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Reza Jalali, of Kurdish descent, left his home in Iran because of fear for his safety under the Shah of Iran's regime, to study in India.
In 1985, Jalali was an asylum seeker who was admitted as a political refugee to Portland. His experiences in Maine led him to become an advocate for immigrants and refugees, and an advisor on immigrant programs.
As of 2017, Jalali is a writer, author, educator, and a Muslim scholar, who has taught courses at the University of Southern Maine and Bangor Theological Seminary. He holds a position of Coordinator, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
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