Mahmood Karimi-Hakak

Professor of Creative Arts

Phone: (518) 783‑2371

Mahmood  Karimi-Hakak


SED Creative Arts Education Rutgers University
M.F.A. Theater/Directing Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts


Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Artistic Director of Mahak International Artists Inc. (MIA) and President and Artistic Director of Festival Cinema Invisible (FCI) <www.CinemaInvisible.Com> is a poet, author, translator, and theatre and film artist who has created over 60 stage and screen productions in the United States, Europe and his native Iran. His plays and films have received recognitions and awards at such festivals as Edinburgh, Montreal, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale and Tehran, including Best Director, 1979; Outstanding Foreign Film, 1995; Critics’ Choice, 1999; and Critics’ Pick, 2007.

A recipient of 2005 Raymond Kennedy and 2009 Fulbright awards, Mahmood has authored seven plays (The Little Black Fish, Me & My Mirror, Gilgamesh Con/Quest [with Ralph Blasting], The Survivals, Selection From Rumi’s Mathnavi [with Joe Martin], Iphigenia: A Contemporary Event [with Michael Sham], and Seven Stages. His publications include two books of poetry (Pebbles of Solitude, 1991 and Rocks of Desire, 2000), two translations into Persian (shive-ye fani-ye namayeshnameh khani 1995 and roya-ye shabe nimeh-ye tabestan, 1999) and three translations [with Bill Wolak] into English (Your Lover’s Beloved: 51 Ghazals by Hafez, 2009, Love Emergencies, 2011, and Love Me More Than the Others: Selected Poetry of Iraj Mirza, 2014), as well as numerous articles and interviews in both English and Persian.

Professor Karimi-Hakak has taught at Rutgers University, City University of New York, Southern Methodist University, and Towson University in the United States, as well as universities in Belgium, Holland and his native Iran. At present he serves as Professor of Creative Arts at Siena College in upstate New York. www.MahmoodKarimiHakak.Org

What I love about Siena:

Theatre is the art of collaboration and community-building for both artist and viewer. Teaching is the practice of sharing and bridge-making between one generation and the next. It is through communication, cooperation and understanding that we may resist the temptation to destroy one another and the place we call home. Siena’s Franciscan philosophy encourages such values, thus providing a perfect venue for one dedicated to celebration of life, love and acceptance.

My Favorite courses to teach are:

Artist and the Society
Theatre Directing
Stage Acting
Peacebuilding Through the Arts
Documentary Filmmaking
Contemporizing Classics

Why I chose Siena:

Having taught at few other universities and institutions of higher learning for years, I knew that I would only settle at a place where I can enjoy sharing time with my students and colleagues.

I arrived at Siena the night before my interview. I was picked up from the airport by one Creative Arts faculty and driven to another’s home to meet my future colleagues, a comfortable and lively bunch. We shared stories, spoke of dreams and laughed. At supper I asked each how long they have been teaching at Siena and known each other. Their answer was shocking: 25 years, 18 years, 15 years…

Returning to hotel that night I thought if these people could enjoy each other’s company and laugh so freely after years of “living” together, this must be a happy place. Before I went to sleep that night I had made my mind up: Siena is the place for me!

Office Hours:

MON: 12:00 PM-03:00 PM
WED: 12:00 PM-03:00 PM

My current research:

The Myths: Ancient Vs Current

Peacebuilding Through the Arts

Socio-political Communication and Dialogue

Artist as Change Agent

Contemporizing Classics

Poetry: Classical & Contemporary

My teaching philosophy:

What attracts me to the theatre is the amazing ability of this art form to communicate and teach. Theatre is an art based on dialogue. As an artist I chose to practice theatre because it allows me to share my ambitions and desires with my audience, and learn of theirs through a spontaneous, live and interactive dialogue that is inevitable between the stage and the house. As a teacher I chose theatre to help facilitate dialogue between a younger generation that is less experienced but more passionate and enthusiastic, and an older one that is expected to be more seasoned and balanced, though, perhaps, less irrational and unconfirmed. As a social activist, I maintain that global peace and justice is the only path toward human health and prosperity. I insist that such lasting peace could only be achieved through understanding, communication and dialogue; the basis of the art that I have dedicated my life.

I use theater as a social education tool that has dominated my productions and teachings over the past three decades. During this time I have often addressed the issues of peace, tolerance, and co-existence through traditional performance, contemporizing classic plays, stories, and myths for the modern theater; and by creating new works in collaboration with artists from other cultures. My literary creative writings, scholarly research and publications have also been informed by these goals, which I strive to infuse into my teachings whenever and wherever possible. Thus, for over a decade I have practiced and taught peacebuilding through the arts.

I believe that theatre is what happens in the minds of the audience as they leave the building. I have strived to expand this dialogue from the stage and the actors to the house and among the audience with anticipation that they would spread their discoveries throughout the community and the world at large.

Love me More Than the Others: The Divan of Iraj Mirza
Love Emergencies
Cross-Cultural Press
ISBN: 978-089304480
Your Lover's Beloved: 51 Ghazals by Hafez
Cross-Cultural Press
ISBN: 978-089304113