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Trita Parsi named Alumnus of the Year 2016

2016-09-28

Portrait of Trita Parsi

Trita Parsi, Uppsala University’s Alumnus of the Year 2016.

Uppsala University’s Alumnus of the Year award 2016 goes to political adviser and Iran expert Trita Parsi. His studies at Uppsala University became a foundation for an international career. He has, among other things, been an adviser at the White House, won awards for his books on international relations and worked in the UN General Assembly with human rights issues.

Each year, Uppsala University awards the title of Alumnus of the Year to an alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to their professional field, or has accomplished something else worthy of honouring.

This year, the award goes to political adviser and Iran expert Trita Parsi.

“I almost fell off my chair when I got the call from Deputy Vice-Chancellor Anders Malmberg. It is a great honour to receive this award”, says Trita Parsi.

“I have always felt that the education I got at Uppsala University not only gave me the tools that have helped me acheive my goals, but also the values. Helping to solve international conflicts doesn’t just require an understanding of the forces behind them, but also a world view where the belief in the possibility of creating peace is stronger than the fear that fortifies status quo”, says Trita Parsi. “I am forever greatful of Uppsala University for having given me a world view which enables peace work.”

Trita Parsi started his academic studies with a Master’s degree in international relations at Uppsala University. This was followed by another Master’s degree in economics at Stockholm School of Economics. He received his PhD in international relations at the John Hopkins University in the US.

Trita Parsi has been an unofficial adviser to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He has won awards for his books on international relations and has worked in New York for Sweden’s ambassador to the US where he handled matters concerning Afghanistan, Iraq, Tadjikistan and Western Sahara. He has also worked in the UN General Assembly with human rights issues.

Trita Parsi, who was born in Iran and has personal experience of the fight for democracy in the country, chose to use his experience and his knowledge of theory to found the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Through the NIAC, Trita Parsi has created a platform for influence and knowledge. Among other things, he has played a role in the nuclear negotiations where his efforts helped the US and Iran to peacefully solve the nuclear conflict and avoid yet another devastating war in the Middle East.

From the jury citation:

“Through his passionate work for democracy and development, Trita Parsi has become a role model who has taken action in society. His articles on Middle East issues have been published in world-leading journals and he can often be seen on CNN, NPR and Al-Jazeera. Trita Parsi personifies Uppsala University’s ultimate goal: to contribute to a better world.”

Read a longer interview with Trita Parsi

Read more about the Alumnus of the Year award