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April 22, 2005

Kerachian Award for Best Photograph!
Yaser Kerachian  [info|posts]

Award.jpg Anyone who has studied in a university in Europe or North America knows that there are many different scholarships and awards which are offered to students. These awards are very diverse and are not only for those with the highest average. Many of the them are also given not by the university but by different foundations and institutions. Sometimes it is named after a person whom the sponsors would like to appreciate.

Disappointingly, there are very few scholarships or awards in Iran and those few that exist are not diverse. They are moslty for those who get good grades. In contrast, in Europe and North America you may get awards for good research, extracurricular activities, teaching and many other things.

In Iran, we have the tradition of donating money to poor people. Why not thinking more modern and initiating the idea of donating money for awards and scholarships? For example, those of us who have graduated from the same high school or university can get together and establish awards for the current students of our school. Five of us can each pitch in $20 (the money for a dinner) and establish an annual $100 award to the best research paper, or even the best photograph taken by a high school student. We can call the award something related to the year of our graduation, or maybe to honor one of our teachers of the time who may have been retired by now. Such small contributions to the schools where we have spent our adolescence could give us a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction, not to mention how much they can motivate students in their work and study.

NAzanin at April 22, 2005 07:03 PM [permalink]:

In order to create such an award scheme you need a system that handles the job of spreading the word, registering entrants, inviting the panel of juries, running the competition and finally awarding the winner. Even if your award is small (100 quid or so) you still need to be very careful with it because the main thing about the award is the recognition and if done in a lousy way, it could break hearts and discourage young students instead of encouraging them.

You can't just walk in with your former coursemates and chip a tenner and expect your award to attract students. It's not even easy to agree on the restaurant when you go out to eat, let alone awarding a prize.

While your idea is great, it's better left for people who are financially and professionally settled and stable, those who possess enough resources to undertake such plans; certainly not a group of students who are running around for scholarships or postdocs. You're not the first person in the world to think about setting up an award scheme, so look at how others do it and get inspired, "AND" don't forget to set it up once you become capable.

Kaveh Kh. at April 22, 2005 08:28 PM [permalink]:


I beg to differ. The most important thing for such projects is the availability of the funds and the agreement and the approval of the donors. This especially applies to smaller awards. In case of a grade based scholarship, as the measured quantity is objective, there is no need for a jury. For example, the Iranian Association at the University of Toronto has such a scholarship which follows a simple model and they have had no serious problems with it as far as I know.

Let me add that I am generally against such merit-based and elitistic approaches but they seem to work well in the West; at least you only get to know about the examples where it has worked well :) I think in this sense I agree with the last sentence of your first paragraph.

Mohammad at April 22, 2005 09:06 PM [permalink]:

Why you are trying to initiate the job? I know many organization who are currently doing similar things related to Iran. Examples are SUTA (, Child Foundation (, andy many more.

yaser at April 22, 2005 09:37 PM [permalink]:

Mohamnad, you are right there are several organizations who do these kind of jobs. But it is nothing when you compared to North Ameria. Here, you can't count them! And another point is that we can do it in a lower levels such as high schools. Unlike Nazanin, I don't think there is that much burucracy in giving scholarship to high school students. The problem is that people normally don't think about its possibility.

NAzanin at April 22, 2005 11:20 PM [permalink]:

I wrote about Awards not scholarships. If someone is able to collect enough money to give away then why not? occasionally wealthy iranians advertise in British universities and pay for all the education and living of a specific number of Iranian students who have chosen to study in the UK. That's wonderful.

Awarding prizes such as the best photographer etc is tricky. moreover, awards and prizes normally have sustainable sources of support, which could be an initial big investment, an official commitment by a group of people, or government support.

Like you I have also seen a lot of privately-formed funding bodies for thousands of different reasons, but none of them are as simple as chipping fivers and tenners. When people commit themselves to such plans it normally becomes a real job for one or two persons. It's clear why: if you want to give away your own private money then that's fine. But if you've got plans to collect people's money and give it to one or more eligible students (for instance) then you need to do it through a transparent process and keep everyone happy on both sides of the deal. that means beaurocracy and you need someone to sit and do it for you. now if the amount of money you're gathering is big enough to pay for a part-time secretaty then you're happy, otherwise one or two of the contributors need to carry the load of that part-time job and things would become ugly if they don't do the job perfectly due to their own personal engagements or whatever.

Now why don't you experimentally setup and run a small scale award scheme by chipping in your dinner money? If you success write about it, and if things go wrong you won't lose anything except from a good night out.

Anonymous at April 23, 2005 05:27 PM [permalink]:

I think it's a great idea!
Yaser, have you also thought of possible ways of implementing such projects?
I think in our cyber age, creation of a hub (a website for instance) may go a long way - like the Knowledge Diffusion Network.
Also: It seems to me that "time" could be one of the hurdles which could go unnoticed initially but has often come to trap projects later on down the road. As a suggestion for implementation, therefore, I think for the sake of sustainability some kind of inscription of different parties' (donors, candidates, schools, etc.) roles may become very useful.
- Best Regards

Bahram at April 24, 2005 06:11 PM [permalink]:

It's important to mention that many of those people in North America that you mentioned, would not donate money to any foundation if their donations were not tax deductible. In Iran, we don't have a defined tax system, so there is no motivation for average people to donate money to any organization unless they really believe in them (such as religious organizations)

Babak S at April 24, 2005 07:18 PM [permalink]:

Well, being tax deductible is not enough motivation for people to donate money: they still lose that money. So, even in the West and for non-religious donations/charity, people should still "believe in them." Tax relief is only an extra incentive.

Ali Sadighian at April 25, 2005 10:46 AM [permalink]:

I am not that much into discussions. So while you are planning the logistics and discussing if you should do it or not I just wanted to say in case you reached to a decision to do this thing I wouldn't mind donating something annually (at least the suggested 20$). You can contact me through my email address.

Hamed at April 26, 2005 09:40 AM [permalink]:

Nice idea! Well, why don't we start right here?
Kerachian's Award for the best first post of an author that going to be submitted on from now?
I think it is a good point to start. Juries can be authors who has submitted something already. Let also use Condorcet voting System which I love it :)

You have to read my last post ;)

SG at April 27, 2005 07:08 PM [permalink]:

I like Yaser's idea, but I'm sorry to see NAzanin has come across as a nay-sayer. So far, it seems to me that she is only trying to help. Some of us are just more cautious than others, and for good reason. Iranians are generally good at coming up with brilliant ideas, but sometimes not so good at implementing them. It may be because we become so excited that we forget to ... (Complete the sentence and win the Senior Award!)

Anyway, I also think the jury thing poses a challenge. It's not always easy to come up with experts who are fair. Especially with Iranians, the whole thing may turn to a "society of mutual admirers".

mathiew at November 17, 2005 11:22 PM [permalink]:

Subject: new unique music book

Dear Sirs,

Dekhoda publisher in Iran is pleased to inform you that after ten years of research by one of our expert musical writers, Mr. mehdi Assari, has published a new unique book by the name ( hoviiate moosighi melli Iran va sazha, az aghaz ta emrooz ) which includes 27 chapters in 700 hundred pages with hundreds of pictures and a nice traditional colorful cover, useful for musicians and easy to understand by who is interested in researching world instruments and music.

For more information you may call us: Iran-tehran 2204 9620 or:
Or sherkate ketab, book store in Los angeles Phone # 310) 477-7477

Sincerely Yours,


mathiew at November 17, 2005 11:25 PM [permalink]:

please check with us for futrther information

mathiew at June 2, 2006 09:58 AM [permalink]:

I am wondering how come my name on veb log becom under the title of karachian award photography.

Please advise the reason as soon as possible