Force for Good: Norooz now recognized by UN

The Persian Cultural Center of San Diego is happy to announce that the petition campaign it initiated to include Norouz/Norooz/Nowruz on the United Nations' official calendar has succeeded. Over 300,000 signatures were collected in support of the request to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and as a result, with participation of seven nations, Norouz/Norooz/Nowruz will be officially recognized. Nearly 300 million people around the world celebrate the first day of spring, Norouz/Norooz/Nowruz (New Day) as their new year, and nearly all of these celebrants live in UN member nations. PARSA CF congratulates Mrs. Shahri Estakhry, co-founder of the Persian Cultural Center, for spearheading this petition and to those who signed on to the request; proving that ordinary people, working together, can make a difference! For more information, please visit

Force for Good: Iranian American Organizations Unite to Form Iranian American 2010 Census Project Coalition

Iranian American Organizations Unite to Form Iranian American 2010 Census Project Coalition

Mindful of events in Iran following the June 12th presidential election, your voice as an Iranian American will matter even more. Decision makers and Americans nationwide are looking to our community for advice and direction. We the undersigned organizations have joined forces in a show of unity to promote the importance of civic participation among Iranian Americans so that our voices are heard. A critical component of empowering the Iranian American community is securing an accurate count of the total number of Iranian Americans residing in the United States. The upcoming 2010 Census will provide a significant opportunity for Iranian Americans to stand up and be counted.

Stand Up and Be Counted
The census is a count of everyone living in the United States. This includes people of all ages, races, and ethnic groups, as well as both citizens and non-citizens. The census occurs every ten years and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the next one being undertaken in 2010.

Like many ethnic groups, Iranian Americans have traditionally been undercounted, leading to a diminished sense of representation within American society. According to the 2000 Census, there were only 338,000 Iranian Americans at the time, while the actual number is believed to be at least two or three times larger. By taking a proactive role in the 2010 Census, our community can strive to have the statistics represent reality.

With an accurate reflection of our population, Iranian Americans would stand to benefit from a variety of public, civic, and private sector services that rely on census data for economic and social assessments. For example, many local and state agencies, health organizations and social service organizations rely on racial and ancestry information to identify and meet the needs of their constituencies. Researchers in many fields, from journalism to social science, rely on census statistics to study trends concerning educational and economic mobility and cultural assimilation.

The Iranian American 2010 Census Coalition includes a number of national and regional organizations: Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association (Baivoter), Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County (NIPOC), PARSA Community Foundation, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Shabeh Jomeh, and the U.S. Census Bureau. The specific goals of this project are to reach every Iranian American household in the country to educate them about the importance of participating in the 2010 Census, to assure them that the information provided to the Census Bureau will by law be confidential, and to urge them to respond to questions relating to race, ethnicity, and national origin in a consistent manner.

The Iranian American 2010 Census Project cannot truly achieve its goals without coordinated action by a broad based coalition of Iranian American communities and organizations, be they national or local. To that end, initial coalition members are reaching out to and welcome the participation of other Iranian American organizations.

Numbers count! Showing the growth of the Iranian American community will translate into increased influence and recognition within American society. By uniting Iranian Americans behind this worthy goal, our community will be well on its way to gaining greater prominence, while at the same time gaining a better understanding of our own unique needs.

For more information or to join the Iranian American 2010 Census Project please contact any of the coalition partners.

Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association

Iranian American Bar Association

National Iranian American Council

Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County

PARSA Community Foundation

Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans

Shabeh Jomeh

Force for Good: Iranian Alliances Across Borders' Camp Ayandeh 2009

Contributed by Leyla Serway, IAAB Staff Member

The fourth installment of Camp Ayandeh, Iranian Alliances Across Borders’ annual summer leadership camp for high school students, was held June 28- July 5, 2009 in Hinsdale, Massachusetts at Duquette Sports Academy. In alignment with the mission of Camp Ayandeh, students spent the week engaged in a number of different activities that encouraged them to explore their Iranian-American culture and identity, as they discovered the importance of the Iranian-American youth as our community’s future leaders- all while having fun along the way. Activities for each day of the week were structured around five main themes, including Building Trust, Understanding Self, Understanding Others, Teambuilding, and Aspects of a Leader.

The energy was high from day one when campers arrived at Duquette Academy, over half of which were new to Camp Ayandeh this summer. Campers, new and old alike, happily greeted one another and participated in various “ice breakers” and games of the “Human Knot”. As the week began, fun team names were eagerly created among counselor groups and each team crafted their own team chant, which were performed at any given opportunity and often brought all the groups together in unison! With high morale and an excited group of campers, counselors, and staff, the week was off to a great start.

The week progressed with a number of diverse activities. Throughout the week, three Iranian holidays were celebrated including Shabe Yalda, Chahar-shanbe Soori and Norouz. During the day, campers participated in a various cultural booths, including Iranian cinema, literature, games, music, life in Iran and public speaking; college workshops focusing on high school academics, SATs, the college application process, and college life and majors; and daily culture discussions among counselor groups. The annual Ta’arof Tournament was an exciting even for all, as well as the much- anticipated Talent Show on the last evening. Once again, a memorable Camp Ayandeh proved to be the “highlight of the summer” for everyone.

For more detailed footage from throughout the week at Camp Ayandeh, including daily blogs, podcasts, video and pictures, please visit their interactive camp website at

Force for Good: Relief International

The PARSA CF Service Fellows internship, a program funded by PARSA Community Foundation at Relief International (RI), comprises of training for three Iranian-American students attending college in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. areas. The program was created by RI with the following objectives:

- To provide Iranian-American students with an opportunity to gain work experience with RI, a humanitarian nonprofit that provides emergency relief, rehabilitation, development assistance, and program services to communities worldwide
- To allow students to gain new skill sets and field experience in an international relief and development setting, while introducing them to global issues
- To foster research, project management and leadership skills to Iranian-American students and the opportunity to enter an exciting and rewarding career in international public policy and development

RI is proud to introduce the selected 2009 PARSA CF Service Fellow interns to work in RI offices in Los Angeles, D.C. and abroad:

- Alexander Reza Shams, a third-year International Relations and International Urban Development student at the University of Southern California
- Melody Tehrani, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, pursuing International Relations
- Adam Pourahmadi, a sophomore at American University majoring in International Studies with a special interest in Iranian economic development

Congratulations to the 2009 PARSA CF Service Fellow interns! To learn more about Relief International's programs, please visit

Force for Good: Borani Global Education

In today’s world, there remain places in which some youth remain deprived of pursuing higher education and are barred from this right due to some form of discrimination, such as their financial status, political views, religious affiliation or social standing.

The mission of Borani Global Education, a nonprofit association based in Toronto, Canada, is to open new portals to educational attainment by bringing accredited on-line solutions to every deserving youth who is unable to pursue university education as a result of human rights violations.

Borani Global Education arranges for their supporters to become "Educational Guardians," each adopting one or more deserving youth to foster through higher education. There are many in need, and their intention is to help as many youth as possible worldwide. For more information, please visit

Force for Good: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is unique among American art museums in that it collects and regularly exhibits Iranian art from the 5th millennium BC up to the present day. This collection is housed in the Art of the Middle East Department, under the direction of department head Dr. Linda Komaroff. The collection is divided between the department’s two collecting areas: ancient art (up to the 7th century AD) and art of the Islamic era (7th century AD onward). In 2008, PARSA CF awarded LACMA a $12,000 grant to support assistant curator Dr. Ali Mousavi, who is responsible for the ancient component of the collection and Komaroff for the art of the Islamic era. In each instance these are the only such significant collections on the West coast.

Highlights in the collection from ancient Iran include Iron Age pottery from Tepe Sialk, carved stone relief fragments from Persepolis and gilt silver vessels from the Parthian and Sasanian dynasties. The collection pertaining to the Islamic era presents a far more comprehensive picture of Iranian art spanning all media. Among the most notable works of art are glazed ceramic pottery and tiles, miniature paintings, and two rare 16th-century Persian carpets.

During the 2008-09 academic year, the Ancient Near Eastern galleries were visited by nearly 10,000 students. Dr. Mousavi also held lectures about Pasargadae and the American contribution to the archaeology of Iran, in addition to publications highlighting the archaeology of Iranian artifacts. Given the significance of LACMA’s collection and in light of the large Iranian Diaspora community of Southern California, the Ancient Near Eastern galleries and the exhibitions and programs they provide are of enormous benefit not only to the Iranian-American community but to all the communities LACMA serves.

Force for Good: Afsariyeh

Afsariyeh is an Iranian non-governmental organization home to 22 boys aged between 13 and 18. The center is located in southern Tehran, home to many impoverished families who rely on Afsariyeh for aid. The center's funds are very limited and they cannot afford many of their major repair projects.

For the past several years Afsariyeh's heating system has not been working properly and last winter these young boys had to survive the harsh weather without heat. In addition, the center's plumbing system has been deteriorating to the point of total disrepair. To ensure that these young boys and the staff would not have to endure another winter without heat or hot water, Afsariyeh began renovation work.

The cost of the projects was $18,000 and the renovation began in February 2009. With the support of generous donors, they were able to raise $11,000 and completed the first two phases of these projects. The third and final phase has now begun, but there are insufficient funds remaining to cover the cost of this last phase. The center needs to raise $7,000 to complete the work.

These projects could not have been undertaken without the continued support and generosity of donors, and as they enter this final stage of their renovation project, Afsariyeh asks that you spread the word among friends and family and ask for their support. Every dollar counts toward improving the living condition of these young boys who call Afsariyeh home. For more information about Afsariyeh, please contact Delfarib at or call (650) 271-7178.