Hoxby and Milani at "TEDxStanford: Above and Beyond"

Monday, May 12, 2014
Caroline Hoxby at TEDxStanford
Image credit: 
L.A. Cicero/Stanford News
Caroline Hoxby at TEDxStanford
Image credit: 
L.A. Cicero/Stanford News
TEDxStanford 2014 program

Hoover senior fellow Caroline Hoxby and Hoover research fellow Abbas Milani spoke at the annual TEDxStanford event, a daylong conference featuring presentations and performances from the Stanford community.

In her presentation, entitled “Smart low-income kids to the Ivys,” Hoxby discussed her work in the Expanding College Opportunities Project, which addresses the absence of high-achieving, low-income students at elite universities. Hoxby believes that this absence is due to misinformation about the costs of and necessary preparation to succeed at elite universities. The project sought to not only address that lack of information but also help students apply to more universities by filling out the application waiver paperwork, as well as choosing colleges that matched their interests and academic preparation. The study associated with the project found that students who received assistance from the project submitted 48 percent more applications and were 56 percent more likely to apply to an elite institution than other high-achieving students. The study also found that the wasted potential of bright low-income students was much higher than previously thought, with several thousand more students qualifying for the project than earlier studies had suggested. You can read more about Hoxby’s project from the news stories on the Hoover website and from the Stanford website.

Milani’s presentation, entitled “The Paradox of Persia,” discussed the richness of Iranian history and culture that is often overlooked in the modern world’s perception of Iran. As an example, he used the story “One Thousand and One Nights,” written by a Persian woman, and traced its evolution to the Arabic version “Arabian Nights” to today’s well-known “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” (which is the title of one of the many substories in “One Thousand and One Nights”), arguing that this depiction of Persia, although fanciful and archaic, is how the world views Iran today. He goes on to discuss how today’s Iran, when analyzed within the framework of Iran’s historical trajectory, is an anomaly; the country has traditionally been forward thinking and revolutionary, yet fiercely protective of its identity, as evidenced by Iran being the only country to retain its language after the Arab invasion hundreds of years ago. He ended by discussing the Iranian people’s efforts to increase Iran’s rich, if paradoxical, roots, using women-led sexual and cultural revolutions as his examples.

To learn more about TEDxStanford, or read about other presenters at the conference, visit the TEDxStanford webpage.