The Persian Language

Persian is one of the world's ancient languages, once the lingua franca of an empire that spread across an enormous swathe of the Old World. Persian was the language of ancient cultures across Western and Central Asia, and many of the Islamic intellectuals, such as Avicenna, that later inspired the Renaissance in Europe did all of their writing in Persian. Today, Persian continues to be spoken widely throughout the same region in the form of three main dialects: Farsi in Iran, Dari in Afghanistan (where it is the language of cross-cultural communication), and Tajiki in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Studying Persian is the gateway to this fascinating part of the world. Through the CLS Program, you'll have the unique opportunity to learn both the Farsi and Tajiki dialects and set yourself apart with a rare immersive experience.

Program Sites

Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Jun 09, 2019 - Aug 15, 2019

Previous Institutes


Featured Alumni Profiles

Tara Lynch-Ornstein
Persian 2007
Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Persian Stories

Tara Lynch-Ornstein

“CLS equipped me with valuable experience and knowledge that I continue to use in my work every day. Participating in the CLS Program opened many doors to incredible professional opportunities that enable me to apply the experience I gained in Tajikistan to global health research and service...

Read more

Posted November 11, 2019


Announcing the 2020 CLS Application - Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2020 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! American undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.

The...

Read more

Posted September 12, 2019


Announcing Application Dates and Changes to the 2020 CLS Program

The CLS Program is in the process of wrapping up another successful summer, and with it we are turning our attention to the fall application and recruitment season. We have a few important updates leading into the fall application season that we want to share with advisors and students as soon...

Read more

Posted August 15, 2019