Foreigner

moving picture of the author signing books

I am delighted to announce the release of our new book: Foreigner.From an Iranian Village to New York City and the lights that led the way

Foreigner tells my story as an Iranian Baha’i immigrant to the United States in a series of moving and humorous episodes set against the backdrop of a changing Iran, the plight of Baha’is there, and the tumult and of the 60’s and 70’s in the U.S.

From the rough streets of the small Iranian town of Nayriz to the streets of Harlem in the tumultuous late ‘60s, I grew up among the persecuted Baha’i religious minority in Iran to later working at the Harlem Prep school which helped guide hundreds of young African-Americans away from the streets and into college. In a series of stories told with honesty and humor, I am seen struggling with the harsh society of rural Iran and then with life on the margins of American society as an immigrant, misunderstanding the cultural norms of my new home while trying to maintain my Baha’i and Iranian identities until I finally settled down into the American middle class in Queens.

Foreigner is a vivid re-telling of a foreigner’s experience—a Baha’i in a Shi’a Muslim country, an immigrant in a foreign land, a poor person in New York City, a middle Easterner in the West—full of humorous moments and personalities from all walks of life.

About The Author

moving picture of the author signing books

Dr. Hussein Ahdieh was born and raised in Nayriz, Iran, He is a sixth generation Bahá'í, his ancestors figuring among the first in Nayriz to accept the Bábi and later Bahá'í Faith. Hussein immigrated to the United States as a young man of 19. Like many immigrants seeking a better life in America, he worked and attended college in the New York area. Hussein eventually completed a Masters Degree in European Intellectual History and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Ahdieh has had a distinguished career in education in New York. His proudest achievement is to have been one of the founders and Assistant Headmaster of the Harlem Preparatory School--a world renowned charter high school for disadvantaged students. The school is credited with helping numerous people to rise from poverty to a better life. Dr. Ahdieh also served as Director of Educational Programs at Fordham University.

n addition to Awakening, which has been translated into 6 languages, Dr. Ahdieh has co-authored 'Abdu'l-Bahá in New York (translated into three languages), a concise, informative history of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's activities during his visits to the area; “A Way out of No Way: Harlem Prep –Transforming Dropouts into Scholars-1967-1977, a Baha’i inspired institute. His new book is comprehensive study about the life of Tahirih and her American contemporaries in English and Persian languages.

Recent Articles

Review of Foreigner by Prof.Robert Atkinson, author and speaker

Review of Foreigner by Prof.Robert Atkinson, author and speaker

From a vivid and illuminating historical context of his family’s role in helping to shape the early Baha’i community in Iran, and all the persecution that came with it, Dr. Ahdieh takes us with him on a riveting journey, as a 19 year-old, to America where, after many fits and starts at assimilation, he eventually joins in the Civil Rights Movement and assumes a key role himself in helping to shape a new school for the children of Harlem during the turbulent decade of the 1960s that most needed social justice and change. This truthful but always hopeful personal account provides much insight into what it is like to be on both the receiving end of discrimination as well as to be able to a ...more
Forward to the book “Foreigner” by Judge Dorothy Nelson

Forward to the book “Foreigner” by Judge Dorothy Nelson

This is a book that will move you to tears, then to laughter, then to reflection. It will motivate you to lead a life dedicated to bringing about a more peaceful world. Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chap- man have produced an enlightening, well-crafted, fascinating and thought-provoking book about the life of Hussein, a ‘foreigner’, and his transition from a child in the village of Nayriz, Iran, to an adult in New York City. It gives intriguing glimpses, often humor- ous, about what it was like to be a persecuted Bahá’í in the Shi‘a Muslim society of Iran, and then an immigrant in New York City. It also provides an intellectual and detailed history of what it was like to be a Bahá’ ...more

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