Profile of Dr. Sharon Nazarian

I believe that education is the most important catalyst for societal change and the vehicle to narrow Israel’s social and economic gaps. Through education, Israel’s citizens can ensure their country’s place among the world’s leading nations”.

Focus on education and public policy is core to Sharon’s philanthropic perspective. The daughter of Younes and Soraya Nazarian, Dr. Nazarian serves as president of the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Family Foundation, which supports educational initiatives in a broad spectrum of institutions and through a wide variety of avenues – academic, public policy, and community based social and artistic programs.

This spring, the University of Haifa dedicated a new, state-of-the-art, central wing of the Younes and Soraya Family Library and is completing expansive renovations to existing facilities thanks to a generous gift from the Foundation. The library is named in honor of Dr. Nazarian’s parents, a fitting honor for their vision and belief in providing both students and researchers the intellectual tools and resources they need to excel. The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Library comprises over two million books and electronic research titles, making it the largest academic library in Israel.

Currently residing in Los Angeles with her three children, Dr.Nazarian is an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Department ofPolitical Science. She is also the founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA and Chair of its Advisory Board. The Center is housed in the International Institute at UCLA to provide a systematic and academic study of Israel.

Fulfilling her Foundation’s adage and priorities, “May your seeds be plentiful and your hand be open, ready to give,” Dr. Nazarian, through her leadership and her family’s generosity, is truly giving back to her family’s Jewish and Persian roots. In a moving spirit of remembrance, this year, the Nazarian family funded 119 student scholarships to honor the memory of the 119 soldiers lost in the 2006 Lebanon War, a touching and gratefully appreciated gift of collective remembrance.