Stanford Alumni Association honors Abbas Milani, ‘a great Stanford ambassador,’ with 2017 Lyman Award

At an award dinner this evening, the Stanford Alumni Association will present the 2017 Richard W. Lyman Award to Abbas Milani, the director of Iranian Studies, co-director of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The Stanford Alumni Association will present the 2017 Richard W. Lyman Award this evening to Abbas Milani, director of the Program in Iranian Studies and a co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution, where he is a research fellow.

Abbas Milani

Abbas Milani (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Each year, the alumni association presents the Lyman Award to an outstanding faculty member in recognition of extraordinary service to alumni. The association established the award in 1983 to honor Richard W. Lyman, Stanford’s seventh president.

Milani, who arrived at Stanford in 2003, is an expert in U.S-Iran relations and in Iranian culture, political and security issues. At Stanford, he has taught courses on modern Iranian politics, culture and religion.

The alumni association, which described Milani, the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies,  as “a great Stanford ambassador,” said he has volunteered in almost all the association’s alumni programs, including regional club events, Classes Without Quizzes – a popular event at Reunion Homecoming featuring faculty members exploring the most pressing issues of the day –  Stanford Sierra Camp and Leading Matters, a 17-city SAA (2008-2011) tour that showcased how Stanford was tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The alumni association said Milani brings breadth and depth to timely and relevant discussions. It said he brings his subjects to life and brilliantly fields alumni questions; is generous with his time, responsive to alumni requests, and willing to travel far and wide; and graciously works with staff to help bring the great work happening at Stanford to alumni.

Through Stanford Travel/Study, Milani has traveled with alumni to many overseas destinations, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

A year ago, Milani served as faculty leader on a trip to the Persian Gulf that included visits to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Next year, he will lead travelers along the Silk Road through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Alumni who have travelled abroad with Milani have described his lectures as erudite, yet down to earth, and “mesmerizing.” They say he has a unique ability to put travelers at ease and goes out of his way to make himself accessible and useful.

Milani receives frequent requests from regional alumni clubs to speak about the Middle East.

“With the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, and Iran exceedingly dynamic and pressing, Abbas Milani’s knowledge of and experience in this volatile region has never been more valuable,” said Howard Wolf, president of the alumni association. “We at SAA, and our alumni in particular, are fortunate to have him on our team.”

To find out more about the Lyman Award and Abbas Milani, please visit the Lyman Award home page.