Dr. Parsi is an SSP Adjunct Associate Professor, an award-winning author, and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East.
Where are you from and what path brought you to SSP?
I was born in Iran but I grew up in Sweden. I did my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins SAIS and after leading the largest national Iranian-American organization for more than a decade, I was asked to teach a course on the geopolitics of the Middle East at SSP in 2014.
What are you working on right now?
To see if there’s a way to fix US foreign policy in the Middle East.
What is your favorite thing about SSP?
The students! The best students I’ve ever come across have been here at SSP.
If you could tell your grad school self one thing, what would it be?
If you could teach any course at all, what would it be?
The course I teach in the fall semester is my favorite one, on the geopolitics of the Middle East.
What is your favorite thing to do in DC?
I love the parks around Great Falls. I go trekking there with my family.
What would your advice be to SSP students looking to start a career in your field?
Don’t fall in the trap of becoming an expert on a geographical area without having the other side of the coin. That is, a good grasp of IR theory is needed in order to be able to see the bigger picture.