A photo of the exterior of Northeastern Illinois University's Student Union on a sunny day.

Thursday, April 18, 2024


Northeastern Illinois University is proud to welcome Ali Gheissari, Ph.D. as the keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Mossadegh Servant Leadership Lecture. His talk, titled, “Constitutional Experience and Travails of Parliamentarism and Governance in 20th century Iran: Retrospectives on Mossadegh and the National Movement,” will be delivered twice on Thursday, April 25 on the Main Campus, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave. in Chicago, with receptions to follow. 


The first presentation will be held from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the Student Union, Room SU 216. The second presentation will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the College of Business and Technology, Mossadegh Hall. 


Both sessions are free and open to the public. RSVP is encouraged, but not required. Requests for free parking must be sent to mossadegh@neiu.edu before April 24, 2024.


Dr. Gheissari teaches a wide range of courses on modern world history and the Middle East at the University of San Diego. He has written extensively on the intellectual history and politics of modern Iran. He recently co-authored “Extraterritoriality and Capitulations in Qajar Iran” in the soon-to-be-published book, "Sovereignty and Imperialism: Non-European Powers in the Age of Empire" (Oxford University Press). In 2023, he delivered the Ann Lambton Memorial Lecture titled “Unequal Treaties and the Question of Sovereignty in Qajar and early Pahlavi Iran" at Durham University. Other publications include “Fruits of Gardens: Ethics, Metaphysics, and Textual Pleasures in late Qajar Iran,” in Journal of Persianate Studies (in press, 2023); the chapter “Resāle, Maqāle, and Ketāb: An Overview of Persian Expository and Analytical Prose,” in "A History of Persian Literature, Vol. V" (Bloomsbury, 2021); and the chapter “Iran’s Dialectic of the Enlightenment: Constitutional Experience, Transregional Connections, and Conflicting Narratives of Modernity,” in "Iran’s Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and Narratives of the Enlightenment" (Chicago and London, 2016). 


Dr. Gheissari has served as the editor-in-chief of Iranian Studies (2016- 2020); has been a consulting editor and contributor to the Encyclopaedia Iranica; is on the Editorial Board of the book series "Iran Studies" (Brill); and serves on the Board of Directors of the Persian Heritage Foundation. His current research is on aspects of legal and constitutional history of modern Iran.


Professor and Chair of the Department of History Mateo Farzaneh is principal for the Mossadegh Initiative, which was established at Northeastern in 2013 with a mission to educate and financially support the University’s students in becoming responsible leaders. The initiative was named for the late Mohammad Mossadegh (1882-1967), the first democratically elected premier of Iran. Mossadegh saw himself as a “servant of the people.” The annual Servant Leadership Lecture invites current leaders to discuss how they share that vision of what it means to be a leader. 


“Dr. Gheissari is a well-respected educator whose educational background and dedication to sharing knowledge of the Middle East, specifically Iranian studies, make him uniquely qualified to deliver the 10th Annual Mossadegh Servant Leadership Lecture,” Farzaneh said. “I am pleased we are able to offer his lecture twice on April 25 so as many people as possible can participate and learn more about Mohammad Mossadegh and how his work contributes today.”


The Mossadegh Initiative — and the scholarships and lectures it supports — is funded through donations


Previous speakers of the Mossadegh Servant Leadership Lecture include:

  • Haleh Emrani, Ph.D., entrepreneur and scholar 
  • Kunal Metha, venture capitalist, author and former entrepreneur
  • Qobad Fakhimi, National Iranian Oil Company
  • Ardeshir Babanknia, M.D., Human IVF Pioneer, Holocaust Studies Scholar
  • Abbas Amanat, Ph.D., William Graham Sumner Professor of History, Yale University
  • Ervand Abrahamian, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies, City University of New York
  • Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, cofounders of Home Creations 
  • Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners

Ali Gheissari