To say that the 2014-15 academic year was a year of “transitions” for me might be an understatement. After eleven years of leading the Middle Eastern Studies Program (MESP), I handed leadership over to my capable and energetic colleague Yüksel Sezgin. My eighteen-year affiliation with Syracuse University Press also came to an end as I stepped down from my role as the editor of the “Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East” book series. And a third change happened with the end of my two-year term as President of the International Society for Iranian Studies. 

But  these  were  not  the  only  transitions  during  this  eventful  year.  In  Spring  2014,  I  was  promoted to full professor in the Political Science Department, and the Dean of the Maxwell School bestowed on me the title of O’Hanley Faculty Scholar. In the summer of 2014, I began my new role as the chairman of the Political Science Department. Almost simultaneously, I was asked by former Provost Eric Spina to become a member of the Academic Strategic Plan Committee and to co-chair its working group on enhancing internationalization. Then in January 2015 I was given the title of Provost Faculty Fellow for Internationalization by Provost Elizabeth Liddy.

As  you  can  imagine  these  transitions  have  been  both  hard  and  heartening.  When  I  founded MESP in 2003 I never imagined that we would grow so much in a dozen years. The MESP  family  (faculty,  staff,  students,  alumni,  donors,  and  friends)  will  always  have  a  special  place in my heart. Similarly I will forever have fond memories of Syracuse University Press with which I published two of my own books and 35 other volumes in the book series. I was also honored to serve as the President of the International Society for Iranian Studies. Leading a large and prestigious academic organization devoted to studying Iranian history, culture and society came with a great deal of responsibilities -- but much joy also. As a teacher and administrator prone to evaluation, I shall give myself a passing grade after reflecting on the society’s accomplishment during my term.

Now in my new positions, I will do my best to ensure that we can make Syracuse University an outstanding global university, where students can flourish as future professionals and leaders in an increasingly interconnected world. I offer a sincere thank you to all those who have helped me in the past and those who will do so in the future.