Succession and Sustainability

To ensure the sustainability of the Encyclopædia Iranica EIr) project, the following measures for succession were taken during 2011-12:

     1. Formation of The Board of Editors to succeed the Editor in Chief.

     2. Appointment of the successor to the Director of Center for Iranian Studies.

     3. Formation of the Board of Directors with the authority of governance.

     4. Setting the completion date of the Encyclopædia Iranica.


1. Formation of The Board of Editors to Succeed the Editor in Chief

In the Spring Meeting of Board of Trustees of the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation on Saturday, May 7, 2011, Prof. Ehsan Yarshater, Editor-in-Chief of EIr, President of the Foundation, and Director of the Center for Iranian Studies of Columbia University, reported on his international search for a successor. He then announced the formation of a Board of Editors, consisting of Mr. Mohsen Ashtiany (Humanities), Dr. Ahmad Ashraf (Social Sciences and Social History), and Dr. Christopher J. Brunner (pre-Islamic Iran), to take over his duties once he is no longer able to perform them.

Prof. Yarshater also informed the Board that already in 1999 Dr. Ashraf had been introduced to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as Co-Principal Investigator of the Project. As Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr. Ashraf will also serve as a liaison between the Board of Editors, the Board of Directors of the Foundation, the Sponsored Projects Administration of Columbia University, Center for Iranian Studies, and the NEH (for succession of other positions, see below, 2 and 3).


2. Successor to the Director of the Center for Iranian Studies (CFIS)

The appointment of Dr. Vahid Noshirvani (a former professor of economics at Yale University and the University of Tehran, and visiting faculty member at Columbia University) to a newly established position of Associate Director of the CIS will assure a smooth process of succession should Prof. Yarshater be unable to perform his current duties as Director of the CFIS.


3. Formation of the Board of Directors with the Authority of Governance

To assure a smooth process of succession should Prof. Yarshater be unable to perform his current duties as President of the Foundation, the By-Laws of the Foundation have been revised, and a new Board of Directors has been established to continue its current governing authorities in the future.

To realize sustainability and improve accountability, transparency, and formulation of an internal and external auditing and control system in the Foundation, the following measures have been taken.

 1. New By-Laws. To ensure the continuous support of the Foundation to the EIr project, new By-Laws have been enacted. Accordingly, the Foundation has a Board of Directors (BOD) of eleven members (eight elected and three ex-officio), a Board of Trustees (BOT) of 25-30 philanthropists, and an Executive Committee consisting of the President, the Executive Director, and the Treasurer.

2. Board of Directors. The governing body of the Foundation shall be its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall manage, control and direct the affairs and property of the Foundation. The BOD will continue its governing mission should Prof. Yarshater be unable to perform his current duties as President of the Foundation.

 3. Board of Trustees. The Foundation enjoys the patronage of a group of philanthropists, who by their donations or through their fundraising activities maintain the financial and overall health of the Encyclopædia Iranica. These individuals are invited by the Board of Directors to be the Trustees of the Foundation.

4. Internal Control Procedure. To ensure the enforcement of rules and regulations governing the financial affairs of the Foundation according to the recommendations of The Attorney General of the New York State as spelled out in “Internal Controls and Financial Accountability for Not-for-Profit Boards,” an Internal Auditing Committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Dr. Hassanali Mehran. The BOD has approved a document proposed by the Committee, “Internal Control Procedure,” to be used as a guideline for day-to-day financial activities of the President, the Executive Director, the Treasurer, the Financial Officer of the Foundation, and BOD members.


4. Completion of the Encyclopædia Iranica

As a permanent database of Iranian history and civilization, there would be no final conclusion to the EIr project.  However, by the year  2023, with the support of the Foundation, Columbia University, the NEH, and the Iranian American community leaders, over 95 percent of the main entries covering all aspects of Iranian culture and civilization from A to Z will be available in both the online and the print editions of EIr.