Synopsis of: 

Alborz: We Climb Mountains

Alborz High School was initially an American Presbyterian missionary institution in Tehran that began as a grade school in 1873, in 1924 it became a junior college and in 1928 an accredited liberal arts college.

After many upheavals and the forced departure of its founder, Dr. Samuel Martin Jordan in 1940, it was transformed into the Alborz High School for Boys, under the watchful eyes of Dr. Mohammad-Ali Mojtahedi, the famed Iranian educator. The school sent its bright graduates to top universities in Iran and around the world; some institutions even waived the entrance exams to admit them. Alborz graduates are now important businessmen, distinguished physicians, scientists and academics in the best academic centers in Iran and abroad, among them the acclaimed architect Hossein Amanat, the famous physicist Firouz Partovi, and eminent mathematicians Cumrun Vafa and Mehdi Zarghamee.

Dr. Mojtahedi was not only a successful leader of this school from 1942 to the 1979 Revolution but a significant initiator of modern education in Iran. He turned Alborz into the highest-ranking school for boys and later helped founding the renowned Technical University of Aryamehr (later Sharif) University of Technology, which took in Alborz graduates and top students from other schools.

Alborz: We Climb Mountains (2023, 84 mins.), tells the story of the school during many tumultuous years in Iran’s modern history, from the perspectives of its graduates, teachers, and even Dr. Mojtahedi’s own voice from archival recordings; it tells it with humor, fondness, and nostalgia for a bygone era. It exemplifies what has been lost in the years since the 1979 Revolution and why today so many among the bright and promising young Iranians sound critical of current policies and administrative mishandling of one of their country’s once top educational institutions.