Currently: Vice President for Internationalization and Strategic Initiatives and Professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, New York
Education: Ph.D., with Honors, in International Relations from the New School for Social Research in New York City
Biography: Reza has had a long-standing and passionate commitment to promoting and defending human rights. This interest began in his years as a dissident in Iran where he was arrested under the Shah’s regime for possessing testimonies of political prisoners and banned books—coming to know fear and repression first-hand. Since starting his career in higher education in the U.S. and becoming a college leader, he has intensified this dedication by educating his students for engaged democratic citizenship; by conceiving and successfully implementing civic and global engagement programs; by lecturing and writing about the imperative of global citizenship in our rapidly globalizing and interdependent world; and by planning strategic community initiatives that emphasize equitable and inclusive economic growth.
Reza was elected as the Chair of the Board in September 2020. Initially elected to the AIUSA Board in 2014, he served for three years as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of Governance Committee. He also chaired the AIUSA Human Rights Working Group on Strategy and Impact in 2017-18 and the Working Group on Governance Documents in 2020. He has served on the Personnel, Audit, and Finance Committees as well.
Relatedly, Reza serves as Secretary of the Board of Global Citizenship Alliance and on the Advisory Council of the Aspen Institute’s Wye Seminar. Previously, he served as a Board member and then Chair of the Board of Student World Assembly for many years as well as on the founding Steering Committee of Dream.US—a national scholarship for undocumented college-bound youth (Dreamers). He has also served on the National Steering Committee of The Democracy Commitment, on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Liberal Education journal of American Association of Colleges & Universities, and on the International Advisory Board of GlobalMindEd. Locally, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
As St. Francis College’s Vice president for Internationalization and Strategic Initiatives and Professor presently, Reza provides strategic and collaborative leadership in taking the College global and internationalizing at home by infusing global perspective into St. Francis’ curriculum to better prepare all students for the 21st century workforce and by preparing students as responsible, globally minded citizens through civic and global engagement co-curricular programs and activities. He has supported faculty in establishing Institute for Global Engagement and Forum on Migration. He is currently leading the effort with the faculty to develop a signature Human Rights Program.
Before St. Francis College, for 30 years, Reza served at two colleges of the City University of New York: first as professor and dean at LaGuardia Community College and then as dean, associate provost, and vice president at Kingsborough Community College. He has been an adjunct Research Manager for Ph.D. student fellows at the “Emerging Threats 21: Resilience and Sustainability of Global Institutions Program” at Rutgers University. He also taught at Fordham University, Vassar College, International Pacific College in New Zealand, and has been a visiting faculty at Global Citizenship Alliance in Salzburg, Austria.
Reza has been trained in a number of national executive leadership workshops and brings extensive experience in shared governance, grants development, fundraising, strategic planning, outcomes/impact assessment, resource allocation, personnel management, diversity recruitment, technology integration, branding/marketing, forging partnerships, and speaking on pressing international issues. He received the Distinguished College Administrator Award from Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society in 2013.