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Going Off-Mic with a Farda Regular

Radio Farda contributor Azadeh Kian-Thiebaut, teaching at the University of Paris –Diderot. Photo by Javier Franco for RFE/RL.

Dr. Azadeh Kian-Thiébaut discusses Radio Farda's presence in Iran and some of the lesser known aspects of social and political trends.

It is probably no surprise to Iranian listeners to learn that Dr. Azadeh Kian-Thiébaut is one of the world's most distinguished researchers on gender, ethnicity, and identity in Iran. The Paris-based sociology professor, who frequently contributes to Radio Farda, says her "day job" at the University of Paris - Diderot is spent studying how modernity affects vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities and women in her native country.
"On Radio Farda, I know I will be listened to."

Like many Iranian ex-pats, Kian’s life prior to 1980 was a period of doubt. The university purges following the revolution forced Kian to flee Tehran in order to continue studying political science and sociology. She took a bus to Istanbul, managed to avoid the looming Iraqi invasion, and eventually settled with family in Paris. Four years later and with a political science degree in hand, she went to UCLA and earned a Ph.D. in sociology and political history. In Southern California, Kian first became aware of Radio Farda as she began to closely follow the societal changes taking place inside the Islamic Republic.

On Farda today, Azadeh provides regular insight into social and political trends in Iran. Commenting on the effect of globalization, she states that, “modernity has brought better access to education and foreign influence, though it altered the way of life for at risk groups, changing expectations and fragmenting identities.” The contrasting agendas of the Green Movement and the Government intensify the complexities of this issue and create an “uncertain future for reform.”

"Since the protests began last year, I am now unwelcome inside the country, so I rely heavily on Farda as a news source," she says. "And I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute to its programs because the station is followed closely inside and out of the country - I share my thoughts because I know that I will be listened to."

-- Elizabeth Ganshert