Touran Mirhadi, Iranian educator and founder of the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and the Encyclopedia for Children and Young People, was born north of Tehran to a German artist mother and an Iranian engineer father. She studied biology, audited courses on the philosophy of education, and served as a voluntary teacher in a literacy campaign before she went to France to continue her studies in early childhood education at the Sorbonne and the College Sevigne. The scars of World War II left a deep impression on her, and throughout her life, the big question of why war lived with her.
For a few years, Mirhadi was involved in politics and joined the Communist Youth Movement. She worked in the reconstruction of Europe and paid a visit to China. After 1955, however, she started to work as an educator and left politics aside. Her major contribution in the field of education was the gradual establishment of the Farhad Experimental School, from kindergarten to high school, in which she was active for twenty-five years. Mirhadi recorded this successful experience in a three-part publication on early education, the role of the school library in the educative process, and the search for ways to educate.
The Children’s Book Council, with supportive friends, was founded by Mirhadi in 1962 with the aim of promoting quality books for children and young people. In 1964, The CBC joined IBBY as the national Section of Iran. Mirhadi served four terms on the Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury (1976, 1978, 1986, and 1988). She attended IBBY conferences and was one of the key speakers at the 20th IBBY World Congress in Tokyo (1986).
In 1978, when the Farhad School was nationalized and Mirhadi was forced to retire, she immediately had the idea of creating an Iranian encyclopedia for young people and submitted the project to the CBC executive committee. They approved, and she directed this project of great magnitude for the rest of her life.
Mirhadi was a capable administrator and also had a fantastic listening and healing capacity—her charisma attracted many, and she changed lots of lives. The CBC, as well as many other NGOs founded over the past decades, owe much of their existence and thinking to Mirhadi’s leadership and vision. She was truly a Lighthouse. [End Page 72]
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