Kian Tajbakhsh Takes Up Appointment at School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

March 30, 2016

Urban planner and social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh (GSAS’93) has been appointed a visiting professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Tajbakhsh, a former faculty member in urban politics and policy at The New School’s Milano School, was twice arrested and imprisoned while living in Iran and working on a range of research and consulting projects on local government and urban policy. In 2009, he was among the many reform-minded members of Iranian civil society put on trial for alleged crimes against the state. He was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison but family members, friends and colleagues joined the U.S. government in advocating his case; on appeal his sentence was reduced to five years. In 2010, after more than eight months incarceration, he was released on a “temporary furlough” with the restrictions that he was not permitted to work or publish or travel outside the country. Tajbakhsh and his family were then denied permission to leave Iran for him to take up the position at Columbia for six years; until this past January.

“We are delighted to welcome Graduate School of Arts and Sciences alumnus Kian Tajbakhsh back to New York and to his alma mater,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger.  “We look forward to him resuming his career of teaching and scholarship in urban planning and contributing to Columbia’s academic mission – and only regret that he and his family had to wait so long to return to our university community.”