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Behdad Esfahbod
Born (1982-09-27) September 27, 1982 (age 41)
NationalityIranian, Canadian
Alma materUniversity of Toronto, MBA (2012)
University of Toronto, M.S. Computer Science (2006)
Sharif University B.S. Computer Engineering (2003)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Technology
InstitutionsFacebook; Google; RedHat; GNOME; FarsiWeb

Seyed Behdad Esfahbod MirHosseinZadeh Sarabi[1] (Persian: سید بهداد اسفهبد میر حسین‌زاده سرابی; born September 27, 1982) is an Iranian-Canadian software engineer and free software developer. He was a software engineer at Facebook from February 2019 until July 1, 2020; before that he was a Senior Staff Software Engineer at Google since 2010, and before that at Red Hat.


Esfahbod holds an MBA from the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management and a Master of Science degree from the University of Toronto in Computer Science, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Sharif University in Computer Engineering, Software.[2]

While at high school Esfahbod won a silver in the 1999 International Olympiad in Informatics[3] and then gold in 2000.[4]

Notable projects

Esfahbod was among the founders of Sharif FarsiWeb Inc. which carried out internationalization and standardization projects related to open source and Persian language. He was a director at GNOME Foundation from 2007 to 2010, serving as the president from 2008 to 2009.

Esfahbod is an expert on font engineering and internationalization, a frequent speaker at workshops and conferences. He has contributed to many open-source projects. Among the projects he has led are the Cairo, fontconfig, HarfBuzz, and Pango libraries, which are standard parts of the GNOME desktop environment, the Google Chrome web browser, and the LibreOffice suite of programs. He received an O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2013 for his work on HarfBuzz.[5]

Detention in Iran

Esfahbod was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps intelligence echelon during a 2020 visit to Tehran. He was then moved to Evin prison, where he was psychologically pressured and interrogated in solitary confinement for 7 days. They downloaded all his private data from his devices. Iranian security forces let him go based on his promise to spy on his friends once he was back in the United States.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ "Patent US20130265237 – System and method for modifying content display size". Google Books. Retrieved 2016-03-26.
  2. ^ "Resume of Behdad Esfahbod" (PDF). October 14, 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2005-05-16.
  3. ^ "IOI'99 in Antalya-Belek, Turkey". Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  4. ^ "data". Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  5. ^ "OReilly Open Source Awards: Open Source Convention – O'Reilly OSCON, July 22 – 26, 2013 in Portland, OR". Archived from the original on 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  6. ^ "بهداد اسفهبد: اطلاعات سپاه در ازای همکاری در خارج از کشور دست از سرم برداشت". BBC News فارسی (in Persian). 18 August 2020.
  7. ^ Fassihi, Farnaz (21 August 2020). "He Was Iran's Homegrown Tech Star. The Guards Saw a Blackmail Opportunity". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  8. ^ "Iranian-Canadian Targeted by IRGC: The Case of Behdad Esfahbod". NIAC. Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. Retrieved 2021-09-19.