YAR (Youth Advancing Research)

1. Why did IAAB create the YAR Institute?

As relations between Iran and the West, specifically the US, are opening, IAAB is in a unique position to be the first national Iranian-American organization in the US to undertake this trip given its previous work in Iran. As the foremost organization in the US that engages and empowers Iranian-American youth, IAAB is also the organization best positioned to develop a program that will give our community's youth a critical understanding of Iran away from nationalistic propaganda.

IAAB’s mission to strengthen the Iranian diaspora community through leadership and educational programming is at the crux of the YAR Institute. Over the last eleven years, IAAB has built a positive and inclusive environment that allows young Iranian Americans to develop leadership skills, foster strong friendships and gain a deeper understanding of their Iranian-American culture and identity. IAAB recognizes that the Iranian-American community is diverse and vibrant, a characteristic that IAAB represents, embraces, and celebrates in its ethos and in every program. IAAB therefore develops innovative programs that invite young Iranian Americans to reflect on their shared history and their place in the Iranian diaspora, and with this new program, to build a critical understanding of the community’s roots in Iran.

The YAR Institute aims to connect young Iranian Americans to and situate in Iran’s rich and complex history, and to guide Fellows in developing innovative media and transmedia projects that narrate a new and more complex understanding of Iran within the United States.

2. Who leads the YAR Institute?

IAAB's staff leads the YAR Institute.

3. What is IAAB's YAR Institute?

IAAB's YAR Institute is a year-long fellowship program designed for advanced college students (third and fourth year), graduate students, and recent graduates. The YAR Institute includes virtual courses taught by leading Iran scholars, a three-week study abroad program in Iran, as well as one-on-one mentoring that hones Fellows' expertise and result in the production and release of transmedia projects and op-Eds. Knowledge of Persian is not necessary as all lectures and meetings in Iran are translated into English. 

YAR Fellows participate in virtual courses taught by leading Iran scholars in the United States who critically engage YAR Fellows with topics around the political, social, cultural, and economic developments of Iran since the 1979 Revolution. YAR Fellows learn about the social, cultural, political, and economic developments of post-revolutionary Iran. Fellows gain an in-depth understanding of the historical trajectories of the 1979 Revolution, war, and post-war period.

YAR Fellows participate in a study abroad program in Iran. As a part of the trip to Iran, YAR Fellows may participate in a weekend training session with IAAB staff in New York. The weekend-long training session help prepare and equip Fellows with necessary skills and guidelines for the study abroad trip in Iran. YAR Fellows also connect and get to know each other and IAAB staff traveling with them to Iran. YAR Fellows and IAAB staff then travel together to Iran.  While in Iran, Fellows participate in discussions with leading Iranian academics, meet with cultural activists from all spheres of Iranian society, and visit important sites in Iran in order to gain a better understanding of the multi-faceted layers of Iranian society. Visits in Iran include, but are not limited to: Tehran University; Art University; meetings with veterans, women’s rights activists and students; workshops with civil society activists; discussions with various professionals including entrepreneurs, private sector leaders, scientists and medical students; and tours of art galleries with artists.

4. What are Fellows expected to do as a part of the YAR Institute?

Fellows are expected to participate in all aspects of the Institute including:
-Attending all virtual courses held in the semester as a part of the Institute, completing all related assignments and readings on time, and actively participating in discussions.
-Participating in all programs and lectures during the study abroad trip in Iran.
-Developing transmedia projects that will be released to the public. Details for transmedia projects, as well as one-on-one mentorship, will be discussed in full upon selection as a Fellow.

5. Who will supervise the students to Iran and in Iran?

IAAB's staff supervise the Fellows on this trip, along with a certified tour guide agency in Iran. 

6. How can I apply?

IAAB is currently not accepting applications for the YAR Institute. 

7. Is family able to contact Fellows during the trip to Iran?

IAAB ensures communication between Fellows and their families throughout the duration of the study abroad trip in Iran. IAAB provides families with all contact information for those traveling with Fellows during the trip, including IAAB's staff.

8. Where do Fellows stay throughout the Iran trip?

Fellows travel throughout the country and stayi at hotels. All hotel names and details are sent to Fellows and their families during the semester prior to the trip.

9. How much is the tuition for the YAR Institute?

YAR Institute's tuition is $5000, which covers:

- Enrollment in virtual courses on Iran with leading Iran experts;
- All expenses in Iran (traveling inside the country, hotels, meals);
- One-on-one training, mentoring, and certification post trip for the creation of media projects.

This tuition does not include:
- Flight to Iran.

IAAB strives to make its programs financially accessible to any interested participants. Therefore, payment plans and scholarships are typically available. Once selected, Fellows discuss with IAAB staff payment plans that work best for Fellows and their families. 

10. Is tuition assistance available?

IAAB works to secure financial support for tuition assistance for fellows. IAAB also provides tools on how Fellows can raise associated funds such as air travel in order to minimize any financial constraints.

11. Do Fellows need an Iranian passport in order to apply?

It is not required that applicants have an Iranian passport, but it is preferred because it makes the bureaucratic process easier for getting into Iran. Once Fellows are selected, IAAB staff works with each Fellow to ensure all paperwork is in order for the trip to Iran including applying to Visas.

12. Do Fellows need to know Persian in order to participate in the summer trip to Iran?

No, knowledge of Persian is not necessary. All lectures and talks are translated into English.