The immense academic experience that students interested in the wider world receive at the University of Oklahoma is set to get even more in depth as OU recently announced that it has plans on adding a Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies. Thanks in part to a $4 million donation by the Farzaneh Family Foundation, future Sooners will have an opportunity to develop a better cultural understanding, appreciation and awareness of the United States and its relations with Iran and the Middle East.

The gift is the largest of its kind in the university’s history from former students who came to OU from international destinations. Brothers Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh are both graduates of OU, holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Norman-based institution. They own one of Oklahoma’s most well known home construction companies, Home Creations. They came to Oklahoma in 1978 from Iran.

According to the report in the Oklahoman newspaper, “The gift will help fund scholarships for Iranian students and for students studying Persian language, three endowed professorships, an endowed lectureship, and a prize for Iranian Literature. The gift also will establish a Persian artwork fund and an endowed Persian book collection.”

Read more the full story online here.

This isn’t the first time the Farzanehs have supported higher education in Oklahoma. In February 2015, they made a gift of $1.6 million to Oklahoma State University which will support a faculty chair and four professorships in Iranian and Persian Gulf studies. According to OSU, the total impact will be more than $6 million after adding the matching funds from Boone Pickens and the Oklahoma Legislature.


The University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies will be hosting a wide ranging presidential dream course this fall examining the balance between energy, climate change and security concerns across the globe.

Four guest speakers will take part in the course:

  • September 8, 2015 at 12 p.m. inside the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Scholars Room – Dr. Daniel Ahn, Senior Advisor to the chief economist at the U.S. State Department examines the role of energy revenues in empowering the Islamic State (ISIS) and fueling conflict throughout the Middle East.
  • September 17, 2015 at 12 p.m. at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Regents Room – Professor in Public Policy at the Central European University, Andreas Goldthau, will discuss the status of the European Union’s regulatory framework and global political economy.
  • October 15, 2015 at 12 p.m. in the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Regents Room – Edward Morse, Managing Director and Head of Global Commodities Research at Citigroup Global Markets Inc., will give a presentation on the ongoing shifts in the global energy order in a time of seismic shifts.
  • November 17, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Zarrow Hall, J.J. Ryhne Room – David Victor, Director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego will discuss the  history of collective action on climate change and strategies that might be more effective to combating it in the future.

RSVPs are required prior to all events with The lectures are free and open to the public. To learn more about the lecture series or the college of international studies, please visit–climate-and-security.html.