A Biography of Empress Farah Pahlavi
H.I.M. Farah Pahlavi speaking with farmers
Empress Farah Pahlavi was born on October 14, 1938, the only daughter of Sohrab Diba, who passed away when she was only nine vears old. An Iranian Army officer, her father was also a law graduate of the Sorbonne and the famed French military Academy of St. Cyr. Her mother, Mme. Farideh Diba, personally supervised her education, first at Tehran's Jeanne d'Arc and Razi schools, and later at the Ecole d'Architecture in Paris, where she was studying up to the time of her marriage to the Shah anshah Aryamehr, which took place on December 20, 1959.
As Empress she pursued her interests in social work, the emancipation of women, sport and art. Most of her time was devoted to the promotion of social welfare and culture, and she was patron of 24 educational, health, cultural and charity organizations. In addition to supervising the work of these organizations in Tehran the Empress payed frequent visits to even the most remote parts of Iran to obtain first-hand knowledge of the life and aspirations of farmers and ordinary people. Apart from accompanying her husband the Shahanshah on official visits abroad, the Empress has also paid a number of official and semi-official visits to foreign countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
Empress Farah's deep interest and personal involvement in the arts have been largely responsible for Iran's cultural many cultural movements and her frequent visits to art exhibitions and performances gave fresh incentive to all Iranian artistic activities. She supported young Iranian artists through her personal endeavors, and was a driving force behind a number of specialized art museums and other projects to preserve and publicize ancient and traditional art and architecture.
Should the name of the Empress remain tied to only two spheres of action in Iran, it would certainly be the one of culture and that of the emancipation of women. During her reign, women played an increasingly important role in public life. Parliament deputies, senators, ministers, ambassador, lawyers, judges etc., women were in all high national and local instances and occupied important positions in all areas of the administration. The emancipation of women as well as the economic and social reforms which took place deeply modified the structures of Iranian society.