IDI’s mission is to facilitate educational dialogue and exchange between Tufts University students and students at the School for International Relations (SIR) in Tehran. This is a non-polemical and non-political initiative. In 2004, IDI organized the first official U.S. university visit to Iran since the 1979 revolution, where ten Tufts students spent two weeks traveling through Iran and meeting with their peers at SIR as well as at Mofid, a religious university in Qom.
Why Iran: Rationale
Iran's 1979 revolution severed all government ties, as well as most non-governmental ties, between Iran and the United States. Twenty-five years later, the countries and their people still know little of each other, allowing room for stereotypes, misperceptions, and misrepresentations. As the U.S. seeks to broaden its engagement in the Middle East, Iran will be a pivotal player. Building bridges between peoples from Iran and America on issues ranging from politics to music, from public health to education, and exploring avenues of fostering greater understanding between both peoples will be important to both countries. Our current status as Iranian students at Tufts University presents us with a unique opportunity to expose our fellow Tufts' peers to the realities of contemporary Iran, beginning with an annual trip to Iran (the pilot trip to Iran concluded in June 2004).
As part of the Tufts student group -- New Initiative for Middle East Peace NIMEP) -- the Iranian Dialogue Initiative derives from NIMEP's goals of being a resource and model for progressive research, discussion, and engagement with the Middle East; creating a vibrant educational environment, reflective of NIMEP's diverse student constituency, that is conducive to respectful intellectual exchange; and providing students with unique opportunities for rigorous, immersive, and experiential education.
In the short-term, the goals of IDI are:
While, as a student initiative, IDI's long term goals will evolve from the trip feedback and the contributions of students in both the US and Iran, some possibilities based on our discussions in Iran include: