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The Persian Language

Persian is one of the world's ancient languages, once the lingua franca of an empire that spread across an enormous swathe of the Old World. Persian was the language of ancient cultures across Western and Central Asia, and many of the Islamic intellectuals, such as Avicenna, that later inspired the Renaissance in Europe did all of their writing in Persian. Today, Persian continues to be spoken widely throughout the same region in the form of three main dialects: Farsi in Iran, Dari in Afghanistan (where it is the language of cross-cultural communication), and Tajiki in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Studying Persian is the gateway to this fascinating part of the world. Through the CLS Program, you'll have the unique opportunity to learn both the Farsi and Tajiki dialects and set yourself apart with a rare immersive experience.

Program Sites

Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Jun 29, 2020 - Aug 21, 2020

Previous Institutes

Featured Alumni Profiles

Milena Djordjevic-Kisacanin
Persian 2019
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Rhys Leahy
Persian 2014
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Tara Lynch-Ornstein
Persian 2007
Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Persian Stories

The 2021 Summer Application is Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! We welcome your students to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.

The application is now live and available...

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Posted August 27, 2020


Rhys Leahy

Rhys Leahy’s journey with Russian and Persian languages started when she participated in the NSLI for Youth Russian Program in high school for a year. While engaging fully in the culture, she became proficient in the language. The program site, Kazan, Russia is a historically Turkic and Muslim...

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Posted June 08, 2020


Announcing the CLS Virtual Institutes for Summer 2020

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is pleased to announce CLS Virtual Institutes in six critical languages in summer 2020 for a limited number of participants. CLS Virtual Institutes will provide remote language instruction and cultural learning in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean,...

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Posted May 29, 2020