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In his position as Executive Director of the International Foundation for Civil Society (IFCS), Bahman Baktiari draws on a long history of working toward peace and equality for oppressed populations. Bahman Baktiari draws on a long experience of working for organizations devoted to strengthening and enhancing civil society and democracy in the Middle East and North Africa. Baktiari and the members of the board of directors address foreign policy issues ranging from treatments for infectious diseases to the provision of clean drinking water, generating publicity, and soliciting philanthropy for worthy international causes. Acknowledging the critical role played by social media in the most recent wave of North African and Middle Eastern political movements, Baktiari and his colleagues have also made the advancement of open and accessible digital technology a prominent agenda for the foundation. Bahman Baktiari’s variegated responsibilities with the IFCS reflect his comprehensive background in civil rights advocacy. Before accepting his current position at the foundation’s Salt Lake City headquarters in July 2011, Baktiari spent two years at the nearby University of Utah as a Director for the Middle East Center. During his time in this position, he published a book discussing the role of Shari'a law in modern Muslim societies. Baktiari’s credits as an author on the topics of Islam and Middle Eastern culture also include articles in publications such as the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Prior to joining the University of Utah, Bahman Baktiari spent nearly a decade in various directorial roles for the University of Maine. While producing numerous academic articles, Baktiari successively managed the school’s International Affairs program, the William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce, and the School of Policy and International Affairs.

Work experience

Jul 2011Present

Executive Director

International Foundation for Civil Society: The Middle East & North Africa

Bahman Bakhtiari is the Executive Director of the International Foundation for Civil Society. He was a member of the study project Shari`a Politics: A Comparative Project on the Cultural and Policy Implications of Movements for and Against Islamic Law, Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs (CURA), Boston University. His current project is entitled Reconciling Islam with Democracy: Paving the Way for Democratic Changes in the Muslim World. The project examines the main features of contemporary Islamic discourses on opposition, dissent and political pluralism in the Muslim world. 



Jul 1981Jun 1984


University of Virginia
Jul 1979Jun 1981


University of Virginia
Sep 1975Jun 1979


University of Denver