New Iranian Studies Institute celebrates spring and renewal with poetry and song

April 7, 2021 by A&S News

More than 130 people from around the world gathered online with the U of T community to celebrate spring and renewal.

The inaugural Nowruz celebration of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies drew viewers from as far as Germany, Norway, Lebanon, Qatar, India and New Zealand. During the hour-long celebration, Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, welcomed Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, professor of history and Near and Middle Eastern civilizations, as the institute’s inaugural director. 

Sholeh Wolpé performing.
Renowned Iranian-born poet, playwright and literary translator Sholeh Wolpé.

“Nowruz has been celebrated for several millennia in Iran and the world beyond,” explained Tavakoli. “The celebration of natural beauty and diversity has long served as a symbol of religious, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity within the larger global Iranian community. Nowruz is also an occasion for renewal of friendship through reciprocal visits and gift giving.”

The event also provided an opportunity to recognize the generosity of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, whose visionary gift in 2020 created the institute.

The celebration featured a performance by Sholeh Wolpé, a renowned Iranian-born poet, playwright and literary translator, and Sahba Motallebi, an Iranian-born musician who has captivated audiences around the world with her skill on the tar, setar and shoorangiz.

Watch highlights from the Nowruz celebration

Watch the full Nowruz celebration