Iranian Jewish Culure
Parvin Motamed

Parvin Motamed

Leading Figure of the ORT of Iran and the World.

Ms. Parvin Motamed (Amini) was born in 1928 C.E. in the Iranian city of Hamedan, to a Jewish family who had a passion for knowledge and education. Her father, Yousef Rabban, was a landowner and a philanthropist member of the Hamedani Jewish community. Her grandfather Mullah Yehuda Rabban had been an elder and a religious leader of the Jewish community. The family changed their name to “Motamed” after her father’s death and their immigration to Tehran.

Parvin Motamed (pron. Mo’tamed) completed her elementary and junior high school at Alliance Israélite “Ettehad” of Hamedan. As a very young student, she was chosen by the school to greet Reza-Shah Pahlavi on his visit to Alliance with flowers and an official address. In return, the king of Iran spoke kindly to her and wished her a bright future. Afterwards, the people of Hamedan nicknamed Parvin “The Shah’s Favorite” and felt proud of the event.

In 1946 and before completing high school, Parvin immigrated to Tehran. Two years later, she got married to her husband, Dr. Loghman Hakimi, with whom she would give two highly educated sons to the world.

Even though married, Parvin continued her studies and received her high school diploma from the Hadaf High School. She further passed the entrance exams and was immediately enrolled at Tehran University, earning her Bachelor’s degree in English Language in 1955. While a student, she began teaching part-time at the girl’s division of the ORT School of Tehran. In 1968, given her impressive conduct and teaching skills, she was appointed full-time as the head of the ORT. About that time, she returned to evening studies at the university and completed her Master’s degree in Psychology. From 1963 to 1973, she made many educational trips to Europe and the United States, which earned her the Certificate in the Management of Technical Schools from the World ORT Center, Switzerland. Immediately thereafter, she became the first Iranian woman to be appointed as the President of the ORT of Iran by the World ORT headquarters, though by then she had already been serving for years as the vice-president of the institute.

From the 1970s, the ORT of Iran grew with accelerated speed. For the first time, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education recognized the graduates of the higher education at the ORT with the degree of Associate in Arts. The graduates of the ORT technical school were considered among the top technicians in the market. Every year, a number of students from various Asian countries came to study technology at the institution.

In 1973, Parvin Motamed signed a contract with the Iranian government on behalf of the ORT of Iran, according to which, the ORT was required to train every year a number of technology educators for the technical (vocational) high schools around the country.

The educational achievements of the ORT of Iran as the first institution of professional technical education, and its role in raising the knowledge and expertise needed to optimize the industrial professions, were significant. The ORT with more than half-a-century of activity in its several branches located in Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan, left an indelible mark on the country. From 1970 to 1979, every year more than 800 technical students, both young men and women, graduated and entered the job market. During this period, the ORT of Iran was recognized among the many branches of the ORT worldwide, particularly those in Asia, as one of the finest institutes of technical education, on par with those in Europe and America.

Thereafter, Parvin Motamed was honored by a Certificate of Appreciation from the World ORT Center, followed by several Commendations and Honorary Awards from Iranian and International officials.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Parvin Motamed found herself within difficult conditions. She decided to leave Iran temporarily to avoid distress and potential trouble. In 1980, she left Iran with her husband for the World ORT Center, Switzerland, though due to the relocation of the headquarters, she had to move to London. A week after she had left Iran, this one of the greatest technical schools had to close all its branches in Iran after years of fruitful activity. Before long, Parvin was honored to be appointed as a Member of the Executive Board of the World ORT, one of the highest ranks within the organization. The news of the appointment of an Iranian woman to this position rippled out far and deep.

For the next three years, as one of the five members of the Executive Board of the organization, Parvin Motamed oversaw the expansion of the ORT branches in African and Asian societies other than Iran. As part of her continuous activities, she traveled on a regular basis to the farthest corners of the world for up-close assessment and to direct the organization in implementing effective solutions. In that capacity, she persisted in her multifaceted efforts, as she supervised directly the expansion and improvement of the educational reach and standards of the organization.

Parvin Motamed is fluent in Persian, French and English. She is further familiar with Spanish, Turkish, and Arabic, as well as Hebrew languages.

In 1983, the World ORT decided to establish and expand its branches in the United States to offer the education especially called for by the large number of new immigrants of Asian origins arriving in the country. Amid its vast resources, and notwithstanding the large number of skilled and experienced experts available to the organization, the ORT of America officially invited Parvin Motamed to cooperate in this matter. As a director of the World ORT, she accepted the new responsibility and began her work in that year as the Director of ORT Operations, United States.

Parvin Motamed first expanded the technical college of New York. She then founded the ORT technical institute of Chicago, where each year more than 4000 students receive their technical and professional education. Simultaneously, she founded two ORT technical schools in Los Angeles. As one of her initiatives, after establishing the ORT centers in the United States and Latin America, Parvin omitted a portion of the traditional subjects which had been taught at the ORT centers since their foundation. This move allowed to shift focus and establish new divisions for computer science education, from the beginning to advanced levels, at all ORT centers around the world. As a result, the ORT educational system worldwide was substantially transformed.

Parvin further advocated and founded a software programming initiative under the highly valuable Center for Progress and Innovations. The center is required to train educators for Jewish schools who will teach Judaism through the computer technology. It’s also responsible to collect modern programs in this regard, besides organizing technical education seminars throughout the United States, which have received wide and warm attention.

In 1998, following repeated requests by Parvin Motamed, the World ORT finally agreed to grant her retirement after 46 years of service to the organization, provided that her office be relocated to her home in Philadelphia, where she could continue work as the high advisor of the World ORT. To date, she shows her active presence by attending the many conferences of the institution, and the meetings of the Board of Trustees of the organization.

Ms. Parvin Motamed’s Paternal Family in 1903 C.E. From Left to Right: Chayim (Uncle), Yousef Rabban (Father), Hadji Mullah Yehuda (Grandfather), Hadji Mullah David (Uncle), Mir Abdollah Rabban (Uncle), Ebrahim Motamed (Little child, sitting)


The Courtyard of the ORT of Tehran, Girl’s Division

The Courtyard of the ORT of Tehran, Boy’s Division


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