Similar to the vast majority of the Baha’i youth in Iran, I was not allowed to enroll in universities in Iran merely because of my beliefs in the Baha’i Faith. This was despite demonstrating my scientific and academic skills such as obtaining the rank 54 out of 300,000 candidates in Iranian National University Entrance Exam (also known as Concours) in 2007 and winning the Silver Medal in Iranian National Mathematics Olympiad in 2006.
I entered BIHE in 2007 along with hundreds of other fellow Baha’i youth who had been deprived of higher education. We were as one big family who were collectively seeking higher education. Having faced educational discrimination, we were all thirsty for knowledge and hungry for learning. I enrolled in Computer Engineering major in 2007 and later double-majored with Mathematics and Computer Science in 2009.
After graduating from BIHE, I immigrated to the USA in 2012. I obtained my Masters and Doctorate degree from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2015 and 2018, respectively. During my academic life, I interned at Google, Microsoft and eBay, and had a chance to do research at New York University in USA and Kyushu University in Japan. Currently, I work as an Applied Scientist at Microsoft.
On a personal level, BIHE helped me develop valuable skills: I learned to be passionate about learning and adopt the learning spirit; I learned to collaborate with people and live a life of service; I learned to see science and religion as truly united and reflecting the truth. These lessons have been accompanying me throughout my personal, professional, material and spiritual life. I certainly do believe that the story of BIHE is a story of victory: the victory of constructive resilience in facing systematic educational discrimination.
Holakou Rahmanian, Ph.D. Microsoft Corporation