Mansour Farhang’s long career in international relations has included a diplomatic post and many distinguished research and teaching positions. He previously taught at Bennington for more than 30 years.
Farhang has a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate School. In the 1970s he taught at California State University at Sacramento. Following the 1979 revolution in Iran, he served as an adviser to the Iranian foreign ministry and as ambassador to the United Nations. He resigned his ambassadorship in protest when his efforts to negotiate the release of the American hostages in Tehran failed. In the early months of the Iran-Iraq war, he worked with international mediators to settle the war. During this period, he wrote and spoke about the threat of religious extremists who had come to dominate the course of the Iranian revolution. In June 1981, following the violent suppression of political dissidents, he was forced to leave Iran. In the Fall of 1981, he returned to the United States and became a research fellow and lecturer at Princeton University. From 1983 to his retirement in 2014, he taught international relations and Middle Eastern politics at Bennington, where he was awarded the Catherine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
Farhang is the author of two books and dozens of articles, in English and Persian, published in both academic journals and popular periodicals. His book manuscript entitled A Theology In Power: Reflections on the Iranian Revolution is near completion. His opinion pieces have appeared in various newspapers and websites, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Middle East Eye, Lobelog, Gulf2000, BBC/Persian, Gooya, Iran Farda and Iran Emrooz. He has been a human rights activist and a member of Amnesty International since his undergraduate days in California. Currently, he serves on the advisory board of Human Rights Watch/Middle East and is a member of the Columbia University Middle Eastern Seminar, and has been a participant in the seminars of the Council on Foreign Relations and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also served as a designated speaker for the Vermont Council on the Humanities while living in Vermont.
Farhang has lectured at many universities, colleges, and civic groups across the country and has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and television programs, including NPR, KPFA, Democracy Now, PBS News Hour, ABC's Night Line, Bill Moye's Journal, 60-Minutes, CBS's Face the Nation and CNN. He is a regular commentator on the Persian broadcasting of BBC, VOA, Radio France International, Radio Iran Farda, and Iran International Television.
He returned to Bennington as a visiting faculty member in Fall 2017 and again in Spring 2023.