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TAGS: Ghodsieh Ashraf (Qudsiyyih Ashraf)
LOCATIONS: Iran (documents); Majidabad; United States (documents)
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Ashraf, Ghodsieh

by Mahnaze A. da Silveira

published in Encyclopaedia Iranica
New York: Columbia University, 2012
Ghodsieh Ashraf: A Bahaʾi philanthropist, and promulgator and engineer of numerous educational and health projects, mainly for women and children.

Ashraf, Ghodsieh or Ghodsia (Qodṣiya Maryam Ashraf; b. Majidábád, northeast of Tehran, 22 November 1889; d. Tehran, 16 April 1976), one of the first Iranian women who pursued higher education and obtained university degrees in the West, a Bahaʾi philanthropist, and an initiator and organizer of numerous educational and health projects, mainly for women and children.

Ghodsieh Ashraf (Figure 1) was the first child of Mirzá Faẓl-Alláh, son of Mollā Ashraf of Kan or Kand (a village some 12 km northwest of old Tehran), and Ṣafiya-Monavvar Khánom, a descendant of a family from Isfahan. During the early years of her life Ghodsieh Ashraf studied Persian and Arabic with private teachers, but, because she displayed an uncommon ardor for learning, she was enrolled at the American School for Girls in Tehran, where she studied English for three years. Her free hours were devoted to teaching at various schools in Tehran, including Nāmus and Tarbiat-e Banāt. She soon realized, however, that her ideals of progress would not take wing in this milieu, and her parents, demonstrating exceptional open-mindedness for their epoch, decided to send her to the United States to pursue higher education (Ashraf, unpublished notes, the Ashraf family archives in Geneva, Switzerland; Khan and Khan, p. 193; Star of the West, vol. II, English section, no. 3, p. 6; English section, nos. 7 and 8, pp. 3-4 and 8; English section, no. 18, p. 12; Persian section, nos. 6 and 7, pp. 11-12).


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