Mehrdad lzady (Kurdish: Mihrdad Ízedí, مهرداد ئیزهدی) was born in 1963 to a Kurdish father and a Belgian mother. He spent much of his youth in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Korea as his diplomat parents moved from one assignment to another. He is one of the most prominent native Kurdish historians of our time. Izady finished his BA degree in History, Political Science and Geography at Kansas State University in 1976. His passion for history and geography allowed him to finish a masters degrees in Geography in 1978, Political Science and International Relations in 1979 at Syracuse University as well as Middle Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Columbia University 1986. He continued his academic career in research at Columbia University, where he completed his PhD at the department of Middle Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 1992.
His views on Kurdish history and historiography challenged many previous theories about Kurds and their ancient culture. At the first paragraph of second chapter “History” of his book “The Kurds: A Concise Handbook” he says:
“Reconstruction of the Kurdish history is a difficult task. It frequently involves interpolation and extrapolation among a variety of sources written neither for nor about Kurds. Middle Eastern history has all too often (although not always) been written by its hegemons, and most recently the modern nation-states. The Kurds have not been hegemons for over 800 years. The result is that Kurdish contributions to history have been ignored, or worse, appropriated by other peoples (as to who or what is considered Kurdish in the present work, consult the Preface and National Identity). Any pioneering effort to reconstruct Kurdish history from fragments long buried and neglected is bound to raise questions and generate controversy, no matter how meticulous the research. This is to be expected because it challenges the status quo. If this work serves to encourage further scholarly investigation, it will have served its purpose.“
Izady has lectured in the Department of Near Eastern Languages, and Civilizations at Harvard University. He has taught at various American and European institutions such as Harvard University (1990-95), Smithsonian Institution (Washington, 1996), Uppsala University, (Sweden, 1997), Free University of Berlin (Germany, 1998), and He has been teaching in the Department of History at Fordham University and Pace University since 2001. Izady has lectured widely and testified before two US, Congressional subcommittees on the Kurds. He has published extensively in the Kurdish Times as well as The Middle East Journal. He has also contributed to the Encyclopaedias of Asian History and has published maps on the distribution of Kurds.
- Author of the “Manifesto of the Kurdish People for the Creation of a Free, Independent and Unified Homeland” 1996
- Author of the “Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Kurdistan,” 1996
- Author of the “The National Flag of Kurdistan”, Designer of the current Kurdish national flag with the text of its history and justifying its design, KURDISTANICA 1998
- “The Sharafnâma: The History of the Kurdish Nation – 1597”, Being the first of the seven-volume critical translation and extensive commentary of the late medieval work on Kurdish history, Costa Mesa: Mazda, 2005
- “The Kurds: A Concise Handbook”, Washington & London: Taylor & Francis, 1992, Translated and published in French (1998), Persian (publishing date unknown), Turkish (2004), and Kurdish (2007)
Chapters contributed to Edited Books
- “Between Iraq and a Hard Place: The Kurdish Predicament,” in Lawrence G. Potter and Gary Sick and Lawrence Potter, eds., Iran, Iraq, and the legacy of War, London/New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2005
- “Kurds,” in Encyclopedia of the Developing World, London/New York: Routledge, 2005
- “Kurds and the Formation of the State of Iraq, 1917-1932,” in Edited by R. Simon and E. Tejirian, eds., The Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921, New York: Columbia University Press, 2005
- “Gulf and Indian Ocean Basin Ethnic Diversity: An Evolutionary History,” in G. Sick and L. Potter, eds., Security in the Persian Gulf: Origins, Obstacles and the Search for Consensus, New York: Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 2001
- “Self-Evident Axioms and the Question of “Natural Rights”” in M. Ahmed, ed., Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on the Rights of the Non-Sovereign Peoples, Washington DC, November 1999
- “The Kurdish Demographic Revolution and Its Socio-Political Implications,” in Ole Høiris ed., Contrasts and Solutions in the Middle East, Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1997
- “Geopolitics of Kurdistan vs. Hopes of a New World Order,” in Phyllis Bennis and Michel Moushabeck, eds., Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order, New York: Interlink, 1993
- “E uno plurium?: A Projection on the Future of the National Minorities and their Identity in the 21st-Century,” in J. Cole and E. Skinner, eds., The Trans-nationalization of Ethnicity and World Politics, Washington, DC: Howard University, 1995
Articles, Encyclopaedia entries, Maps
- “The First Documented Resettlement of Kurds into Western and Southwestern Anatolia circa 181 BC”, KURDISTANICA, July 1998
- “Social Impact of the Change in International Trade Routes in the Early Modern Times” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Kurdish History, Berlin, Berlin: Kurdish Institute of Berlin, 1998
- “On the Ancestry of the House of Ardalan,” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Kurdish History, Berlin, Berlin: Kurdish Institute of Berlin, 1998
- “Khanates of Caucasus in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Times,” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Kurdish History, Berlin, Berlin: Kurdish Institute of Berlin, 1998
- “A history of Kurdish navigation”, KURDISTANICA, Sep 1997
- “On the Nature of Ethnicity and the Future of Mutli-Ethnic States.” Proceedings of the 6th Congress of the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies: 10-14 April 1996, Al al-Bayt University, Mafraq, Jordan, 1996
- “A History of Classical Kingdom of Adiabene: 4th century BC to 4th century AD.” Proceedings of the First International Conference on Kurdish History, Lausanne, Berlin: Kurdish Institute of Berlin, 1995
- “The Zelanid Dynasties of Classical Cappadocia, Commagene and Pontus: 4th century BC to 1st century AD,” Proceedings of the First International Conference on Kurdish History, Lausanne, Berlin: Kurdish Institute of Berlin, 1995
- “A Brief History of Hurrian Kurdistan: 4000-500 BC,” Proceedings of the First International Conference on Kurdish History, Lausanne, Berlin: Kurdish Institute of Berlin, 1995
- “The 1,100 Anniversary of Abu-Hanifa Dinawari,” Kurdish Life, Number 17, winter 1996
- “Drowning of Archaeological and Artistic Monuments by Hydroelectric Dams,” Kurdya 9, Vienna, 1996
- “The Sphinx’s Beard, Notes on Kurdish political naiveté”, Kurdish Life, Number 15, Summer 1995
- “Die Qalehi Yazdigird: Juwel der kurdischen Vergangenheit,” Kurdya 7, Vienna, October 1995
- “The Current State of Kurdish Historiography,” Kurdish Life, Number 16, fall, 1995
- “Archaeological Site of Qaleh-i Yazdigird,” Kurdish Life, Number 6, 1993
- “Onomastic History of Kurdish Clans, Part I” Int.Journal of Kurdish Studies VI.i-ii, 1993
- “Onomastic History of Kurdish Clans, Part II” Int.Journal of Kurdish Studies VII.i-ii, 1994
- “In Gutis We Trust”, Kurdish Life, Number 14, 1995
- “Are Kurds descended from the Medes?” Kurdish Life, Number 10, 1994
- “Kurdistan, Where Historical Credit is Due”, Kurdish Life, Number 4, 1992
- “You too Armenia?” Kurdish Life 9, 1994
- “Exploring Kurdish Historical Origins”, Kurdish Life, Number 7, 1993
- “Persian Carrot and Turkish Steak: Contrasting Policies Targeted at Assimilating the Azeris in Iran and the Kurds in Turkey,” Kurdish Times III.i-ii, 1990
- “Kurdish Psychological Landscape,” Kurdish Times II.i, 1988
- “Kurdish Migrations in Historical Perspective,” Journal of Kurdish Studies, I, i, 1986
- “A Kurdish Lingua Franca?,” Kurdish Times, II. ii, 1985
- A wall map, Kurds: A People Apart, on distribution of the Kurds in the Middle East, 1985; 2nd edition, 1990
- Entries in the Encyclopaedia of Asian History on various Middle Eastern topics, 1987
- Entries on ethnic groups in the Middle East, the World Encyclopaedia for Children, 1983
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan, ed., The Atlas of the Crusades.New York: Facts On File, 1991. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, IX.1-2, 1996.
- Bournoutian, George, A History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi’s Tarikh-e Qarabagh. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda, 1994. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VIII.1-2, 1995.
- Sheriff, Abdul, ed., The History and Conservation of Zanzibar Stone Town. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1995. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, X.1-2, 1996. A joint review with A. Akasheh.
- Fathi al-Sha‘ir, Muhammed, Al-Akrad fi ahd ‘Imad al-Din Zangi: 1127-1146. Port Said, Egypt, 1991. Reviewed in Al-Usur al-Wusta, Newsletter of the Middle East Medievalists (The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago), 1996.
- Sherwin-White, Susan and Amélie Kuhrt, From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VIII.1-2, 1995.
- Dodgeon, Michael and Samuel Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars: AD 226-363. London: Routledge, 1994. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VIII.1-2, 1995.
- Magocsi, Paul Robert, Historical Atlas of East Central Europe. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VIII.1-2, 1995.
- Bournoutian, George A., A History of the Armenian People: Volume I, Pre-History to 1500 A.D. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda, 1993. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VII.1-2, 1994.
- Wilhelm, Gernot, The Hurrians. Trns. by Diana Stein. Warminster, UK: Aris & Philips Ltd., 1989. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VII.1-2, 1994.
- Grosz, Katarzyna, The Archive of the Wullu Family. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, 1988. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VII.1-2, 1994.
- Diakonoff, I.M. and S.A. Starostin, “Hurro-Urartian as an Eastern Caucasian Language,” Münchener Studien zur Sprachwisssenschaft. New Series 12 (Munich, 1986). Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VII.1-2, 1994.
- Yalçin-Heckman, Lale, Tribe and Kinship among the Kurds. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1991. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, VI.1-2, 1993.
- Andrews, Peter A., Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert, 1989. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, V.1-2, 1992.
- Gunter, Michael, The Kurds of Iraq: Tragedy and Hope, New York, St. Martin Press, 1992. Reviewed in The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, V.1-2, 1992.
This biography was prepared by Dilan Roshani