Faculty Friday: Laleh Shahideh

Every Friday, the International Studies Department will profile one of our amazing faculty members so you can get to know them better and see all the amazing work our faculty do!

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Laleh Shahideh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at USF.  Prof. Shahideh was born in Tehran, Iran. She pursued her undergraduate studies and lived in Rome for 9 years, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Architectural Design from the Academia di Belle Arti di Roma, with a specialization in Interior Architecture from Centro Europeo di Roma.  Soon after the 1978-79 Islamic Revolution in Iran, she returned to her homeland where she redirected her interest and energy by joining the Italian Foreign Ministry in Tehran. This unique professional experience and early exposure to complex foreign diplomacy, immigration issues, and international affairs and relations ignited a dormant desire in her to examine the world from a new perspective.  After living through the Iran/Iraq war for six years, she immigrated to San Francisco and started her career at USF, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Health Administration, and a doctorate in Organization and Leadership, with an emphasis in Pacific Leadership International Studies.

At the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester, she returned to the faculty after two decades working in leadership positions with USF’s Student Academic Services, including her final position as Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Student Academic Services.  Throughout the past 20 years, she skillfully resolved thousands of crisis and complex negotiations and grievances. Thus, there is no surprise for her excitement in having the opportunity to combine the two main areas of her passion into one by sharing – with the students – her knowledge and specialization in crisis intervention, conflict resolution, and mediation in the classroom.

Her personal background and professional experiences have provided her with an exceptionally rich knowledge of cultures in the broader middle east, especially Iran, as well as Europe and the United States.

Prof. Shahideh’s research interests – grounded in the critical hermeneutics theories – include:

  • The role of narrative in global politics.
  • Immigrants’ notions of double identity and belonging: “Being in the World”.
  • The importance of empathy in international relations.
  • The relationship between understanding of power and capacity to act.

As a Fulbright scholar she compared educational systems in the member states of the European Union, especially Germany, and the United States to identify common challenges and best practices.   Professor Shahideh will continue to serve as the faculty adviser for the Persian Iranian Student Club at USF. Shahideh’s additional interests include: The role of historical memory in shaping Iranians’ notion of identity; the place of Iranian women in the Middle East; art in Iran: a medium and not a representational tool. Her book The Power of Iranian Narratives: A Thousand Years of Healing was published by the University Press of America in 2004.

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A personal note to the students:  I am delighted and look forward to the opportunity to develop and share an exciting learning experience with you in the classroom.  My personal life experiences and professional and educational background have granted me the fortune and the ability to borrow from a multi-disciplinary array of studies and theoretical frameworks that will help us examine challenges and complexities within international studies and relations.  Having lived through a war, immigrated to two new continents, and having had the privilege to listen to thousands of life stories involving complex and diverse issues, have provided me with a unique perspective and appreciation for the level of complexities within human beings. In order to establish harmonious and healthy relationships, we ought to have healthy environments that are nourishing and tolerant of our needs and our differences.  The world does not suffer because of our differences, rather, the separations and sufferings we witness in the world today are caused by the lack of understanding of our commonalities and our interconnectedness.  I believe the remedy is simple. In fact, it is an ancient one:  Finding love and compassion for Self and Others.

laleh-photo-2My personal interests are: The importance of narrative and learning new languages (I am fluent in Farsi, English, and Italian). I have a strong connection with animals; am a huge fan of soccer; enjoy photography and long walks in nature; practice Pilates and meditation daily; find my “moment of quiet” while swimming; admire good story telling and writing; am a savvy reader; love to cook and enjoy high quality cuisine; am an admirer of art in all forms, love Italian songs and travelling to new places, and love comedies (e.g.; Seinfeld).   I consider my friends and family to be the greatest source of my happiness (particularly, my grandniece (7) and grandnephew (3) who live in Berlin; like my own grandchildren).  Now that I have a more flexible schedule, I am actualizing a long dream of adopting a dog.  Stay tuned, coming soon!  I believe the most difficult, yet rewarding, thing I have accomplished in life is getting to know myself.  I am excited about the new phase of my journey and the new opportunities for self-discovery and rediscovery. Most importantly, I am looking forward to the reciprocal learning experience with my students in the classroom. 

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