Mon, 05/07/2012
Contact Name: 
Christen Jackson
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 
573-634-6064 ext. 247

JEFFERSON CITY – Education Under Fire, a documentary on the founding, growth and struggle of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education in Iran, will be presented at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in Missouri River Regional Art Gallery. Dan Engel, Jefferson City representative for the Baha’i faith, will lead a discussion immediately following the documentary.
Education Under Fire was produced by Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty International. The 30-minute documentary profiles the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education. Baha’is in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution simply for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college (and blocked from many professions).
In 1987, the semi-underground Baha´i Institute for Higher Education was formed to give young Baha´is their only chance for a university-level education. Despite repeated raids and arrests, volunteer teachers and administrators created an independent, decentralized university system that has lifted the lives of thousands of Baha´i students across Iran.
In May, 2011, an organized assault was launched by the Iranian government in an attempt to shut down the BIHE. Over 30 homes were raided and over a dozen BIHE professors and administrators were detained. Several are still in prison for doing nothing more than trying to teach.
The film tries to connect a diverse audience to a grave human rights issue, a powerful story of resilience against oppression, and the need to respect human rights everywhere.
Elise Auerbach, Iran specialist for Amnesty International USA, wrote about the documentary: "One of the most powerful human documentaries I have ever seen, Education Under Fire is sure to galvanize viewers who will be exposed to an outrage that until now has received little attention — the systematic denial of an entire religious community of the right to pursue higher education in their own country."
For more information, contact George Dillard at 634-2464, ext. 250.