The Story of an Iranian Librarian in Dubai

The American University in Dubai campus has people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, nationalities and professions, and along with such great diversity, comes a variety of interesting personal stories. This multimedia series is created to tell the stories behind the many faces that make up the AUD family. It is a space where familiar faces become known on a deeper level. Learning about the stories of those who surround you on a daily basis, creates a greater form of understanding and tolerance in a community.    

We were particularly interested to know why all these people decided to come to Dubai, learn about the obstacles they encountered in their life and if tomorrow they could go back to their homelands, would they?        

The hero of our first short podcast and photo essay is Homai Faridi, a Senior Librarian at AUD. In just a few photographs, you will get to know her better, learn about her daily life at AUD and see the struggles she went through as a woman in Iran.

“There’s a traditional way of thinking in Iran, where they think that the future is only for those who study engineering or medicine. Otherwise, you’re just lazy,” says Ms. Faridi. She stands in one of the aisles of bookshelves while holding an open book, at the American University in Dubai library on February 24, 2020. Mais Othman.
“When I go back to Iran, and people ask me what do I do, and I say that I’m a librarian, they kind of cringe, or have no idea what that is,” says Ms. Faridi. She overlooks the organization of the books on the shelves and makes sure that everything is neat and tidy, at the American University in Dubai library on February 24, 2020. Mais Othman.
“Whenever a turmoil happens, the government shuts down the internet or even the networks, so there’s no use of a phone. You have to be ready for anything like that in Iran, so it really freaks me out that you can’t rely on a means of communication there, and you always have to improvise instead,” says Ms. Faridi, as she explains one of the restrictions in Iran that pushed her to leave. She sits at her desk while writing notes off her laptop, on a notebook, at the American University in Dubai library on February 24, 2020. Mais Othman.
Amidst the many books on her desk, Ms. Faridi writes notes on a book she is reading, while the tattoo, “be here now,” on her right wrist reminds her to stay in the moment and savor it. When she isn’t doing paperwork, Ms. Faridi usually sits at her desk with headphones on, as she is completely immersed in reading a book at the American University in Dubai library on February 24, 2020. Mais Othman.
“Living in Iran can make you very isolated, especially when you don’t travel much, and I only lived in Tehran and didn’t even travel much around Iran, so even different skin colors and accents were strange to me. The whole exposure to so many different cultures, languages, and backgrounds, I only saw on TV, but not in reality,” says Ms. Faridi. She poses on the balcony of the American University in Dubai library on February 24, 2020. Mais Othman.

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