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Architecture Master, Middle East, Central Asia

April 21, 2013

I was born in to a middle class family in Iran. My grandmother came from southwestern Russia so my mother speaks Russian and Azeri as well as Farsi. My father is Turkish. As a result, I am a professional who especially looks forward to doing research in architecture in Farsi, Azeri, Turkish, and Russian in addition to English. I was marked, as a child, by the Iranian Revolution, and the participation of my family in our quest for political freedom, governmental accountability and efficiency and greater economic equality through self-sufficiency, all in the context of popular religious devotion. I am also highly sensitive to the ways in which the struggle for freedom of my family, and so many other families, has largely been a total failure. I look forward to working extensively with Russians, Turks, and Iranians in earthquake prevention in that part of the world; and it is my sincere hope that all of those involved in our struggle for more secure cities in the 21st century, will transcend politics, to the point to which it is possible to do so in that part of the world.

 My world lit up like a pinball machine at 1:56 AM UTC (5:26 AM Iran Standard Time) on Friday, December 26, 2003. Our historic city of Bam had been devastated, including much of the 2000-year-old mud-brick Bam Citadel. At least 26,000 people were killed and 30,000 injured.  I was a volunteer member of a rescue team that arrived in time to find several people buried in the rubble but alive; very soon, however, we were transformed from a rescue crew to a burial brigade. Once we had accomplished our first response in human terms, we began to notice the architecture, what was left of it. Centuries of architectural mismanagement were peeled away before my eyes as old skins of the city were unearthed by the calamity.

As a result of international solidarity with Bam, relations between Iran and the United States thawed, at least momentarily. The U.S. offered direct humanitarian assistance to Iran and, in return, Iran promised to comply with an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. A total of 44 countries sent in personnel to assist in relief operations and 60 countries offered assistance, I saw myself how they saved countless lives. The memory of a one-month-old baby that had survived an entire week under a collapsed house is especially vivid and continues to empower me to this day. This baby was the only family member that the mother had left. Unfortunately, however, I remember those many victims who we were not able to rescue as a direct result of the mismanagement of the Iranian government. I am convinced that if US-trained teams had of been placed in charge of earthquake relief in Bam, rather than Iranian-trained teams, that more lives would have been saved.  Since Bam, I have been obsessed with how we might better prepare ourselves to avoid such devastation in the future through the adoption of earthquake-resistant building designs.

Especially since I have permanently immigrated to the United States as a result of winning the USA Diversity Visa Lottery Program, I have focused on your program at Berkeley as the ideal location for me to pursue my career aspirations. I see myself as an ideal fit for your three-year Master of Architecture program at XXXX University, especially since it is designed for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than architecture, in my case computer science. Your program is my first choice because I seen an international education in environmentally sustainable architecture and earthquake-resistant building. I appreciate your focus on progressive, forward-thinking and cross-disciplinary emphasis. I am enormously impressed by the technological resources of your program, its facilities, professors, and the resources of the surrounding area as well. My principal focus runs largely parallel with that of Professors XXXX and XXXX, whose research involves earthquake resistant design and reconstruction after disaster. Earning the Master's Degree in Architecture at XXXX will optimally prepare me for better understanding the relationship between architecture and computer engineering, especially software engineering.

I have studied first-hand the devastating effects of failed urban environment and their consequences for the broader society, especially our natural environment. I seek to pursue the integration of art and science for the balance of my professional career. It would indeed be a great honor and privilege to become part of your elite academic community and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering my application to your program.

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