by Iraj Aymanpublished in Encyclopaedia Iranica
New York: Columbia University, 2012
Forutan Ali Akbar [standard Bahá'í spelling: Ali-Akbar Furutan] prominent Bahai teacher, educator, public speaker, and author. He was born into a Bahai family in Sabzevār in northeast Iran, where he received his early education at a traditional school (maktab).
FORUTAN, ʿALI-AKBAR, (b. Sabzevár, 29 April 1905; d. Haifa, 25 November 2003, Figure 1), prominent Bahai teacher, educator, public speaker, and author. He was born into a Bahai family in Sabzevár in northeast Iran, where he received his early education at a traditional school (maktab). In 1914, however, in order to escape persecution as Bahais, his parents, Karbaláʾi Moḥammad-ʿAli Sabzevári and Ṣoḡrá Khánom, moved with Forutan and his three siblings to Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, which was then a part of Tsarist Russia. Here Forutan attended a modern school for boys that was established and managed by the Bahai community. He had to start from the first grade, since he did not know Russian. Upon completion of elementary school, when he was only fourteen years old and studying at the secondary school, he was appointed as the teacher of the first grade (Forutan, Hekáyat-e del, p. 17)
In Ashkhabad, Forutan had the opportunity to study under the Bahai scholar, Mirzā Mahdi Golpáygáni, and at his bidding gave lectures at Bahai meetings and wrote articles for the Bahai magazines Fekr-e-javān and Khorshid-e khávar. When he was in secondary school, Forutan served as a member of the Bahai Youth Committee in Ashkhabad and spent several months as a Bahai teacher in Baku (Furutan Hekáyat-e del, tr., p. 14). After graduation from secondary school in 1925, he was appointed the principal of the two Bahai schools in Ashkhabad. He moved to Moscow in 1926 to study education and psychology at the University of Moscow, for which had been awarded a scholarship. In 1928 he was elected to serve as a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly (Mahfel-e ruḥáni), the local governing council of the Bahais of Moscow.
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