Welcoming Comments from Pourandokht Pourdavoud Naficy, Spring 2017

Chancellor Gene Block, Dean David Schaberg, Honored Guests, Dearest Family and Friends,

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome you today, on behalf of the family, to this wonderful event at UCLA. We, the family of the late Ebrahim Pourdavoud, my beloved father, are most grateful that you have travelled from near and far to be present at this launch of the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World at UCLA.

I am sure my father would have been thrilled to see and witness that even in the New World, curiosity and interest in ancient civilizations has prospered so well and that a whole new generation of students and scholars are dedicating time, some just in their youth but others with a lifelong commitment, to the study of and research into, a better understanding of what our ancestors were all about. I am convinced that he would have argued, in that gentle but entirely persuasive way of his, that better understanding and appreciation would undoubtedly lead to respect and the acceptance of other cultures and peoples. The fragile social fabric of today’s much challenged world civilization requires us all to strive ever harder towards that better understanding and appreciation.

So many at UCLA and beyond have worked long and hard to make today possible. I am so very grateful to all of them. My daughter Anahita and my son in law, James Lovelace, began a journey with a clear vision intended to help establish a center of excellence. Their support and enthusiasm for this concept was far and above being just the initial benefactors. They, together with UCLA’s esteemed Chancellor Gene Block, Dean David Schaberg, Rahim Shayegan and others, have spent a great deal of time and effort guiding this project to fruition. I think all of you will join me in thanking them.

The Pourdavoud Center will now move from a dream to delivery. Courses will be taught and research carried out, papers written and conferences convened. It will reach out to all with an interest not just in ancient Iranian languages, religions and culture but to those with a keen belief in the importance of cross cultural exchanges and respect for the roots and heritage of others. I wish them well and hope that you can all encourage and support the Center into the future. Thank you.