Short-Term Courses on Teaching Persian to Non-Persian Speakers:
Language is defined as a tool for understanding and being understood and as means of communication between cultures and civilizations. Thus learning each new language means getting aquatinted with a new culture and a new world. Knowing a new language provides one with an opportunity to get familiar with customs and traditions of people living in different parts of the world. They may even discover that they possess common cultural and spiritual legacies.
It is believed that a nation’s literature is a perfect reflection of their social life which is depicted in their stories, poetry, allegories, plays, handicrafts and ultimately in all of their literary and social representations. Persian language and literature, being no exception, has, thanks to its cultural richness, long been the language of knowledge, religion and mysticism. That is what makes Persian a language talking about and contemplating upon which is never outdated. As long as morality, love and friendship have not lost their lure in the world, Persian literature and language will continue to live.
Talking about Persian language and literature can never make one feel bored because it has managed to preserve its influence in various realms of thought and knowledge in the world. The rich Persian literature which is replete with allusions and exciting delicacies and which is in perfect harmony with human beings’ nature has continued to influence the minds and souls of its addressees as well as its enthusiasts. The fine concepts, the robust style, the beautiful imageries and the eloquent wordings in the Persian verse and poetry are blessings worth preserving and promoting.
Persian language and literature is indeed one of the most important loops in the chain of world literature and a splendid piece of jewelry in the culture and civilization of the East and the Islamic World. It is in fact the outcome of an enormous process of cultural exchanges, encounters and mutual influences that have taken place throughout centuries to make Persian literature one of the humanity’s greatest legacies. Aided by the Iran’s geographical position and the influential presence of the Iranian people in international commerce and culture, Persian has played a pivotal role in linking the Asian and European civilizations. This mutual spiritual legacy has connected critical points in the world, namely the Indian Subcontinent, China, Ottoman and Central Asia and has endowed the people living in these lands with common human and religious feelings.
Due to its moral and mystic contents as well as its natural and human values, Persian language and literature has continued to be the language of poetry, heart, science, policy and peace among the people living in these lands. It is because of the fact that the language of mysticism, especially that of the religious and Islamic mysticism, has a peculiar strong attraction and the peace which is sought after in the Iranian mysticism and its resultant beauty and mystery can hardly be found elsewhere.
It is no exaggeration to say that the reason why the enthusiasts for this language and its great literature have been attracted to it has, to some extents, been its moral contents. And it is this very eloquence and capability of Persian in expressing mystic concepts that has made the mystics and important people in religion and literature keener on reaching out for their pupils and enthusiasts.
Moreover, this is only a part of the truth about the status of Persian literature in the world today. A full understanding of the status of Persian literature in the world is required to determine and establish our condition and cultural identity in the world. In other words, our literary works have been our greatest cultural representations throughout history. We are all aware that Persian language and literature is being taught in many countries and hundreds of students and teachers are eagerly studying this major. A witness to this claim is the existence of tens of Chairs in Persian language in Western countries most of which date back to at least a century ago. However, the Persian language has never limited itself to certain geographical boundaries. It enjoys an everlasting glamour.
In the past centuries this language has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Islamic civilization, the dissemination of knowledge to Europe as well as the formation of a part of its history. The Transoxiana and Khorasan of the early centuries of Islam owe their scientific revitalization to this language and its works. In many Western countries, especially among the men of knowledge living there, Iran is known by its literary works in the same way as it is acknowledged for its miniature art, handicrafts, music and architecture. This fact has resulted in them placing the Persian language and literature top in the hierarchy of the world’s languages and cultures and admitting the fact that Persian is one of sweetest and richest languages in the world.
Many European Iranologists and Persian language teachers believe that the Islamic-Iranian culture embraces some of the best literary masterpieces of the world. They hold that Persian language and literature contain the best of a modern man’s feelings and civilizations .This fact makes more evident to the world the high value of this language and the need for its literature.
A large number of Persian literary manuscripts have decorated the libraries in Western countries. Therefore, more attempts need to be made in order to promote this language in the world, especially through increasing the number of Chairs in Persian language in the West which can introduce the original cultural legacies of the Islamic Iran to the enthusiasts living there.
Therefore, we need to help this language preserve its function of creating interaction and understanding in the world as it used to do in the past. It goes without saying that Persian literature has managed to reach the summits of the world literature. However, the works which have not yet gained recognition in the West need to be identified and categorized. Meanwhile new prospects can be drawn for this language to keep fulfilling its role as the means for the promotion of peace, friendship and moral and religious values. To achieve this objective new methods and tools are needed.
University of Isfahan is located in Isfahan, the city of turquoise blue domes, magnificent mosques and spectacular monuments and bridges. International and Scientific Cooperation Office of the University admits students from all over the world to participate in courses on Persian language for non-Persian speakers. The courses last from one week to three months. The students in the meanwhile can get familiar with the Iranian-Islamic culture.