Seton Hill University is proud to present Azar Nafisi, the second speaker in the Seton Hill University 2008-2009 “A Portrait of Survival” Lynch Lecture Series. Nafisi is the best selling author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books” which electrified its readers with a compassionate and often harrowing portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and how it affected one university professor and her students. Nafisi’s presentation will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in Cecilian Hall on Seton Hill’s Greensburg, Pa. campus. This event is open to the public. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased by calling 724-830-4626 or visiting

Following Nafisi’s lecture, she will be presented with the inaugural Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Woman of Courage Award by the World Affairs Forum at Seton Hill University. The Woman of Courage Award is presented to a woman, who, like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, faced adversity and personal risk, committed herself to demonstrate in action what she believed in spirit, and accomplished the extraordinary through ordinary work.

“Azar Nafisi is a true woman of courage. She faced challenges and was resilient, much like Elizabeth Ann Seton. She is a risk taker and fits the vision of the award. We are pleased to present this first Woman of Courage Award in 2009, as Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Sisters of Charity celebrate their bi-centennial anniversary. The values Mother Seton set forth remain steadfast today,” said Frank Klapak, Ph.D., professor of communication and education and director of the World Affairs Forum.

“It will be an honor and pleasure to accept this wonderful award named after a woman with such a sense of moral integrity and courage arising out of her ability to empathize with so many others,” said Nafisi.

Azar Nafisi is a visiting professor and the director of the Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where she is a professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature, and teaches courses on the relation between culture and politics. Nafisi has held numerous teaching positions at institutions such as Oxford University, the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University, and Allameh Tabatabai, earning national respect and international recognition for advocating on behalf of Iran's intellectuals, youth, and especially young women. In 1981, she was expelled from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil and did not resume teaching until 1987. Nafisi has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Nafisi’s new book, “Things I Have Been Silent About,” is a memoir about her mother. She is currently working on a book entitled “Republic of the Imagination,” which is about the power of literature to liberate minds and peoples.

The Seton Hill University Lynch Lecture Series offers highly contemporary, sometimes humorous, and often transforming perspectives to its audiences by featuring well-known speakers and performers such as Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Dave Barry, news anchor Lesley Stahl, and award-winning historian David McCullough. Thomas Lynch established the lecture series 46 years ago for the purpose of providing this enriching lecture opportunity to our community.

Sponsors for Seton Hill’s “A Portrait of Survival” Lynch Lecture Series include DUQ 90.5 FM, Laurel Valley Graphics, Sheetz, Aramark, and Building Systems, Inc.

The mission of the World Affairs Forum is to help develop a community of informed citizens by bringing together people of diverse and independent voice, politic, belief, idea, ability, vocation, learning, philosophy, and action. The goal of the Forum is to initiate, foster, and sustain a greater understanding of social, geopolitical, and cultural issues affecting our human condition, while encouraging individual and group action at all levels.