Mehrdad Kia - UM

Mehrdad Kia headshot

We welcome Mehrdad Kia as a return lecturer to the Bringing the U to You Lecture Series this year. He grew up in Iran and then came to the United States to attend college. His lecture this year will examine the challenges confronting the United States in various hot spots of the Islamic world as a new administration seizes the reins of power in Washington.

Kia, professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Central Asian history at the University of Montana, is also director of UM’s Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center. His field of expertise is the political, cultural and intellectual history of Iran, the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. An award-winning professor, Kia has published three books.

After earning a master’s and PhD in history at the University of Wisconsin, Kia taught at Wisconsin and Cornell College before coming to UM in 1989. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, he didn’t see his parents for 13 years. Both university professors in Iran, they eventually joined him in Missoula in 1991.

Kia has said he thinks the U.S. has been successful because it embraces people of diverse ethnic backgrounds. “As educators, we need to give students a sense of how amazing and how flavored this world is,” he says.