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Author of Acclaimed Book about “The Iranian Schindler” to Speak at USF Event

Public invited to attend discussion regarding little-known rescuer of thousands of Jews in World War II

Fariborz Mokhtari, PhD

The Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies (CSDS) at the University of South Florida will host Fariborz Mokhtari, PhD,whose book In the Lion’s Shadow chronicles the dramatic story of a courageous Iranian diplomat who saved thousands of Iranian Jews from the hands of the Nazis during World War II. The free event will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the Patel Center for Global Solutions on the USF Tampa campus. It is co-sponsored by the Florida Holocaust Museum, USF Hillel, Morris & Bertha Escoll Center for Jewish Campus Life and the USF Libraries Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center.

The night will include a conversation between Mohsen Milani, PhD, CSDS executive director and USF professor of political science, and Mokhtari, a political science professor at the University of Vermont. His work has been featured by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Times of Israel, Haaretz, and the Jewish Chronicle, as well as in newspapers such as the Washington Post, the Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald.

In the Lions Shadow: The Iranian Schindler and His Homeland in the Second World War (The History Press) was published in 2012 and details the efforts of a junior Iranian diplomat named Abdol-Hossein Sardari, who found himself in charge of Iran’s delegation in Paris, after the Nazi invasion of France. In spite of enormous personal risk, he began cultivating relationships with German and Vichy officials in order to protect France’s Iranian Jews, who would otherwise have faced certain death. The tale of Sardari’s bravery offers an important and inspirational message of hope amid the divisiveness and conflict on today’s world stage. The book’s title is a reference to heralded German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who, despite being a member of the Nazi party, is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust – a story told in the 1993 Oscar-winning movie Schindler’s List.

Mokhtari was born and raised in Iran, but earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from College of Wooster (Ohio); and the University of Delaware, respectively. In 1973, he returned to Iran, where he worked as a journalist, fulfilled his military obligation, created an agri-business enterprise, and served as Deputy Executive Director of the Iran-British Chamber of Commerce.

Milani is an internationally recognized scholar, and was a research fellow at Harvard University, Oxford University, and the Foscari University in Venice, Italy. He has authored more than 80 publications in top peer-reviewed academic and respected journals. Under his guidance, the USF Center for Strategic & Diplomatic studies has become an international hub for research and discourse regarding serious security issues facing the world. In addition to hosting visits from renowned diplomats and journalists, Dr. Milani hosts in-depth, ongoing “conversations” on an array of topics, including a “Book Talk Series” that brings Dr. Mohktari to USF.

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