I was the first graduate of the BIHE architecture program, and upon graduating in 2010, I applied to more than ten Master’s programs in the US, and all of them accepted my BIHE bachelor degree and offered me admissions. I chose UC Berkeley and studied at the one of the most prestigious universities in the world, which was indeed another testimony for the very high-standard education I received at the BIHE, despite all the limitations and challenges. Since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2014 I have been teaching at UC Berkeley, practicing architecture in the US, and have also been teaching online at the BIHE every other semester.
While studying at the BIHE for five years I witnessed how a community can be positive and constructive facing obstacles. Not only did our professors dedicated their time and energy without any compensation or getting any academic credit, but they also put their lives on the line, being always at the risk of getting arrested and being taken to prison for some years, as was and still is the case for many instructors. Affiliated global faculties from all over the world, would wake up early and stay up late to teach us online, over a very slow internet connection in Iran. More advanced students would act as TAs, and the whole community sacrificed to help and keep the institute alive. For instance,hosts were always at the risk of having their homes and properties confiscated.
Through my experience at BIHE I learned that if a community wants to flourish and grow, it can do so regardless of the amount of repression imposed on it. However, it depends on each and every one of its member’s devotion to look at everyone else’s benefits and not only his or her own advantages. The lesson I learned at the BIHE that I treasure the most – besides architecture & design – is that life is not about receiving a degree, having a good job & raising a family, but it is about how much you contribute to the betterment of your community and next generations.