Scholastic Inc. reverses decision to exclude Persia from Ancient Civilization section of "The New Book of Knowledge"
David N. Rahni
November 17, 2005
In response to concerns expressed by the academic, scholarly and Iranian communities worldwide, the majority of which were from the U.S., Scholastic, Inc. has revised the article Ancient Civilizations in its 2006 twenty volume, The New Book of Knowledge so as to ensure that the Ancient Persia (Iran) is included both in its text, its chronological pictorial Timeline and map, in addition to the existing coverage under Persia in Volume P. This outcome is the result of a dialogue between a few community leaders, and Scholastic, Inc. representatives.
Based on a Petition sponsored by The Global Concerned Scholars on Scholatic Conduct, relating to the matter of the lack of inclusion of the Ancient Persia, endorsed by several thousands, and having received a significant number of protest letter and phone calls, not only from Americans of Iranian/Persian heritage, but also American and European Scholars, David N. Rahni and Marzie Jafari representing the community, articulated the community’s concerns to Scholastic, Inc.
A request was made for the company to provide for the reinclusion of the Ancient Persia in the Ancient Civilization chapter and its Timeline and map, the development and distribution of a 2-4 page insert documentation on the Ancient Persia that could be distributed to all those institutions and individuals who purchased the Book of Knowledge and/or its supplements in 2005, and a request for information about scholarship opportunities offered by Scholastic, as well as how to present Persian story books to be considered for their distribution list.
Although the Scholastic, Inc. response to the first item above was decisively positive and supportive, no specific commitment was made on the latter demands. Scholastic expressed great respect for the Iranian/Persian community, recognizing the historical importance of the Ancient Persia and its contribution to civilization.
Scholastic acknowledged that the Persian-American Community could submit their list of books already available in the market to be reviewed by Scholastic for possible inclusion in future distribution lists and could submit recommendations to Scholastic for titles for translation, with the understanding that these will be reviewed through standard procedures. As to the funds, Scholastic has for over eighty years awarded millions of dollars in college scholarships to students through The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and encourages members of all communities to enter.
Reiterating, with the exception of the most fundamental items, namely the reinstatement of the Ancient Persia in the Ancient Civilization chapter, there were no coherent promises on the other items. However, after having worked closely with Scholastic, Inc., we feel sufficiently comfortable to conclude they will indeed take submissions of writings and art works in their national competitions and will consider books by Iranian-Americans seriously.
Accordingly, we have now posted a new petition in place of the previous one in the anticipation of endorsement by the members of the community for closer cooperation with, and support of Scholastic, Inc. Furthermore, we encourage second and third generation American youth in our community of nearly a million strong to submit their writings and/or artistic expressions to Scholastic, Inc.
The staunch community reaction on this matter is indeed duly noted, as the number of such so called "oversights" and omissions of anything Persian has dramatically increased in the West. Iranians worldwide, especially the three million in Diaspora, outside their motherland, have become ever increasingly vigilant in scrutinizing the media and scholarly circles to ensure that their historical heritage is represented in an objective manner.
Notwithstanding the current political system of government in their native land, Iranian-Americans from all walks of life with very diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, that have their roots deep in history, consider themselves guardians, in line with Cyrus’s the Great Declaration of Human Rights (circa 500 B.C.E.), of their cultural, historical and geographical heritage.
Although a sporadic number of Iranians have emigrated to the U.S. since the 19th century, it is only the mass exodus post 1979 revolution in Iran, which has led to over three million Iranians abroad. The nearly one million Americans of Iranian/Persian ancestry are amongst the most affluent and most educated recent Americans according to the U.S. Census, who are substantively contributing in all walks of life, including business, academia, arts, government and the non-for-profit realms.
You may want to sign a new proposed petition here:
Scholastic, Inc. Reinstates Ancient Persia (Iran) in the Ancient Civilization Section of its "The New Book of Knowledge"
Whereas Scholastic, Inc. acknowledges that the article Ancient Civilizations in the 2005 New Book of Knowledge would be better served by inclusion of more information on Ancient Persia, in addition to the existing coverage of that topic in the article Persia in Volume P, and, whereas Scholastic has now pledged to enhance its coverage of Ancient Persia in its Ancient Civilization chapter, and its pictorial timeline and map in the 2006 edition of The New Book of Knowledge and subsequent editions,
and, whereas, Scholastic has reaffirmed its commitment to the one million Americans of Persian/Iranian ancestry by confirming their respect for the Iranian/Persian community and recognizing the historical importance of the Ancient Persia and its contribution to civilization,
and, whereas Scholastic has encouraged the Persian/Iranian Community to submit writings and books, and artistic works for their annual competitions and/or publications,
Be it henceforth Resolved that while the Persian/Iranian Community remains appreciative of the above development and restates its collective support to patronize Scholastic, Inc. products, it, nonetheless, will remain vigilant with respect to Scholastic, Inc., as well as any other media, to ensure that the historical contributions of their Iranian ancestors be objectively represented >>> Go here to sign
Professor David N. Rahni Dean Marzie Jafari Johanna Sterbin, Esq. Professor of Chemistry, Adjunct Professor, Env. Law Adjunct Professor, Dermatology (NYMC).