Persian Language and cinema Winter Program 2020

Yerevan, Armenia

January 2 – January 17, 2020

The intensive winter program will take place between January 2 and January 17, 2020. The objective of the program is to give students an opportunity to improve their reading, speaking and oral comprehension skills in Persian while studying works of Persian literature/historiography and becoming better acquainted with Iranian cinematic tradition. The class will convene six days per week for four hours each day, amounting to 56 hours of group instruction. Every day one hour will be devoted to review of grammar and syntax topics, two hours to reading and one hour to colloquial language and conversational practice. The syllabus of the course will be custom designed taking into consideration the participants’ specific needs and interests. In addition to attending regular classes, students interested in doing in-depth reading of particular sources will be given an opportunity to get one-on-one help from the instructor. In the evenings students will be invited to six film screenings, which will feature both classics of Iranian cinematography and contemporary lesser known films. Film screenings will be preceded by short introductory lectures and followed by discussions. The program will also include visits to Yerevan’s only surviving Safavid-era mosque and the manuscript library (Matenadaran) where students will have a chance to become acquainted with Armenia’s main collection of Persian manuscripts. While the course is mainly targeted at graduate and advanced undergraduate students who have attained upper-intermediate and advanced levels of Persian, learners in other stages of language acquisition are also welcome to apply. 

Fees and deadlines

The cost of the program is 500 USD, which covers tuition fees and class materials. As a non-profit organization, Mejlis Institute will only use collected fees to cover operational costs of the program, and any remaining surplus will be reinvested in future programs. Participants are responsible for finding their own accommodation in Yerevan, which is a very safe and affordable city. Once the list of participants is finalized, we will put them in touch with one another, and those considering shared accommodation options will have a chance to connect with potential flatmates.

The deadline to apply is November 20, 2019. Tuition fees must be paid through an international bank transfer by December 5, 2019. Please fill out the application form here.

Financial aid 

 Applications from students who are strongly motivated to participate in the program but might not have financial means to pay the program fees will be considered on individual basis. To qualify for a partial or full tuition waiver students will be required to submit a recommendation letter from an academic advisor testifying to the applicant’s merit and circumstances of financial need. Only a limited number of waivers can be issued. To be considered for financial aid please send a separate email to as soon as you fill out the application form. 


Persian language

 Maryam Torabi, MA, is a scholar of Medieval Armenian and Persian literary traditions. Having studied Armenian and Persian literature in Isfahan Ms. Torabi came to Armenia to work on her doctoral dissertation, which she is currently completing in the Department of Linguistics at Yerevan State University. She focuses on the language of the eighteenth-century poet Sayat-Nova exploring his engagement with Persian poetry. Apart from teaching Armenian to Iranians and Persian to Armenians she has formerly served as the librarian of the Blue Mosque in Yerevan. 

Iranian Cinema

The cinema component of the course will be curated by Bashir Sayyah, a journalist and film critic based in Tehran. After receiving a BA in English Literature he studied Theatre Directing at Tehran University of Art. He writes for Filmkhaneh and  Cinema-va-Adabiat  magazines and contributes to several translation projects that aim to make western film criticism accessible to wide audiences in Iran.