Collections and Resources, Gifts and Grants

Endowment Will Build Persian-Language Library Collections at UNC

Students of Persian language and culture at UNC will benefit from expanded library collections, thanks to a new endowment established by Dr. Ali Jarrahi of Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Jarrahi Family Library Fund for Persian Studies will provide sustained library support for one of the most rapidly growing programs at the University.

“Tens of millions of people speak Persian or one of its variants,” said Carl Ernst, co-director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. Most speakers live in Middle East and Central Asian countries such as Iran and Afghanistan.

“Not only does this region have a long and rich culture,” said Ernst, “but its prominence in world events has driven an unprecedented interest in Persian studies.”

Persian language has been taught at UNC since 2000 in the Department of Asian Studies, said Ernst. A growing number of UNC faculty members and graduate students use Persian in their research and as they prepare for careers in government, the military, and nongovernmental organizations active in the region.

The $25,000 contribution will be the cornerstone of an endowment that Middle East and African Studies Librarian Mohamed Abou El Seoud can tap to purchase books, journals, films, and language learning resources. Through cooperative agreements, affiliates of Duke, North Carolina Central, and North Carolina State universities will also have access to the new materials.

Jarrahi is an Iranian-born psychiatrist who completed his training at UNC in 1967 and earned a master of public health degree from the University in 1969. Two of his three daughters are also UNC graduates. Jarrahi and his family are long-time supporters of the University.

“What is wonderful about this endowment is that it guarantees ongoing support for key resources like periodical subscriptions,” said Ernst. “We are extremely grateful for this generous and thoughtful gift.”

Because endowments must grow over time before they yield expendable income, the Library also seeks donations of books and cash gifts that may be used right away to support Persian studies. Abou El Seoud maintains an online wish list of the most urgently needed items.

For more information about the Library’s Persian collection and ways to support it, contact Abou El Seoud at, (919) 843-3859, or Emily Silverman, Associate Director of Library Development, at, (919) 962-3437. Further information about the Persian Studies program at UNC is available at

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