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Sociologist Tells VOA How 'Brain Drain' Has Affected Iran

Washington D.C., Sept. 17, 2004 - Dr. Mehrdad Mashayekhi, Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, told the Voice of America today that Iranian government officials don't mind the "brain drain" that is afflicting Iran because they believe an uneducated population is easier for them to rule.

Dr. Mashayekhi was a guest on VOA's Roundtable with You, a Persian-language simulcast television and radio program which today explored the "brain drain" from Iran-a country that, along with China, tops the list of countries whose citizens are increasingly seeking a better life in the West. According to the latest United Nations survey, more than 2 million Iranians, including many highly educated professionals, fled Iran in the years following the 1979 revolution. That trend, according to the professor, has continued.

Dr. Mashayekhi, who has spent years observing and researching social trends in Iran, said that the Iranian government is actually encouraging the outflow. A caller from Tehran agreed, adding that a new term called "burial of brains" should be created to refer to those in Iran who want to leave but have to remain and suffer the waste of their minds.

VOA broadcasts three Persian-language TV programs to Iran. Roundtable With You is a weekly 90-minute discussion show; News and Views is a daily, 30-minute television news show broadcast via satellite to audiences in Iran; and Next Chapter is a weekly youth newsmagazine show. These shows complement VOA Persian's daily radio service and Radio Farda, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, youth-oriented radio program that is a joint project of VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA broadcasts 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 96 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

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