Mr. Maleki's Weblog


Reading Brecht in Tehran
Numerous young Iranians left their country in the late 1970s and early 1980s to study in the U.S. During that period, the country became gripped in a major struggle ending in regime change. Iran transitioned from the monarchy of the Mohammed Reza Shah to the establish ment of an Islamic republic.
Many U.S. universities had opened their doors to Iranian students, as the Shah supported and sponsored a significant number of programs to educate both young people and career professionals at American universities. During the interim quarter century, close to a million of the Iranians educated in the U.S., chose not to return home and settled permanently in places like Los Angeles, New York and Boston. They have become successful new Americans playing leadership roles in their fields of expertise. They are simultaneously part of the two worlds we seek to connect in this exchange program.

The exchange program brings a career high school literature teacher from Tehran, Mr. Mansoor Maleki, to visit many of his former students who live in various U.S. cities and have experienced the dual identity as Iranian Americans. Mr. Maleki always had a knack for touching the lives of his students and introduced them not only to classical Persian poetry but also to great Western writers, such as Ernest Hemmingway, Walt Whitman, Bertolt Brecht and Jack London.
His educational legacy continues to inspire generations of students, with his literary skill and insightful reflection. He has a talent for creating meaningful and moving relationships.

These qualities ideally equip him to facilitate a process of exploration and literary expression of the Iranian American experience. As former students reconnect with their teacher, through personal exchange and memory, the discourse of two colliding cultures emerges. The polarized logic is thus replaced with a dynamic process of modeling human experience back and forth; building identity, reflection and understanding.