at 814-863-0271 or

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Glenn in advance of your participation or visit. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.

Last Updated January 09, 2015