Prince Alireza attended primary school in Tehran at the Lycée Razi and Niavaran Palace School. Following the Pahlavi family’s departure from Iran in January 1979, Prince Alireza attended secondary school at St. David’s School in New York City followed by high school at the American College Cairo, Egypt. He returned to the United States in 1981 to complete his high school education at Mt. Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Prince Alireza graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. (Music/Ethnomusicology) and completed his M.A. (Ancient Iranian Studies) at Columbia University in New York. At the time of his death on January 4, 2011, he was near completion of a doctorate at Harvard University (Ancient Iranian Studies/ Philology). He shares a daughter, Iryana, with his companion Ms. Raha Didevar.
To learn more about Prince Alireza’s life and the foundation that bears his name please visit this site: alirezapahlavifoundation.org
Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi (October 27, 1940)
Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi (31 October 1960)
Princess Farahnaz Pahlavi (12 March 1963)
Princess Leila Pahlavi (27 March 1970 – 10 June 2001)
One cannot erase the memory of Prince Alireza Pahlavi from one’s mind even if one tried. I knew him when he was a lively, well-dressed, and socially active young man who had registered at Columbia University and was a student in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures.
Academically, he was interested particularly in two fields: the history of pre-Islamic Iran and the culture and languages of Iran prior to Islam. For the latter, he took courses with Professor James Russell, an expert in Middle Iranian and Armenian literature, now the Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard. He later pursued this field at Harvard, which was better equipped to give instruction on these subjects. For Persian history, he took a course that I was giving. He showed a healthy and lively curiosity about historical problems.
It is a great pity that an untimely passing cut his plans short. It is hard to believe that such an excellent and promising young man is no longer with us. His indelible memory and that of his joie de vivre haunt me and keep posing unanswerable questions about the enigma of fate.
It is most appropriate and a cause for great appreciation by all the lovers of Iran and its culture that Her Imperial Majesty Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi has founded a Fellowship in Ancient Iranian Studies in the name of Prince Alireza Pahlavi at Harvard University.
The significance of Her Majesty’s act becomes clearer when we remember how important it is to fortify the foundations of Iranian Studies. Iran has had a long and rich history and has contributed remarkably to the progress of world culture. It was Iran that founded the first empire in the world with a humane policy bringing many countries and many races under one rule. Its poetry is among the best in the world, its art has no rival in the entire Middle East, and its cultural influence in neighboring countries, particularly in the Subcontinent and Anatolia, has been profound.
All these and more need to be made known and written about. Any step taken to promote the knowledge of Iranian history and culture is a service to the promotion of humanities. The establishment of a Fellowship in Prince Alireza Pahlavi’s memory helps to advance the study of ancient Iran.
Professor Ehsan Yarshater,
This poem was written on January 7th, 2011 for Prince Alireza by his friend Mehrnaz Ghaffari, commemorating his unbearable loss.
Banished Children of Iran
Prince and Brother, Beloved Son and Friend
With you, we mourn the loss
of a childhood incomplete,
Of our once proud Nation whose fall we
witnessed in the shadow of the night
Of a beloved homeland seized and denied us
I speak of the banished children of Iran.
With you, we mourn innocence lost,
A time when the air we breathed was sweet and full of promise
Like the limitless horizon of our Caspian Sea,
That magical place where our childhood laughter
will ring out loud for eternity
We mourn with you silently that Paradise Lost
May you return to that place on your mystical journey Your Highness!
And through your sacrificial journey fulfill in us all
that burning and undying longing for Home.