Dr. Yvette Hovsepian-Bearce is a Middle East scholar specializing in contemporary Iranian politics. She is also a political and cultural advisor to various academic and religious delegations traveling to the Middle East, in particular Iran. She frequently serves as a guest lecturer on current developments in Iran and the Middle East. Her book, The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei: Out of the Mouth of the Supreme Leader of Iran was published by Routledge in 2015 as a volume in the UCLA Center for Middle East Development series. It has received very positive reviews by both scholars and policymakers. Her scholarly research and teaching focus on contemporary Middle Eastern politics, contemporary Iranian history and politics, History and politico-religious ideology of Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran, American politics and the Middle East, US Diplomacy and Iranian political psychology, Islamic history, and Shi’i political thought. Hovsepian Bearce’s work also focuses on comparative studies of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She believes that the effort to create a meaningful dialogue among the three Abrahamic religions is a crucial step towards fostering diplomacy and promoting peace. She has recently worked with refugees and policymakers in Germany in response to the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis. Her book in progress is on the subject of Iranian youth.As an expert linguist, Hovsepian Bearce has worked in the legal field for nearly two decades serving State and Federal agencies as an expert language consultant. She has worked as an interpreter in the State, Federal and Immigration Courts. Post 9/11, she joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism Unit as a critical language analyst. During her service, the Assistant Director in Charge of FBI Los Angeles Unit commissioned her to conduct quality control and analyst training on an exclusive case. She has also trained Department of Homeland Security (DHS) analysts on a specific case and has worked with the Defense Language Institute (DLI) as a Target Language Expert in developing test material for evaluating language listening and reading proficiency of U.S. military personnel. As a result of her reputation as an expert in the field of linguistics and linguist training, in 2004, the Judicial Council of California assigned her to provide training for California Eastern Armenian Court Interpreters for the Oral Certification Exam. Since then, she has written and rated various official linguist exams for several Federal and State agencies. Hovsepian Bearce is the Los Angeles Armenian community representative with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS CRCL). She attends community roundtable meetings with other community leaders to discuss issues related to civil rights and civil liberties of Angelinos and issues related to national security.
Currently, Hovsepian Bearce is focused on her scholarly work as an Expert on contemporary Iranian politics; educating students, scholars and policymakers about the trajectory of Iranian politics through her lectures and writings. She also provides cultural, political, religious, and social training to academic and religious delegations that travel to Iran or the broader Middle East through the U.S. people-to-people programs. Hovsepian Bearce has dedicated the next several months to her humanitarian work as she travels throughout Germany working with Germans and refugees.
Hovspeian Bearce was born in Iran where she earned her high school diplomas in Armenian Studies from the Armenian Ministry of Education and Business Accounting from the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She earned an A.A. from Glendale Community College; a B.A. in Business from California State University, Northridge; an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California; and a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2008, she completed her German studies at the Hermann Hesse Kolleg in Horb am Neckar, Germany. She is a 2009 U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS) Alumna in Arabic from the Arab American Language Institute in Tangier, Morocco. She is fluent in Armenian, Persian Farsi and Dari. She also speaks Tajiki, German and Arabic, and conducts research in Biblical Hebrew, Spanish and French. She has also studied Latin and Ugaritic.
Hovsepian Bearce’s graduate studies have primarily focused on four disciplines: Political Science, Public Policy, Law and Theology (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). She has completed her doctoral program under prominent scholars, including USC Political Science Professor Dr. Richard Hrair Dekmejian, UCLA Political Science Professors Dr. Leonard Binder, Dr. Steven Spiegel and Dr. Arthur Stein, UCLA Public Policy Professor Amy Zegart, and US Diplomat in Residence Ed Kulakowski. Her legal training in Islamic Jurisprudence, International Human Rights Law, Refugee Law and Political Crimes and Legal Systems was completed under the mentorship of Dr. Khaled Abou el Fadl, the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. She continued her studies in Shi’i Islamic Law under the guidance of UCLA Professor of History Dr. Michael Morony, UCLA Arabic and Islamic Studies Professor Dr. Ismail Poonawala, and Islamic Studies Professor Dr. Mohsen Kadivar of Duke University. Dr. Dudley Woodberry, Dean Emeritus and Senior Professor of Islamic studies, and Drs. Martin Accad and Evelyne Reisacher, Islamic Studies Professors at Fuller Theological Seminary provided the groundwork in Hovsepian Bearce’s scholarly training in Islamic studies and Interfaith Dialogue Among the Abrahamic Religions, during her Master’s program.
Hovsepian Bearce attributes her passion for diplomacy and dialogue, understanding and acceptance of “the other,” and her love for humanitarian work to her late mother, who formulated and shaped her opinions through her example as a mother, a woman, and an ordinary citizen of this astounding world.