May  2019 Newsletter Issue I
 
Save the Date - June 2, 2019



Iranian American Women Foundation is hosting its 18th Iranian American Women's Leadership Conference. The conference will take place at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront on June 2, 2019. It will feature speakers from various industries sharing their empowering stories. This event will be a great opportunity to connect with members of the IAWF community.  You can register and purchase your tickets here .              
 
April 27th: Celebration of Iranian American Women Day in Los Angeles 


We would like to congratulate all Iranian American women every where for having been recognized by the City of Los Angeles as a formidable group of immigrants who have impacted one of the greatest cities in America. Los Angeles is the third largest economy in the US, and benefits greatly from the contributions of Iranian-American women across the city. We are proud to have been recognized by LA City Council, and Mayor Garcetti, with a day to call our own: April 27th.  As of 2018, April 27th is officially recognized as "Iranian American Women's Day" in Los Angeles!  IAW Foundation is honored to be the force behind this accomplishment for our community in Los Angeles, and we thank Maryam Zar for spearheading the effort and helping write the Resolution that passed in City Council.
It is our hope that by spreading the word about this amazing recognition, we can inspire other cities to follow the example of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti to recognize and celebrate April 27th as "Iranian American Women's Day".
 
Recipient of 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor: Dr. Nina Ansary

We would like to congratulate IAWF's Trustee, Dr. Nina Ansary, as the recipient of the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is annually granted to a "select group of individuals whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are cause for celebration". Nina Ansary is the author of "Jewels of Allah", an award-winning writer, human rights advocate and UN Women Champion for Innovation. Nina Ansary has won International Book Award in Women Issues, Eric Hoffer Award for "Best Culture Book", Best Book Award for "Women Issues" She is   the recipient of the 2019 Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF) "Women of Influence" Award, and the 2018 Trailblazer Award from Barnard College, Columbia University. She has also been recognized as one of "14 Privileged Women to Change the World" by Marie Claire, been featured in Angeleno Magazine's ''Living Legacies of 2016'' and selected as one of "Five Iranian Visionaries You Need to Know" and "6 Women Who Build Bridges Not Walls" by The New York Times. Nina Ansary is one of the greatest supporters of the IAWF and its mission. We are forever grateful for her generosity and ongoing inspirational presence. You can read more about Dr. Nina Ansary  here.
 
Monir Farmanfarmaian, renowned Iranian artist dies at 97

(Photo courtesy Guggenheim Museum website)

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, contemporary Iranian artist passed away on April 20, 2019 at the age of 97 in her Tehran home. Monir Farmanfarmaian was known for transforming Persian pictorial language into Modernist forms. Through her mirror mosaic sculptures and glass paintings, Monir Farmanfarmaian called her geometric work "signs of light and life". She was an internationally-renowned artist and collector of traditional art. She was symbolized as the best example of Iran's modern and traditional art of her homeland. Monir studied fine arts and moved to the United States on 1945; she later pursued arts and fashion studies in Parsons School for Fashion Design in New York, Cornell University, and the Art Students League. Monir Farmanfarmaian was known as a talented artist who combines traditional Iranian techniques with Western geometric abstraction in order to create one of a kind and diverse objects and paintings. Ms. Farmanfarmaian 's art works are held among the collections of important institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. On 1958, she won a gold medal for the Iranian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. You can read more about her adventurous life and artistic aspirations here.
 
Azareen Van der Vliet Ollomi wins 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award 
(Photo Courtesy of Kayla Holdread)
Azareen Van der Vliet Ollomi, 35 year old author of "Call Me Zebra" wins the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Azareen was born in Iran and fled the country with her father during Iran-Iraq war. Her novel, "Call Me Zebra", is filled with authors, names, places and theorists. The main character of the book is an orphaned refugee from Iran and is obsessed with books. The judges wrote in a statement "o nce in a while a singular, adventurous and intellectually humorous voice appears that takes us on an inescapable journey. Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi's Call Me Zebra is a library within a library, a Borges-esque labyrinth of references from all cultures and all walks of life. In today's visual Netflix world, Ms. Van der Vliet Oloomi's novel performs at the highest of levels in accomplishing only what the written novel can show us." Ms.  Oloomi will be awarded the $15,000 prize during the PEN/Faulkner Awards ceremony. Fra Keeler, Oloomi's debut novel was  the w inner of a Whiting Writers Award National Book Foundation. You can read more here.       
 
Maryam Mirzakhani's Birthday recognized as the "Women in Mathematics Day"
(Photo Courtesy of York St. John University)
In honor of Maryam Mirzakhani, winner of Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in Mathematics, her birthday is recognized as the " Women in Mathematics Day" At the 2018 World Meeting for Women in Mathematics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Women's Committee of the Iranian Mathematical Society proposed designating Maryam Mirzakhani's birthday (May 12) as a day for celebrating women in mathematics, the proposal was approved Maryam Mirzakhani was the only woman to win a Fields Medal, she was both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the award.  Ms. Mirzakhani received this honor  for her work in the dynamics and geometry of the Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces. Maryam Mirzakhani was a professor at Stanford University and according to American Mathematical Society (AMS), she was a highly original mathematician who "made a host of striking contributions to geometry and dynamical systems".  She also received the AMS Blumenthal award in 2009, the AMS Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics in 2010, and the Clay Research Award in 2014. She was elected as a foreign associate to the French Academy of Sciences in 2015, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.  Maryam Mirzakhani died on 14 July 2017 at the Stanford hospital, at the age of 40 after a 4-year  battle with cancer.  In a tribute to her on the AMS website, Kenneth A Ribet, President of the AMS writes: "When I woke up on July 15 and learned that Maryam Mirzakhani had died, I felt as though I had been punched in the gut. Maryam was an extraordinarily talented and accomplished young mathematician who was thrust into the limelight when she received the Fields Medal in 2014. After breaking the glass ceiling as the first female Medalist, she accepted with grace her role as a symbol for women's achievement. An Iranian-American, she served also as a reminder of the international character of the mathematical enterprise. Maryam Mirzakhani left us in the prime of her professional life. Her passing is a great loss to the mathematical community".  
 
      Tamilla Ghodsi
      New York

Tamilla Ghodsi is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York where she has worked for over 20 years and co-Heads the Americas Conflicts Resolution Group. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Tamilla practiced tax law at White & Case in New York. She earned a BA, with honors, in Economics and International Studies from Northwestern University. She received her JD, cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School, and an LL.M. in Taxation from the New York University School of Law. 
You can read more  here .
           Soheila Adelipour
    Southern California
Soheila Adelipour is the author of the upcoming book 'Wrestling With God' to ('Resting With God'). She received her bachelor's degree in Business and her master's degree in Art Gallery Management while her first two kids were in diapers! She was involved with the World of Arts and Antiques in New York City, followed by running high-end gift stores. Life was normal with her 4 kids and everyday problems until the series of unfortunate events started. 
You can read more  here .
    
 Susan Akbarpour
 Northern California
Susan Akbarpour is a co-founder and CEO of the first ever consumer-centric e-commerce Company, Mavatar Technologies Inc. Despite, arriving in the US with only $2000 in her pocket, Susan proved that having a strong determination could get you far. Susan is a visionary entrepreneur with over 25 years of hands-on experience in building successful and innovative businesses in technology, media, management consulting, and investment. She founded Mavatar soon after receiving her MS in Management from Stanford University. Throughout her journey as an entrepreneur, journalist, editor, publisher, investor & political fundraiser, Susan has received multiple media, community and business awards. You can read more  
here .

 
Circle of 1000s Featured Member
Azita Raji is an American diplomat, banker, investor, and philanthropist. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2014 to serve as the first female United States ambassador to Sweden, and the first Iranian-born American to serve as a U.S. ambassador. In 2016, Ambassador Raji was nominated for State Department's highest award for a non-career ambassador, the Sue M. Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service. Raji speaks and writes on diplomacy, national security, and foreign policy. Her articles and podcasts have appeared in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, War on the Rocks, Foreign Policy, and Center for New American Security. Raji is Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies, as well as Guest Lecturer, at the University of California at Berkeley. She serves on the advisory board of Foreign Policy for America, a nonpartisan advocacy organization in Washington D.C. "committed to defending diplomacy and standing up for principled American engagement in the world". You can read more  here .
 
Circle of Men
Mehraban Khajehnouri is founder and owner of BN Dealerships Management, Inc. on the west coast of the United States. As current president of the South Central Regional Council for Hyundai Dealers, Board Director at the Petroleum Club of Oklahoma City, primary sponsor of the Why Not Foundation (an educational development organization for children established by NBA superstar Russell Westbrook) and one of the longest serving board members of the Hyundai National Dealer Council, Mr. Khajehnouri has a passion for not only leadership but also service to the community at large.

 
Book of the Month
(Photo courtesy of Mariner Books)
What We Owe
Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde

"What We Owe" is a an extraordinary story of exile,  and the emotional upheavals between mothers and daughters that are manifested  in love, guilt and dreams of building a new life in a foreign county. The novel is story of 50-year old Nahid who is ill and has only six months to live. Nahid looks back at her past life in Iran and her new life as a refugee in Sweden, she is overwhelmed by  a new life that her young daughter is carrying in her womb and the anger and wonder of the ways she is going to encounter with the culture, identity and different faces of life in exile. In her comments about the novel, Azareen Van Der Vliet Ollomi, winner of the 2019 Pen/Faulkner for Fiction writes "The voice is fierce and direct and unapologetic. The story is about life and death: the loss of a mother to cancer and the subsequent birth of a daughter; the loss of one's motherland and the replanting of roots on another continent. It's one of the best books I've read about the psychological horror of being from post-revolutionary Iran. In her March 29, 2019 interview with Ms. Ollomi, Hashemzadeh Bonde says "our parents' generation will soon be gone, and with them the many stories that have formed our lives and consequently the societies we live in. My urge to explore, document, and understand the implications of these stories is stronger than ever. I think of my children. They are half-Iranian, half-Swedish. They have no elders from the Iranian side to feed them that part of their past. It's a blind spot really, but I'm certain that this past will still be a significant part of their identities. Traumas stick in our bodies, and they affect future generations. As a mother, I need to be equipped to make this heritage a source of strength and resilience for them. Writing is what can make this possible."  Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde was born in Iran in 1983 and fled with her parents to Sweden as a young child. She graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics and was named one of 50 Goldman Sachs Global Leaders. She is the founder and director of Inkludera Invest, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting marginalization in society by backing social entrepreneurs who have developed pragmatic solutions to social challenges. 
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