Monash University

Thanks 2015

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13 More than words Report: Shaunnagh O'Loughlin Photography: Greg Ford Arriving in Australia in 1998 with just $2000 – the proceeds of selling his car in Iran – Professor Farzad Sharifian knows firsthand the trials and tribulations of international students, as well as the life-changing impact a PhD scholarship can have. This has been an important impetus for creating the Farzad Sharifian Scholarship in the Field of Intercultural Communication for international PhD students at Monash University. The scholarship was initially to be supported by a generous gift to Monash in his will; however, Professor Sharifian has decided to commence the scholarship during his lifetime, so that he can witness the positive impact it will have on the student recipients and know that it will continue in perpetuity. A leading linguist with a multidisciplinary background in cognitive science, anthropology and education, and a pioneer of Cultural Linguistics, Professor Sharifian said there were scarce scholarships for international students with many coming from countries whose governments could not afford to support them in their studies. "As a PhD supervisor I have closely witnessed the challenges faced by international PhD students living and studying away from home and family," Professor Sharifian said. "I want to change the lives of PhD students for the better, as scholarships and a fellowship from the Australian Government did in my case." The topic of intercultural communication is also close to Professor Sharifian's heart. He passionately believes that exploring the relationship between language and culture has far-reaching benefits. He has seen firsthand the knowledge capital international students can bring to studies of intercultural communication due to their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. "Globalisation has brought people from different cultures together and often the differences in languages and cultures can lead to serious miscommunication," he said. "This can harm human relations, including in politics where important decisions are made between politicians from various cultures and backgrounds. "I feel strongly that much more work needs to be done in this area. My hope is that the scholarship will be a small step towards contributing to studies of intercultural communication, and thereby improving the human condition." Professor Sharifian believes there may be other people, including staff members, who would like to donate something to future generations, but don't know where to start. "It's easy to associate philanthropy with 'being rich' but actually all of us can simply make the University a beneficiary of our will," he said. "I look at my gift as a continuation of my life's work that will see Monash University's international reputation for ground-breaking research continue for years to come." Professor Farzad Sharifian. Find out more about leaving a gift in your will For more information about leaving a gift to Monash in your will, please contact Bequest Manager Gillian Dodgin on 03 9903 4395 or email

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