IAAB Conference

Mr. Mohammad Abdollahi (DreamActivist.org)

Workshop Immigration: Undocumented Experiences, Challenges, and Paths Forward

Mohammad migrated to the United States from Iran when he was 3-years old. Now 26, Mohammad has lived in Michigan for over 21 years. Mohammad first became active in the migrant rights movement in 2007 after a failed vote on the DREAM Act, legislation that would legalize his status and that of millions of young people like him. Mohammad is co-founder of DreamActivist.org, an undocumented student action and resource network dedicated to the passage of pro-migrant legislation as well as empowering undocumented youth to take action.


Dr. Mammad Aidani (The University of Melbourne, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Victoria, Australia)

Panel Cultural Production in the Iranian Diaspora: Cutting-Edge Practitioners Speak

Dr Mammad Aidani has taught and conducted research in the University of Melbourne in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies for five years. Prior to this he taught in the Department of Performance and Theatre Studies at the Victorian University for 3 years and spent 7 years as the Director of the Writing Department at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. He has a PhD from the Department of Psychology in Hermeneutics and Phenomenological Philosophy focusing on Narrative and Social Psychology, Victoria University, and an MA in Sociolinguistic and Identity, from the University of Melbourne.

His teaching and research interests are in the genres of Displacement, Diaspora History and Narrative, Memory Studies , theatre and Creative Writing. He has also worked widely with many local community groups in the areas of identity , belonging and the role of creative writing and storytelling in well-being of refugee and migrant communities. His recent publications include: the book Welcoming the Stranger: Narratives of Identity and Belonging in an Iranian Diaspora (Common Ground 2010). The Journal articles, ‘Existential Accounts of Iranian Displacement and the Cultural Meanings of Categories,’ the Journal of Intercultural Studies (Routledge, 2010) , ‘Iranian Poetic Testimonies of Revolution , Trauma and Displacement,’ the Journal of Australian Feminist Studies (2011), and ‘ Poetry in the Iranian Psyche: Reflection on Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat,’ The Journal of The Asian Arts Society of Australia (2012) . As part of his ARC Research Fellowship Mammad’s current research project focuses on “perceptions, interpretations and ways of trauma and suffering amongst Iranian diaspora men.”


Ms. Nakkisa Akhavan (UCLA School of Law)

Panel Race & Profiling: Discrimination, Immigration, and the Pursuit of Justice in Iranian America

Nakkisa Akhavan is a Class of 2012 graduate from UCLA School of Law. Nakkisa graduated with a Juris Doctorate and sat for the California Bar Exam in July 2012. Nakkisa also completed a specialization in Critical Race Studies at UCLA School of Law, a course of study that emphasizes the methods by which law and legal institutions erect and reinforce racial and other social hierarchies. Nakkisa has focused much of her practical legal education on employment law, but has also pursued an academic background in immigration law and policy, with a particular interest in US immigration policy’s impact on Middle Easterners.

During law school, Nakkisa interned at the Impact Fund, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and at Fox Group Legal, Employment Department.

Prior to law school, Nakkisa graduated UC Berkeley with a BA in political science in 2008 and directed IAAB’s Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora in 2009.


Ms. Aitak Ajangzad (Columbia University)

Panel Education in Diaspora: Pedagogical Questions and Possibilities

Born in London, Aitak grew up in Tehran and now resides in New York City. Having discovered her passion for music and the visual arts at an early age, she has had the opportunity to study the fine arts in all academic levels. In particular, she has specialized in the Piano and the Setar, and has performed and collaborated with several musicians both in Tehran and New York. Aitak received an honors diploma in painting and graphic design in 1998, and a BM from Tehran University’s Academy of Fine Arts in 2003. Upon arrival to New York in 2005, she has been studying Music and Art education at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University, where she has focused her research on working with young children. Multiculturalism, creativity, and critical thinking are among the core philosophical approaches in her teaching practice. She has received two Master’s degrees (MA, Ed.M), and is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree at Columbia University. Aitak has designed and launched a new music program in the much-celebrated Pardis for Children school, focused on the education of Iranian children of Diaspora in New York, which has been featured in the media, including the BBC Persian. Among various private and public institutions, she has worked with the New York Philharmonic: very young people’s concerts, and has been teaching Applied Piano at TC, Columbia University.


Ms. Donya Alinejad (Vrije Universiteit)

Panel Iranians Online & Offline: Place and Space in Diaspora

Donya Alinejad is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit on a Mozaiek scholarship from the NWO (Dutch Scientific Organization). Her research deals with second generation Iranian American diaspora and their use of internet media technologies in processes of identity formation. Her research interests are focused around transnational migration and ethnic/racial identity, notions of home, community, and heritage, and the formation of selves through digital media.


Ms. Yassaman Ameri

Film Marginal Road

Roundtable Filmmakers’ Roundtable

Yassaman Ameri is a photographer and multimedia artist. Her work has been exhibited at the Leighton House Museum in London, Espace Electra in Paris, Mekic Gallery in Montreal, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and is currently being shown at Centre d'histoire de Montréal.

Ameri grew up in Tehran and came to Canada after the Iranian revolution in 1979. Her work to date focuses thematically on notions of home and exile, as well as on the constructed nature of history. "Skin Of The Earth", is Ameri's most recent work. This series reflects her concern with memory and the physical traces left behind as a result of human migration.

"Marginal Road" is a 57 minute documentary video that Ameri has recently produced. Through a series of personal stories and experiences, this video explores the construction of the concept of exile in the mind. Marginal Road premiered in 2011 at the 40th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montreal.


Ms. Ana Lily Amirpour

Film Pashmaloo

Roundtable Filmmakers’ Roundtable

Ana Lily Amirpour made her first film at age twelve; a horror movie starring guests of a slumber party. Born in the U.K. and raised in the U.S., Ana Lily comes from a varied background in the arts, including painting, sculpting and playing bass in a rock band. Now she writes and directs films and music videos which have screened internationally at festivals. Her most recent short film, Pashmaloo (Hairy) is official selection at the 2011 Berlinale. Her 2010 short film True Love, a comedy about sex and relationships, was audience award winner at the Milan Film Festival and her recent experimental short Ana Lily Amirpour Likes This, which she wrote, directed and acted in, was audience award winner at the 2010 Zero Film Festival. Ana Lily’s work has received multiple awards including the Dini Ostrov Award in Comedy Writing, Grand Prize of the Bluecat Screenwriting Competition and the Adrienne Shelly Fellowship. She’s been invited to participate in programs like Tribeca All Access, Fast Track with the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Film Independent screenwriting and directors lab, the 2010 & 2011 Talent Campus at Berlinale. She was most recently selected as a finalist for the 2012 Berlin Today Awards.


Ms. Anita Amirrezvani (California College of the Arts, San Francisco)

Roundtable Of Home, Exile, and Other Fictions: Iranian Diaspora Writers’ Roundtable

Anita Amirrezvani is the author of the novel The Blood of Flowers and a former staff writer and dance critic for the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times. As part of her dance criticism career, she earned fellowships from the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts. Anita received her B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley and her M.F.A. in Fiction from San Francisco State University. She is currently an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She is the author of the newly published novel, Equal to the Sun (Simon and Schuster, 2012).


Mr. Mehrdad Ariannejad, M.Eng. (Tirgan Festival)

Panel Bringing Us Together: Innovative Diasporic Community Organizing

Holding a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto and a full time employee of IBM Canada since 1998, Mehrdad has been actively involved in preserving and reviving Iranian culture, a subject that is close to his heart. Over the course of years of volunteer work, he has served as chair and board member for many organizations devoted to promotion of Iranian culture and intellectual heritage within academia, Iranian community and Canadian society.

Highlights of his roles include: Founding member of the Iranian Canadian Congress, co-founder of the organizing committee of Cheharshanbeh Suri (Iranian Fire Festival), board member and chair of the art commitee at the Parya Trillium Foundation, co-founder of the first Iranian Book Club in Toronto, chair and board member for the Iranian Association at the University of Toronto, chief organizer of Bam Earthquake Relief Concert, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tirgan cultural festival, the largest of its kind, held in Toronto since 2006.

Mehrdad is the recipient of many awards for humanitarian and community service and promoting culture and social justice, including the National Ethnic Press And Media Council of Canada award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.


Ms. Golnesa AsheghAli (George Mason University)

Panel Education in Diaspora: Pedagogical Questions and Possibilities

Born in the United States to Iranian parents, Golnesa AsheghAli received her BA in History ('07) and a BA in Religious Studies ('08) from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She is the Persian Lecturer for the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies and a graduate student at George Mason University, working on a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies in Shi'ite Studies. Her research interests broadly include Shi’ism and Sufism and her masters’ thesis, which she is currently working on, examines the Ahl-e Haqq of Kurdistan, with a focus on the writings of Ostad Elahi. Golnesa began teaching Persian language, as graduate lecturer, at GMU in the Fall of 2011; she is currently teaching Elementary and Intermediate Persian. In addition to her academic work, Golnesa has been a dedicated practitioner of Shotokan Karate for seventeen years under her master, Ahmad Mazhari Sensei, at Shotokan Karate Center in Fairfax, VA. She received her 4th Dan (4th degree black belt) in 2008 and began teaching Shotokan Karate at George Mason in Fall 2010.


Ms. Golineh Atai (DIWAN German-Iranian Encounters)

Panel Bringing Us Together: Innovative Diasporic Community Organizing

Ms. Golineh Atai is a TV news journalist at ARD Public German Television in Cologne. She was born in Teheran and left Iran at the age of 6. After graduating cum laude at the University of Heidelberg with a M.A. in Roman languages, Political Scienceand Iranian Studies, she was a trainee at the German UNESCO commission and started her career at ARD in 2001, as a freelance reporter and documentary director.After assignments in Cairo she worked as a correspondent of ARD´s Middle East office from 2006 to 2008. She covered the Lebanon war in 2006, the Sudan/Darfur conflict and worked in Syria, Emirates, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, India and Russia. Ms. Atai has been invited to TV shows and panel discussions as a Middle East expert. In April 2011 she co-founded Cologne´s cultural initiative “DIWAN German-Iranian Encounters” as vice president, together with film director Ali Samadi Ahadi.


Ms. Beeta Baghoolizadeh (Department of History, University of Pennsylvania)

Panel Holding a Mirror to Ourselves: Critiques and Dialogues

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Beeta Baghoolizadeh is the oldest of three sisters in her family. She attended University of California, Los Angeles and graduated summa cum laude with degrees in International Development Studies and Iranian Studies. Recently, Beeta has finished her Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Middle Eastern Studies and has started her doctoral program in history at the University of Pennsylvania. Her academic pursuits focus on the constructions of race and ethnicity in Iran during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her presentation questions the manifestation of nationalism and racism in Iranian history and its impact on the Iranian-American diaspora community.


Ms. Narges Bajoghli (New York University/IAAB)

Panel Bringing Us Together: Innovative Diasporic Community Organizing

Narges Bajoghli is a PhD student in socio-cultural Anthropology at New York University and a documentary filmmaker in the Culture and Media Program at NYU. Narges' research focuses on media production and the culture of war in Iran. Narges received her M.A. in the Social Sciences, focusing on Anthropology, from the University of Chicago, and her B.A. from Wellesley College in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. As the recipient of the Susan Knafel Fellowship, Narges spent three semesters researching at the University of Tehran's Faculty of Law and Political Science, and developing projects focusing on the victims of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. She is the director of The Skin That Burns, a documentary film about survivors of chemical warfare in Iran and she currently directs an oral history project on the same topic at the Tehran Peace Museum. Narges is the co-founder of the 501c3 organization, Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), and has worked extensively with non-profit organizations in Iran and Latin America (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica).


Ms. Pardis Bakheshi

Workshop The Roles of Iranian Student Organizations: Advocacy vs. Cultural Programming?

Pardis Bakheshi, born and raised in the United States, is the daughter of two immigrant parents who migrated from Iran in the seventies. She attended the University of California Los Angeles and earned a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Psychology. During her time at UCLA, Pardis conducted various independent research endeavors, most notably a qualitative project analyzing unity and community identity within Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles. She was finance chair for the Iranian Student Group, as coordinated the organization of special events for the Persian American Cancer Institute. Pardis has also participated in various community philanthropic events including but not limited to, Mothers Against Poverty (MAP) and the Iranian Student Solidarity Movement. Currently she is working toward obtaining her JD and pursuing a career in the legal field.


Professor Aslı Bâli (UCLA School of Law)

Panel Race & Profiling: Discrimination, Immigration, and the Pursuit of Justice in Iranian America

Aslı Bâli is Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She came to UCLA from the Yale Law School where she served as the Irving S. Ribicoff Fellow in Law. Her research and teaching focuses on public international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights, post-September 11th immigration law and policy in the United States and comparative legal systems of the Middle East. Prior to entering legal academia, Bâli was in private practice in New York and Paris, where she focused on international transactions, but also maintained a substantial pro bono practice in the areas of civil rights, immigrants’ rights and human rights. In the course of her pro bono work, she represented immigrants detained after the September 11th attacks and directed research on a wide-ranging study of American immigration law and policy in the post-9/11 context together with the Migration Policy Institute. Bâli earned her J.D. from the Yale Law School and her PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton University.


Ms. Pouneh Behin

Workshop Immigration: Undocumented Experiences, Challenges, and Paths Forward

Raised in Switzerland, the daughter of two Iranian immigrants, Pouneh Behin migrated to the United States at the age of fourteen. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences and her Master's in Public Health from The Ohio State University. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated with a degree in French Literature & Culture and minor in Middle Eastern & North African studies. As a student, she has held/holds executive positions in various organizations, including but not limited to: Iranian Future Leaders - Knowledge is Power! Conference Director, Students for Justice in Palestine, EMPWR - the Somali Tutoring Project, Masih Daneshvari Hospital Internship Committee, and most recently, SCORE - an advocacy group for students of color . She has also been a leader in workers' rights, immigration, and other social justice campaigns. Apart from her training in the U.S., Pouneh has completed research and medical training in Iran, Palestine, and Uruguay, and aspires to work as a public health veterinarian in the Middle East.


Mr. Ally Bolour (ORAM)

Panel Iranian Refugees & Asylees: Rights, Challenges, Advocacy

Workshop Supporting the Rights of Iranian Refugees

Ally Bolour has been practicing immigration law since 1996 when he was admitted to the California State Bar. Mr. Bolour is a graduated of Southwestern University School of Law, in Los Angeles.

Mr. Bolour is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the American Immigration Council, based in Washington, DC. From 2004 until 2010, he served on the Board of Directors at the

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) based in NY. From 2007 until 2009, he was the Co-Chair of the Board at IGLHRC. Previously, he was the Co-Chair, of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Immigration Law Section in 1999/2000 and since 1998, continues to volunteer for and take pro bono cases at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

Mr. Bolour has frequently participated as a speaker on immigration-related seminars sponsored by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigration Project, LA County Bar Association, Harvard University LGBT Policy and Law Conference, Immigration Equality, and Lavender Law Project. He speaks fluent Farsi.


Mr. Adam Cameron (International Rescue Committee)

Panel Iranian Refugees & Asylees: Rights, Challenges, Advocacy

Workshop Supporting the Rights of Iranian Refugees

Adam Cameron was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas in December 2009 with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies. He has been a refugee resettlement caseworker at the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles for two and a half years, where he has worked primarily with Iranian religious minorities. His favorite Iranian song is “Baba Heydar” by Azita.


Dr. Touraj Daryaee

Roundtable Human Sciences and Iranian Diaspora Studies

Touraj Daryaee is the Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History ofIran and the Persianate World. His work centers on pre-modern Iranianhistory and also modern receptions and preceptions of the past. His mostrecent books included, The Oxford History of Iran, OUP, 2012; and, IranianKingship, The Arab Conquest and Zoroastrian Apocalypse, Mumbai, 2012.


Dr. Jasmin Darznik (Washington and Lee University)

Roundtable Of Home, Exile, and Other Fictions: A Writers’ Roundtable

Jasmin Darznik was born in Tehran, Iran and received her Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. Her first book, The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother's Hidden Life, was a New York Times bestseller and will be published in thirteen countries. It has been shortlisted for the 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and is a finalist for the 2011 Reader's Choice Award from the Library ofVirginia. Jasmin's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications. She's received awards and distinctions from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, San Francisco Foundation, Steinbeck Fellows Program, Zoetrope: All-Story, Iowa Review, Norman Mailer Colony, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Corporation of Yaddo. A professor of English and creative writing at Washington and Lee University, Jasmin has also taught Iranian literature at the University of Virginia. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she's now at work on a novel set in 1960s Iran.


Mr. Arash Davari (UCLA)

Panel Holding a Mirror to Ourselves: Critiques and Dialogues

Arash Davari is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research considers the relationship between narrative and political theory in modern Iran.


Ms. Mitra Ebadolahi (Nadine Strossen Fellow, ACLU National Security Project)

Panel Race & Profiling: Discrimination, Immigration, and the Pursuit of Justice in Iranian America

Born in 1980 in Tehran, Iran, Mitra was naturalized in 2000. She received a double BA, summa cum laude, in international development studies and history from UCLA. Thereafter, Mitra was awarded a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Scholarship and completed an MSc in Politics of the World Economy, with Distinction, at the London School of Economics. She received her JD, cum laude, and an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root Tilden Kern / Institute for International Law and Justice Scholar. Her LL.M. thesis examined the human collateral consequences of post-September 11 counterterrorism law and policy, using the control order regime in the U.K. as a case study. Immediately prior to joining the ACLU, Mitra clerked for Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. As a litigator, Mitra’s areas of expertise include: racial, ethnic and religious profiling of minorities and immigrants, and other post-9/11 civil rights infringements; “extraordinary rendition” and torture; local, state, and national surveillance; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests; constitutional and administrative law; and international human rights law.


Ms. Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz

Film Inheritance

Roundtable Filmmakers’ Roundtable

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz holds a Master’s degree in Multicultural Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of Georgia, where she served as researcher and writer for the Emmy Award-winning, preservation and education project, The Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative. In 2008, Aggie was named a University Fellow at Temple University and thus began a three-year tenure to earn her M.F.A. degree in Film and Media Arts. While at Temple, Aggie wrote and directed three documentary films poetically exploring the Iranian diaspora and the role of media in shaping Iranian diasporic identity. Her first film, Conversations with My Aunt (2009) won the Best Documentary prize at the Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival. As an educator, Aggie is interested in using film, video and new media tools to build media literacy and inspire critical thinking, cultural understanding, and civic participation. When not in the classroom, Aggieserves non-profits in meeting their communication needs. She currently works as Program Manager at the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) in San Francisco.


Dr. Babak Elahi (Rochester Institute of Technology)

Panel Iranians Online & Offline: Place and Space in Diaspora

Babak Elahi is Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he also teaches in the English department. He earned his Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Rochester. His book, The Fabric of American Literary Realism, was published in 2009. Elahi's articles on Iranian diasporic memoirs have appeared in Symploke (a journal of literary theory, philosophy, and culture), Iranian Studies, and MELUS. Other articles, on American literature, immigration, and other subjects have appeared in College Literature, The Journal of Advanced Composition, Arizona Quarterly, and American Behavioral Scientist. In 2011, Elahi co-edited (with Persis Karim) half of a special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (31:2) on Iranian diasporic culture. Elahi’s “Poisons and Remedies in Sadegh Hedayat’s The Blind

Owl is forthcoming in Middle Eastern Literatures (formerly Edabiyat). Another article, "Crossing Tehran Avenue," is also forthcoming in the journal Cultural Studies. The article explores the potential and limits of imagining Iranian diasporic space through metaphors and realities of the city in cyberspace, using TehranAvenue.com as its case study.


Mr. Mahmood Enayat (Oxford Internet Institute)

Panel The Production of Diaspora Media: News & Journalism

Mahmood Enayat is the Director of Small Media, a non for profit based in London (smallmedia.org.uk). Prior to establishing Small Media, he was the Iran project director at the BBC World Service Trust. Mahmood Enayat is a doctoral student at the Oxford Internet Institute. Mahmood holds a Masters degree in Analysis, Design and Imple- mentation of Information Systems from the London School of Economics (2006) as well as a BSc in Computer Science with Management from King‘s College London (2005).


Mr. Aria Fani (Iranian School of San Diego)

Panel Education in Diaspora: Pedagogical Questions and Possibilities

Aria Fani holds a degree in Comparative Literature. He has taught Persian at the Iranian School of San Diego and English in México. Aria writes for various publications in the U.S and internationally. He is studying Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.


Mr. Amirali Ghasemi (Parkingallery)

Screening New Constellations

Amirali Ghasemi (b.1980, Iran) is a curator, media artist and a graphic designer. In 1998, Ghasemi founded Parkingallery, an independent project space in Tehran and in 2002 he set up Parkingallery.com, an online platform for young Iranian artists. As a curator he has been directing many exhibitions, workshops, and talks for Parkingallery projects, such as Deep Depression (2004-06), Sideways (2008). He has co-curated The Urban Jealousy, 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran (2008-09) and three editions of Limited Access Festival for Video and Performance (2007-11), followed by his involvement in a variety of projects for institutions, project spaces and universities in Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, UK, Egypt, Turkey, United States, Brazil, Canada, France and India. IRAN&CO is his latest curatorial project, an ongoing exhibition and archive of Iranian art representation beyond its border.


Ms. Elham Gheytanchi (Santa Monica Community College)

Panel Holding a Mirror to Ourselves: Critiques and Dialogues

Elham Gheytanchi teaches sociology at Santa Monica College. Her scholarly articles, opinion columns, essays, and book reviews on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and women’s rights in Iran have appeared in academic Journals as well as host of online and print media such as CNN 360, Huffington Post, Ms Magazine, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle. She has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR) as associate producer (2001-2).


Ms. Shirin Hakimzadeh (IAAB/Davis Polk and Wardwell, LLP)

Panel Iranian Refugees & Asylees: Rights, Challenges, and Advocacy

Workshop Immigration: Undocumented Experiences, Challenges, and Paths Forward

Ms. Shirin Hakimzadeh is a Litigation Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP in New York City, where she represents clients in complex civil litigation and internal investigations. Prior to arriving at the firm, Ms. Hakimzadeh clerked for the Honorable G. Murray Snow in the District of Arizona. She is a graduate from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an Executive Notes Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. Ms. Hakimzadeh holds a bachelor degree from Rice University in her hometown of Houston, and a master's degree from Oxford University, where she studied Social and Cultural Anthropology as the recipient of the Wagoner Scholarship. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Mexico, Chile, and London, where she wrote her master's thesis on the integration of second-generation Iranians. Since then, she has written several articles on the Iranian foreign-born in the US and on migration issues relevant to Iran for the Migration Policy Institute. She has been involved in IAAB since 2005, serving as a former Co-Executive Director and current member of the Board of Advisors.


Ms. Noosheen Hashemi (The HAND Foundation)


Noosheen Hashemi, President and co-founder of The HAND Foundation, is a philanthropist with a passion for entrepreneurship and economic development. Since 2003, she has led The HAND Foundation's efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, strengthen the global middle class and advance the philanthropic sector. Ms. Hashemi is also a board member of the New America Foundation and a trustee of the India Community Center.

From 2006 to 2011, Ms. Hashemi co-founded and chaired PARSA Community Foundation, the first Iranian-American community foundation. Since 1997 Ms. Hashemi has been an independent investor and advisor in the software industry. In 1996, she joined Quote.com, a profitable personal finance pioneer, as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to that Ms. Hashemi held various management positions at Oracle Corporation between 1985 and 1995, where she took active part in software's meteoric rise as an industry. She was appointed Director of Finance and Administration in 1988 and named Vice President in 1990. In 1991, she won Oracle's "Against All Odds Award" for her role in the company's financial turnaround. In 1993, she led expansion of Oracle services as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Oracle's Worldwide Education.

Ms. Hashemi is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and CEDAW Human Rights Award for Philanthropy. She holds a B.S. in Economics from San Jose State University and an M.S. in Management from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, where she became a Sloan Fellow.


Mr. Pouya Jahanshahi (Laguna College of Art & Design)

Panel Iranians Online & Offline: Place and Space in Diaspora

Pouya Jahanshahi is currently member of the faculty of Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD). He received his MFA in Graphic design and Integrated Media, from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Mr. Jahanshahi previously taught as Assistant Professor of graphic design at Chapman University (Orange, California), as well as numerous colleges and universities such as The Art Institute of California, University of California Irvine, Long and California State University Fullerton, amongst others. His current research focus is on the documentation of the global development of what he calls "Hybrid Visual Cultures"; where cross-pollination of cultures have resulted in the birth of new visual realms.

He has presented on such related issues internationally including ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) and IGDS (Iranian Graphic Design Society). While being the past AIGA- Orange County’s (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Education Chair, Mr.Jahanshahi is also a member of IGDS (Iranian Graphic Design Society), staying active in issues involving design on both sides of the globe. In addition, Mr.Jahanshahi is the principal owner of XpatStudio, acting as a freelance Art director. While volunteering at the Braille Institute, his hobbies and activities include Persian calligraphy, silk-screening and concrete poetry.


Dr. Persis Karim (San Jose State University)

Roundtable Of Home, Exile, and Other Fictions: A Writers’ Roundtable

Persis M. Karim is a professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature and the Director of San Jose State University's newly-established Persian Studies Program. She is initiating a program of courses, Persian language instruction and research on Iranian Americans in California. She is the editor of Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (2006) and co-editor of A World Between: Poems, Short Stories and Essays by Iranian-Americans (1999). She is co-editor with Anita Amirrezvani of Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers, forthcoming by the University of Arkansas Press in March 2013. She has written numerous articles about Iranian diaspora literature and has edited a number of journals including a special issue of MELUS: Multi-Ethnic LIteratures of the United States on Iranian-American Literature (with Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh) and a Special issue of Comparative Studies of Asia Africa and the MIddle East (CSAAME) on Iranian Diaspora (with Dr. Babak Elahi). She is also founder of the Association of Iranian-American Writers (www.iranianamericanwriters.org).


Ms. Porochista Khakpour

Panel Cultural Production in the Iranian Diaspora: Cutting-Edge Practitioners Speak

Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has been awarded fellowships from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ucross Foundation, Djerassi, and Yaddo. She is most recently the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose).

Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 9/07) – a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune’s “Fall Best,” and 2007 California Book Award winner – is out in paperback. Her second novel The Last Illusion is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. She has also penned the introduction to a new English edition of one of the greatest modern Iranian novels of all time, Sadegh Hedayat’s The Blind Owl (10/10). She was also invited to be the guest-editor and curator of Guernica’s first Iranian-American issue, which came out in November 2011.

Her other writings (essays, features, reviews, cover stories, and columns) have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, The Paris Review Daily, Granta.com, Poets and Writers, The Rumpus, Paper, Flaunt, Nylon, Bidoun, Alef, Canteen, nerve.com, FiveChapters.com, and many others. As of 2008, she’s been a frequent contributor of personal essays to the New York Times.


Ms. Sarah Khanghahi (UCLA)

Roundtable Iranian Community Centers: Lessons Learned, Models, and Challenges

Originally from Northern California, Sarah attended the University of California, Los Angeles where she was a participant in the UCLA Honors Collegium, majored in Political Science, with a concentration in Political Theory, and graduated magna cum laude. She has been a board member of ISG, the Iranian Student Group at UCLA, a returning camp counselor at IAAB’s Camp Ayandeh, and has experience coordinating various programs within the Iranian community, including community events in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors as well. Her workshop will analyze current community centers within the Iranian community and question whether or not all community needs are being met.


Ms. Niloufar Khonsari (Omid Advocates for Human Rights)

Panel Iranian Refugees & Asylees: Rights, Challenges, Advocacy

Workshop Supporting the Rights of Iranian Refugees

As an attorney for Omid Advocates for Human Rights, Niloufar currently represents refugee and immigrant clients abroad and in the US. She previously worked with a number of public interest organizations focusing on immigrant rights and worker rights. A former Fulbright Fellow in Sierra Leone, she worked with a legal services organization dedicated to serving the rural poor. As part of the Fulbright, she taught a seminar for the Human Rights Clinic at a local university and conducted policy research on labor and employment issues in Sierra Leone. As a law student, Niloufar co-taught two Immigration Policy seminars and conducted extensive research abroad. Niloufar worked as a legal intern with United Nations Development Project in Tehran, Iran, where she was born. A refugee and immigrant herself, Niloufar is deeply committed to the rights of refugees and immigrants worldwide. She is the recipient of several awards and honorees, namely the James F. Slevin Award for academic excellence and dedication to social justice. She received her B.S., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her J.D. from Georgetown Law School, with certification in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from the Institute for the Study of International Migration.


Mr. Jeff Knowlton (34 North 118 West)

Panel Iranians Online & Offline: Space and Place in Diaspora

Jeff Knowlton is, amongst others, one of the foremost pioneers in Locative Media, as well as a conceptual artist and photographer. In 2002, Knowlton and collaborators Jeremy Hight and Naomi Spellman, exhibited34 North 118 West, the first "Location-aware Narrative" ever to be produced. 34 North 118 Westis an experimental art work operating on a TabletPC utilizing digital media, computation and GPS to deliver an interactive narrative experience across a one half square mile area in downtown Los Angeles near Sci-Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Mr. Knowlton has also worked on large scale projects for clients such as Mattel, Union Bank of California and The Centre for Global Dialogue in Reuschlikon Switzerland. As head preparator at the Orlando Museum of Art, he spent 5 years working closely with curators in both exhibitions and education. He participates in panels and lectures on interactive media and technology in the US and abroad. He is a recipient of a New Forms Initiative Grant funded by the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation. Mr. Knowlton has taught at UC San Diego in the Interdisciplinary Computing Arts Program and UC Irvine. His academic achievements include (1999 ) MFA from CalArts in Art & Critical Studies as well (1995) BFA in Arts.


Dr. Mazyar Lotfalian (UC Irvine, Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture)

Roundtable Human Sciences and Iranian Diaspora Studies

Mazyar Lotfalian (PhD, Anthropology, Rice University) is currently the Assistant Director of Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California, Irvine. He is working on a book on aesthetics and politics of the transnational circulation of visual culture (film, multimedia art, performance, and photography) among Iranians. He is also interested in studies of science and technology in non-Western settings and the role the religion, a topic he addressed in his book, Islam, Technoscientific Identities, and Culture of Curiosity (2004, UPA). For this work he conducted multi-sited ethnographic research of Islamic movements in Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, and the US. He has taught courses on Islam, cinema, media, and science studies at University of Pittsburgh, Yale University, The New School University, and Emerson College, and held post-doctoral fellowship positions at the Center for Religion and Media at NYU, and Harvard University’s Middle East Center.


Ms. Amy Malek (UCLA/IAAB)

Panel Cultural Production in the Iranian Diaspora: Cutting-Edge Practitioners Speak

Amy Malek is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Sociocultural Anthropology. Her primary interests are in visual anthropology, diaspora studies, ethnic studies, cultural production, and immigration. Ms. Malek has worked with IAAB since its inception in 2003, serving in multiple roles. She holds an M.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from NYU, where she was a MacCracken Fellow. She graduated summa cum laude from Emory University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and International Studies. Alongside her graduate studies, Ms. Malek curated an exhibition of Iranian-American documentary photography entitled, DOCUMENT, exhibited at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles in the summer of 2010.


Ms. Sanaz Mazinani

Screening New Constellations

Art DisplayImminent Infinite

Sanaz Mazinani is an artist, curator, and educator based in San Francisco and Toronto. She holds her undergraduate degree from Ontario College of Art & Design University, and her MFA from Stanford University. Mazinani’s work explores the relationship between perception and representation. Working primarily in photography and large-scale photo-based installations, her practice intersects conceptual and formal boundaries of the photographic image in response to site, sight and insight, especially in relation to digital culture. Mazinani was the 2011 visual arts curator for the Iranian Canadian Centre for Art & Culture’s interdisciplinary arts triennial, Tirgan. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Stephen Bulger Gallery, Carnegie Gallery, and Art & Architecture Library at Stanford University. In 2012, Mazinani’s catalogue Unfolding Images was released, and she was named a fellow at the Kala Art Institute.


Mr. Ronald Meltzer (WilmerHale)

Workshop What are the impacts of sanctions on Iranian Americans? (Q/A)

Ronald I. Meltzer is a partner in the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department, and a member of the Defense, National Security and Government Contracts and International Trade, Investment and Market Access Practice Groups. He joined the firm in 1989. Mr. Meltzer's practice focuses on licensing, compliance and enforcement matters relating to US export controls and economic sanctions. He also represents clients in customs and trade remedy cases. In addition, Mr. Meltzer has particular expertise in the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Mr. Meltzer has represented clients on all aspects of US export control and economic sanctions law, including the Export Administration Regulations, anti-boycott provisions, OFAC sanctions requirements, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. His work includes due diligence reviews, transaction advice, licensing, corporate compliance programs, regulatory audits, voluntary disclosures and enforcement cases. Mr. Meltzer has extensive experience dealing with the US Department of State, US Department of Commerce and OFAC on these matters.


Ms. Mastaneh Moghadam, LSW (Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles)

Workshop Social Services and the Iranian American Community

Mastaneh Moghadam, LCSW. Holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Music Therapy from California State University Northridge; and a Masters of Social Work degree from California State University Long Beach. She has been working in the Los Angeles area for the non-profit agency, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), as well as in her own private practice since 2001. Mastaneh is currently the Iranian Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at JFS. Twelve years ago she developed and implemented the “Yaran: Iranian Peer Counselors and Advocates” program of Jewish Family Service. She has also been responsible for the development, coordination and implementation of multiple grants (including a Violence Against Women’s Act grant, a California Community Foundation grant, and a Department of Mental Health Contract) that expands mental health and social services for the Iranian community. Mastaneh has worked extensively in the area of Domestic Violence, providing outreach and education to the Iranian community as well as facilitating trainings and presentations for various organizations including the West Hollywood and Beverly Hills Police Department. Mastaneh currently works with individuals, families, couples, and children in her private practice in Sherman Oaks, CA.


Dr. Hamid Naficy (Northwestern University)


Hamid Naficy is a Professor of Radio-Television-Film and the Hamid Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication at Northwestern University, and is an affiliate faculty appointment in the Department of Art History. He is a leading authority in cultural studies of diaspora, exile, and postcolonial cinemas and media and of Iranian and Middle Eastern cinemas. His areas of research and teaching include these topics as well as documentary and ethnographic cinemas. Naficy has published extensively on these and allied topics.

His English language books are: An Accented Cinema: Exile and Diasporic Filmmaking; Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place (edited); The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles; Otherness and the Media: the Ethnography of the Imagined and the Imaged (co-edited); and Iran Media Index. He has also published extensively in Persian, including a two-volume book on the documentary cinema theory and history, Film-e Mostanad (Entesharate-e-Daneshgah-e Azad-e Iran). He has lectured widely internationally and his works have been cited and reprinted extensively and translated into many languages.


Mr. Ayat Najafi

Panel Cultural Production in the Iranian Diaspora: Cutting-Edge Practitioners Speak

Film Football Under Cover

Roundtable Filmmakers’ Roundtable

Born in Tehran in 1976, Ayat Najafi studied scenography in his hometown. After establishing his first youth theater company in 1995, he worked as a director, author and set designer for a variety of workshops and theatrical productions. Since 2000, he has staged his own directorial work to both Iranian and international audiences. In 2003 Ayat established the Arta Atelier, focusing on an interdisciplinary multimedia approach to theater as well as experimental short and documentary film. He is also a cultural-scientific alumnus of the University of Konstanz (October 2008-September 2009), where he presented his theater production “Stories of Women with Mustaches and Men in Skirts.”

“Lady Tehran,” which Ayat wrote and directed as his second theater production in Germany, premiered in June 2009 in Berlin. In 2011 he followed with “Rasht-City of Women,” also performed in Berlin. Ayat’s international film career began in 2005, when he participated in “Shoot Goals, Shoot Movies” at Berlinale Talent Campus with his short film, Move It (2004). His first feature documentary “Football Under Cover,” co-directed by David Assmann, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2008, winning the Teddy Award for best documentary and the Prix Europa Iris for best multicultural television programme of 2009. Ayat has also been on several high-profile festival juries, most recently the Amnesty International Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival 2012. Ayat has written extensively for publications on art and culture. He currently lives in Berlin and Tehran.


Mr. Shahin Najafi

Special Guest Talk

Shahin Najafi is an Iranian musician, singer, songwriter, and social activist currently residing in Germany. He began his music career in Iran before immigrating to Germany in 2005. He has been referred to as being one of the forefronters in Iran's modern hip hop scene by several experts and critics.

Najafi's songs mostly deal with issues such as theocracy, poverty, sexism, censorship, child labor, execution, drug addiction and homophobia. He strives to use poetic, literary, philosophical and political elements in his music. He began writing poetry as a teenager and began learning the guitar in the classical and flamenco styles at the age of eighteen. He then became an underground artist in Iran, performing in both rock and Spanish music styles, working with various bands.


Mr. Ashkan Nasseri

Film Dar An Sooy

Roundtable Filmmakers’ Roundtable

Ashkan Nasseri was born in 1982 in Tehran Iran. He got his BSc. degree in Software Engineering from University of Tehran in Iran. Right after his graduation in 2006 he moved to Boston to pursue his graduate studies. Since then he has been working and studying here in the US and never had a chance to go back to Iran. Being away from his homeland, in 2010 he started working on his first short movie, “Dar An Sooy” (On the other side). “Dar An Sooy” is about life in diaspora and portrays the lives of the people they have left behind. Currently he is working on his new short movie, “Baran” (Rain).


Ms. Golnoush Niknejad (TehranBureau.com)

Panel The Production of Diasporic Media: News & Journalism

Born in Iran, Golnoush moved to the United States when she was 17. Sheholds a B.A. in political science and writing and a law degree with aninternational and European focus. Following her initial news work inSouthern California and Massachusetts, Golnoush moved to New York City and earned two master's degrees in journalism from ColumbiaUniversity, focusing first on print and then politics and government.Her award-winning work includes reporting for Tehran Bureau,PBS/FRONTLINE, the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Time, Foreign Policy, and California Lawyer. She has served as a moderator and panelist on discussions about digital journalism and Iranianpolitics. Past venues have included MIT, Kennedy School of Governmentat Harvard University, Columbia University, Paley Center/Carnegie, andthe Poynter Institute. In 2012, Tehran Bureau's coverage of "ModernIran" was selected by Columbia Journalism School as one of "50 GreatStories" produced by alumni in the last 100 years. She is also theinaugural recipient of the Innovator Award from Columbia JournalismSchool for "inspiring, creating, developing, or implementing new ideasthat further the cause of journalism." The Daily Beast named her oneof "17 people who are changing the world" through their editing,blogging, reporting, videos, and Twitter feeds. Golnoush launchedTehran Bureau in November 2008. Tehran Bureau is now in partnershipwith PBS/FRONTLINE. Their first editorial partnership on adocumentary, "A Death in Tehran," won an Emmy for continuing coverage of a news story.


Dr. Marjorie Orellana (UCLA)

Panel Education in Diaspora: Pedagogical Questions and Possibilities

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana is a professor of education in the Urban Schooling division of the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Orellana’s research interests involve sociocultural approaches to the study of language, literacy, learning, and children’s experiences in urban school communities. She focuses especially on the work that the children of immigrants do as language and culture brokers for their families. Her ethnographic research on this topic in three communities is summarized in her 2009 book, Translating Childhoods: Immigrant Youth, Language, and Culture. Through her book, Orellana expands our understanding of children's productive contributions to families and society by examining children’s work as language and culture brokers. Utilizing interviews, participant observation, and taped data, she explores the ways in which bilingual youth use their knowledge of English and cultural practices to speak, listen, read, write and do things for their immigrant parents. Her research exposes how immigrant children’s work as translators and interpreters opens families’ access to resources, knowledge, and information and their active involvement in family decision-making processes both inside and outside the home.


Mr. Sourena Parham (Shahrefarang.com)

Panel Storytelling: Oral, Visual, and Multimedia Histories of Iranians in Diaspora

Sourena Parham is an Iranian-American visual artist and a cultural enthusiast with experience in photography, documentary filmmaking, and web development. He is currently working on ShahreFarang and another web project on Shiite iconography and Qahve-khaneh style of painting.


Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh (UC Irvine, Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture and Professor of Comparative Literature)

Panel Storytelling: Oral, Visual, and Multimedia Histories of Iranians in Diaspora

Roundtable Human Sciences and Iranian Diaspora Studies

Nasrin Rahimieh is Maseeh Chair and Director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian

Studies and Culture and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Her teaching and research are focused on modern Persian literature, the literature of Iranian exile and diaspora, contemporary Iranian women’s writing, and post-revolutionary cinema. Among her publications are Oriental Responses to the West (Brill 1990), Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History (Syracuse 2001), Forugh Farrokhzad, Poet Of Modern Iran: Iconic Woman And Feminine Pioneer Of New Persian Poetry (2010) co-edited with Dominic Parviz Brookshaw. Her English translation of the late Taghi Modarressi’s last novel, The Virgin of Solitude was published in 2008 by Syracuse University Press.


Ms. Orly Rahimiyan (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

Panel Holding a Mirror to Ourselves: Critiques and Dialogues

Orly Rahimiyan is a Ph.D. candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University and a Research Fellow at the Ben Zvi Institute. She received an M.A. summa cum laude in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies as well as a B.A. summa cum laude in Arabic (language and literature) and Iranian studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ms. Rahimiyan is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Columbia University's Center for Iranian Studies, the Phyllis Greenberg Heideman and Richard D. Heideman Fellowship at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture International Doctoral Scholarship, Nathan Rotenstreich Scholarship from Ben-Gurion University, and a Vidal Sassoon International Center Scholarship. Ms. Rahimiyan contributed 42 entries on Judeo-Persian people and places to editor Norman Stillman's Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, and also appears in editor Ihsan Yarshater's Encyclopedia Iranica and editor Manocher Dorraj's Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic.


Ms. Sanaz Raji (University of Leeds)

Panel Iranians Online & Offline: Place and Space in Diaspora

Sanaz Raji is a PhD Scholar at the Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds. She is examining the use of subversive humor online created by second generation diasporic Iranians as part of a larger discourse on the dynamic of being Iranian diasporic in a post-September 11th context. She has presented her work at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Sussex University, University of Manchester, University College London, and Wolfson College, Oxford University, and the 2012 FutureEverything Conference. Sanaz was the Project Assistant for the EU funded Media & Citizenship project at the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science. She wrote a chapter entitled, “The Iranian diaspora in the West” for a book edited by Kim Knott and Sean McLoughlin, Diasporas: Concepts, Identities, Intersections, Zed Press (2010). Additionally, Sanaz has written for the Comments is Free section of the Guardian Online, and Pakistan’s DAWN blog.


Dr. Paola Rivetti (School of Law and Government, Dublin City University)

Panel Transnational Activism in and between Iran and the Iranian Diaspora

Dr. Paola Rivetti is an Irish Research Council (IRC) post-doctoral fellow at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University (Ireland). She completed a PhD in Social Sciences and History at the University of Siena in 2010. Her research interests are the politics of domination and dissent in Iran, with particular attention to the student movements; the politics of Iranian Diaspora and refugees, transnational political activism and networks in the case of Iranians. Her main publications are: “Iranian student activism between authoritarianism and democratization: Patterns of conflict and cooperation between the Office for the Strengthening of Unity and the regime” (co-authored article with Francesco Cavatorta, ‘Democratization’, forthcoming); ‘The importance of being civil society:’ student politics and the reformist movement in Khatami’s Iran (co-authored article with Francesco Cavatorta, ‘Middle Eastern Studies’, forthcoming); Student movements in the Islamic Republic: shaping Iran’s politics through the campus (Chaillot Paper 128, 2012); and Civil Society Effect. Practices and Rhetoric in Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco (co-edited volume with Rosita Di Peri, Bonanno 2010, in Italian).


Dr. Bronwen Robertson (Small Media)

Panel Storytelling: Oral, Visual, and Multimedia Histories of Iranians in Diaspora

Dr. Bronwen Robertson, Small Media’s Director of Operations, is a passionate qualitative researcher who is fluent in Persian and deeply involved with research on diverse Iranian communities. Bronwen lived in Iran from July 2007 – July 2008, where she conducted the research for her book Reverberations of Dissent: Identity and Expression in Tehran’s Illegal Rock Music Scene (Continuum, 2012). In addition to co-authoring Small Media’s 2011 report Cultural Censorship in Iran, she recently designed, implemented and managed a large-scale research project for Small Media, which reports on how Iran’s LGBT communities use the internet to develop community and identity. The project, which culminated in the publication of the report “LGBT Republic of Iran: An Online Reality?”, used a qualitative methodology that combined data from secret Facebook groups, case studies and questionnaires.


Ms. Hoori Sadler (PACI)

Panel Bringing Us Together: Innovative Diasporic Community Organizing

Roundtable Giving Back: Philanthropy in the Iranian Diaspora

Mrs. Sadler came to this country, like many other immigrants, empty-handed and single-handed. As CEO of the Sadler Medical Group, she has been the most successful discretionary fundraiser for the UMMA Clinic. In 2006, following her own experiences as both a cancer researcher and cancer survivor, she founded the Persian-American Cancer Institute (PACI), a service organization intended to both enable the Persian-American community to reduce the impact of cancer today and eliminate the threat of cancer tomorrow, but also to serve as a role model for other minorities as well.

PACI has had many valuable impacts on the Persian-American community. One of the most visible has been the increasing registration of Persian-Americans in the national bone marrow registry: Be The Match! This participation has resulted in thousands of additional registrations by Persian-Americans, and untold lives saved because a matching donor was available when needed.

Following many prior recognitions of her efforts, in 2010 Mrs. Sadler received the Women in Action Award from the Israel Cancer Research Fund, as well as commendations from both the cities of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. In 2011, she received the Star Rose Award from the Institute of Women's Enlightenment and, on the same day, was honored for outstanding philanthropic efforts by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


Mr. Arash Saedinia

Roundtable Filmmakers’ Roundtable

Arash Saedinia was born in Esfahan and raised in Los Angeles. He studied Political Science and Peace & Conflict Studies at Berkeley, Creative Writing at Northridge, and Law at Harvard. His poetry appears in the anthology A World Between: Poems, Short Stories and Essays by Iranian-Americans. He co-curated the compilation Pomegranates: Persian Pop, Folk and Psych of the 60s and 70s. His photography was part of the project Document: Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles. He is a contributing editor for BTa'arof Magazine. Saedinia teaches at Los Angeles City College.


Dr. Catherine Sameh (Barnard Center for Research on Women)

Panel Transnational Activism in and between Iran and the Iranian Diaspora

Catherine Sameh, Ph.D. is Associate Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women. She is responsible for the Center’s media productions, including the well- respected webjournal Scholar & Feminist Online. She is also in charge of transnational collaborations with peer centers globally. Catherine’s work at the Center draws on her expertise on transnational feminism developed in her dissertation, “Signatures, Networks, Rights: Iranian Feminism in the Transnational Sphere.” Her dissertation explores the role of transnational networks, and cyber and print technologies in coalescing new political cultures, and considers how Iranian feminists reframe the putative opposition between religious (Islam) and secular (rights) discourses.


Ms. Homa Sarshar

Panel Storytelling: Oral, Visual, and Multimedia Histories of Iranians in Diaspora

Homa Sarshar is a published author and an award-winning journalist, writer, media personality, and lecturer. She is the author of two books and the editor of twelve other volumes, including five volumes of the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation Journal and four volumes of The History of Contemporary Iranian Jews. Her latest book Shaban Jafari was the number-one best seller Persian book in Iran and abroad in the year 2003. From 1964 to 1978, she was a correspondent, a reporter, and a columnist for Zan-e ruz weekly magazine and Kayhan daily newspaper in Iran, where she also worked as a television producer, director, and talk-show host of National Iranian Radio & Television. In 1978, Sarshar moved to Los Angeles where she resumed her career as a freelance journalist, radio and television producer, and on-air host. Since 1998, Sarshar has been working with a satellite television network here in the United States as a writer, producer, and host of various programs. Her show is broadcast weekly throughout the United States, Europe, and Iran. In 1995, Homa Sarshar founded the Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History in Los Angeles, an organization that has succeeded in collecting a wealth of information and documentation about the life and history of Jews in Iran.


Dr. Roger Sedarat (Queens College, CUNY)

Roundtable Of Home, Exile, and Other Fictions: Iranian Diaspora Writers’ Roundtable

Roger Sedarat is the author of Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio UP's 2007 Hollis Summers' Prize, and Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011). He teaches poetry and literary translation in the MFA Program at Queens College, City University of New York.


Mr. Diego Sepulveda

Workshop Immigration: Undocumented Experiences, Challenges, and Paths Forward

Born in Mexico, raised in Huntington Park (Southeast LA), and a graduate of UCLA, Diego has, for the longest time, been involved in cross-community building, especially in the undocumented & LGBT community. He is passionate about human rights and moving communities forward together. Equal rights is not about some, it's about all, and together we can make a difference. Currently, Diego is pursuing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Nonprofit Management and hopes to build more effective nonprofits to meet the needs of various communities.


Ms. Pardis Shafafi (University of St Andrews)

Panel Storytelling: Oral, Visual, and Multimedia Histories of Iranians in Diaspora

Pardis Shafafi is a doctoral candidate in the department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in broad based Anthropology from University College London in 2010. Her dissertation project focused on the literal and political (in)visibility of female homosexuals in Havana, Cuba, based on research conducted during 2009. Her current thesis project is centred on the narratives of former-communist activists living in Diaspora. This draws on themes of identity, agency, political activism, and migration. Her areas of interest are located within wider contexts of communism and feminism, Diaspora and migration, (gendered) narratives, and agency. She is currently living in Oslo, Norway where she is pursuing her Doctoral research. As a first generation Iranian immigrant to London, Pardis’ fascination with real and imagined boundaries as well as identity and political activism have led her into creative mediums which explore these dimensions to diverse ends. She has worked extensively with former political prisoners, translating their works to and from Farsi for alternative and informative endeavours ranging from theatre productions to personal blogs and autobiographies. She is currently freelancing with human rights groups and plays a key role in the Iran Tribunal campaign.


Mr. Sadra Shahab (Pratt Institute Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development)

Panel Transnational Activism in and between Iran and the Iranian Diaspora

Sadra Shahab is an Iranian urban planner and civil rights activist based in New York City. A cofounder of the group "Where Is My Vote—NY", he organized protests and events in support of the social uprising in the wake of the 2009 presidential election in Iran. He is also a member of “Havaar: Iranian Initiative against War, Sanctions, and State Repression”. He is currently working on his thesis on urban land evaluation models at Pratt Institute's Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development. He is the co-author of Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space (2012).


Slavs and Tatars Artist Collective

Panel Cultural Production in the Iranian Diaspora: Cutting-Edge Practitioners Speak

Slavs and Tatars is an art collective devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China otherwise known as Eurasia, whose works have been exhibited at major museums around the world, including the Tate Modern, Vienna Secession, and a current solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in NY. The collective’s work spans several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low). Slavs and Tatars have published several books including Kidnapping Mountains (Book Works, 2009), Love Me, Love Me Not: Changed Names (onestar press, 2010), Not Moscow Not Mecca (Revolver/Secession,2012) and Khhhhhhh (Mousse/Moravia Gallery, 2012) as well as their translationof the legendary Azeri satire Molla Nasreddin: the magazine that would've, could've, should've (JRP-Ringier, 2011).


Ms. Ziba Shirazi

Storytelling Performance “Lost Identity,” from Story & Song

Ziba Shirazi is a poet, singer, songwriter, and raconteur from the Persian land of wine and poetry - Shiraz. Ziba is known for her bold and provocative poetry and is often referred to as the voice of women in the Persian community. Ziba's compositions are a mellow fusion of Persian music folded into American Jazz - charming Persian melodies blended with world music, inspired by passion to elicit compassion.

Ziba’s collaboration with Chilean-American Jazz pianist, Dr. Jose-Miguel Yamal, has deepened the presence of fiery jazz and Latin music in her performances. Having performed together worldwide since 2006, they create a synergistic experience of passion and expression. As Matthew Crosier from CBC radio says, “You can expect perfect pitch voice and a top notch band.”

While working on her master thesis since 2010, Ziba has created the Story & Song project. Story & Song is the true story of Iranian immigrants who left Iran after the Islamic revolution and scattered throughout the world in search of a better future. It is an untold story of transformation; and the price each immigrant pays in order to become part of a new society. Story & Song is the story of losing and gaining; story of growth and achievements; story of who we were, where we came from and who we became as a citizen of the world.


Mr. Ahmad Reza Tabrizi (Parya Trillium Foundation, Toronto)

Panel Bringing Us Together: Innovative Community Organizing

Roundtable Iranian Community Centers: Lessons Learned, Models, and Challenges

Mr. Ahmad Reza Tabrizi is the Founder and President of the Parya Trillium Foundation in Toronto, a lively and inclusive community centre that hosts educational, social, cultural, art and recreational activities to meet the needs of Greater Toronto’s Persian speaking community and the community at large. With over 40 years of experience in international business, Mr. Tabrizi holds a Master's degree in Chemical and Petrochemical Engineering from Tehran Polytechnic (Amir Kabir University) and a degree in plastic technology from Osaka Research Institute. He is the Co-Founder of the Iran Canada Business Council, President and CEO of Taim Consulting Inc. and Taim Canada Inc., and Chairman of the Board for Liberty Development, Inc. Mr. Tabrizi has years of experience in successful fundraising and establishing charitable organizations. He has been active in the Toronto Iranian community, participating in disaster relief efforts, establishing cultural programs like Persian Circle, and serving as the Chair of Parya’s Fundraising Committee. He has received a number of awards for his achievements, including a Distinction in Business medal from the Lieutenant Government General of Ontario as well as a Diamond Jubilee Medal By Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.


Mr. John Tehranian (Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School & Founding Partner, One LLP)

Panel Race & Profiling: Discrimination, Immigration, and the Pursuit of Justice in Iranian America

John Tehranian is an academic, attorney and author. He is the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School, and has previously served as a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, and as a Visiting Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. He is also a founding partner of One LLP, an intellectual property and entertainment firm with offices in Newport Beach and Santa Monica. In his practice, he has litigated numerous high-profile lawsuits, including copyright, trademark and right of publicity disputes involving Madonna, Don Henley, B.B. King, Bettie Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Perez Hilton, among others.

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, John is the author of dozens of articles and two books, Whitewashed: America’s Invisible Middle Eastern Minority (New York University Press, 2009), which Publisher’s Weekly has lauded as a “consistently informative” work that “covers fresh legal and social territory,” and Infringement Nation: Copyright 2.0 and You (Oxford University Press, 2011), which the Harvard Law Review has praised for its “insightful critique of the copyright regime” and “convincing case for . . . reform.” A frequent commentator for the broadcast and print media, he has appeared on such television programs as ABC's Nightline and has been quoted as an expert on legal issues in such publications as The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Christian Science Monitor.


Dr. Omid Tofighian (University of Western Sydney/University of Wollongong)

Panel Iranian Refugees and Asylees: Rights, Challenges, and Advocacy

Dr. Omid Tofighian completed his PhD in Philosophy (Myth, philosophy and Plato) at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and graduated with a combined honours degree in Philosophy and Studies in Religion at The University of Sydney. Over the past eight years he has lived variously in the UAE where he taught at Abu Dhabi University; Belgium where he was a visiting scholar at K.U. Leuven; the Netherlands for his PhD; and short periods in Iran and Australia. During this time he has organized numerous art and cultural events which focus on cultural awareness and social justice. He has published academic articles on various subjects, taught at the University of Western Sydney, University of Sydney and University of Wollongong. He currently teaches at the University of Western Sydney.


Dr. Nayereh Tohidi (California State University, Northridge)

Panel Transnational Activism in and between Iran and the Iranian Diaspora

Professor Nayereh Tohidi is Professor and former Chair at the Department of Gender & Women Studies, California State University, Northridge. She is also the Research Associate at the Center for Near Eastern Studies of UCLA where she has been coordinating the Bilingual Lecture Series on Iran since 2003.

Her teaching and research areas include sociology of gender, religion (Islam), ethnicity and democracy in the Middle East and post-Soviet Central Eurasia, especially Iran and Azerbaijan Republic. She is the recipient of several grants, fellowships and research awards, including a year of Fulbright lectureship and research at the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan; post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University; the Hoover Institute of Stanford University; the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and the Keddie-Balzan Fellowship at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA. She has held visiting positions at Universities of Iowa, Minnesota, Harvard, UCLA, and USC. Recently she has been awarded the National Endowment Grant for Humanities to develop and launch a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in California State University, Northridge.

Tohidi’s publications include editorship or authorship of: Globalization, Gender and Religion: The Politics of Women’s Rights in Catholic and Muslim Contexts; Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity; and Feminism, Democracy and Islamism in Iran.


Mr. Kurosh ValaNejad (USC School of Cinematic Arts)

Game Demo & Interactive Presentation “The Cat and the Coup”

Kurosh ValaNejad was born in Tehran, Iran in 1966 to a Persian father and an American mother. During the last 20 years, he has applied his 3D computer graphics skills to a variety of disciplines, including architecture, fine-art, animation, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and now, video games, as the art director of the Game Innovation Lab at USC's School of Cinematic Arts.


Ms. Dorinda Vassigh (Omid Advocates for Human Rights/Google, Inc.)

Workshop Supporting the Rights of Iranian Refugees

As a first generation Iranian-American and world traveller, Dorinda Zibah Vassigh has witnessed shocking inequities based on gender, race, religion and poverty. Because she appreciates her inalienable rights of freedom and democracy, she has a desire to help others in their struggles for human and civil rights. Dorinda attended UC Berkeley where she double majored in literature and environmental science and went on to law school at UC Hastings where she received her JD. Inspired by the struggle of the Iranian Green movement, she began volunteering at Omid Advocates in 2009. As a volunteer she successfully appealed the UNHCR denials of political prisoners, Green movement activists, and religious minorities.

In 2012, Dorinda joined the Board of Representatives. She currently works as a contract attorney at Google where she takes tango and Zumba lessons during her lunch break.


Dr. Shirin Vossoughi (Stanford University)

Panel Education in Diaspora: Pedagogical Questions and Possibilities

Dr. Shirin Vossoughi received her BA in History and International Development from UCLA in 2002, with an emphasis on political economy and revolutionary movements in the Middle East and Latin America. These interests led her to study for one semester at the University of Havana, Cuba. Upon graduation, Shirin became a teacher and educational advocate in Los Angeles and New York City. She also interned with children's and women's rights organizations in Tehran, Iran. Shirin then returned to UCLA and completed her MA (2006) and PhD (2011) in Education, studying the creative development of humanizing educational contexts for migrant and immigrant students. This included working as teacher-researcher in an academic and artistic summer program for high school age migrant students. In 2010-2011, she became a lecturer at UCLA, teaching courses in the Education Studies Minor and the Teacher Education Program. Shirin is currently a post- doctoral fellow at the San Francisco Exploratorium and Stanford University. She became involved with Camp Ayandeh in 2010, helping facilitate counselor training and develop the theater component of camp. She served as the Camp Director in 2011 and the Education and Curriculum Advisor for Camp Ayandeh and Camp Javan in 2012.


Ms. Sholeh Wolpe

Roundtable Of Home, Exile, and Other Fictions: Iranian Diaspora Writers’ Roundtable

Sholeh Wolpé is an award-winning poet, literary translator and writer.Born in Iran, she has lived in England, Trinidad and the UnitedStates. Her publications include Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths(University of Arkansas Press, 2013), Breaking the Jaws of Silence-Sixty American Poets Speak to the World (University of Arkansas Press,2013), The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its exiles (MSU, 2012),Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press, 2008), The Scar Saloon (Red HenPress, 2004), and Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (Universityof Arkansas Press, 2007)— for which she was awarded the Lois RothTranslation Prize in 2010. She is a regional editor of Tablet & Pen:Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East edited by Reza Aslan(W.W. Norton, 2010), a contributing editor of Los Angeles Review ofBooks, and the poetry editor of the Levantine Review. Her 2010 Iranissue of the Atlanta Review became the journal's bestselling edition.Sholeh's poems, translations, essays and reviews have appeared inscores of literary journals, periodicals and anthologies, and beentranslated into several languages. She holds Masters degrees inRadio-TV-Film (Northwestern University) and Public Health (JohnsHopkins University).


Dr. Mehdi Yahyanejad

Panel The Production of Diasporic Media: News & Journalism

Dr. Mehdi Yahyanejad is the founder of the website Balatarin.com, the most popular social news website in Persian. The Balatarin community of users and readers have played a crucial role in the pro-democracy movement in Iran. He has been pursuing and researching social media and web 2.0 development for the past five years. He is currently a researcher at University of Southern California. Dr. Yahyanejad received his PhD in Physics from MIT with expertise in data mining and statistical methods and won the bronze medal in the 1993 International Physics Olympiad.


Ms. Sima Sahar Zerehi (Shahrvand Newspaper)

Panel The Production of Diasporic Media: News & Journalism

Sima Sahar Zerehi is an Iranian-Canadian journalist and editor with Shahrvand Publications. In addition to her journalistic work, Zerehi has over ten years of experience in media and communications, acting as a spokesperson and media strategists for various labour, political and community campaigns and organizations.

She is a regular guest and commentator on various mainstream television and radio programs including, CBC Radio's Metro Morning and CTV's Express, speaking on various issues related to Iran, the Middle East, ethnic communities and immigration. Currently, Zerehi is a professor and program coordinator at Humber College's School of Social and Community Work.