May  2019 Newsletter Issue II
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 .
Six Iranian Americans Receive Ellis Island Medals of Honor

(Photo courtesy

Six Iranian Americans have received 2019  Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Dr. Nina Ansary, Mehran Kardar, Nader Engheta, Dr. Roxana Mehran, Yahya Rahmat-Samii and Jason Rezaian are the Iranian born Americans who were awarded. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was founded in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) and is ranked among the United States' most prestigious awards. Every year, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor pays tribute to the groups of diverse origins that comprise America's unique cultural mosaic and have outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation, and the world.  IAWF congratulates the honorees and would wish them the best in their future endeavors. You can read more about the activities and achievements of the honorees here .    
Venice to Host Major Exhibition of Iranian Art Curated by Ziba Ardalan

(Photo courtesy Sahand-Hesamiyan - Forough)

Nine Iranian Artists will display their contemporary artwork in the 2019 Venice Art Biennale. The exhibition, titled "The Spark is You" will showcase works of the Iranian artists such as Morteza Ahmadvand, Nazgol Ansarinia, Mitra Farahani, Sahand Hesamiyan, Farideh Lashai, Koushna Navabi, and Navid Nuur, Y.Z. Kami and Siah Armanjani. Ziba Ardalan, founder of the Parasol Unit Foundation has curated the art works for this internationally recognized exhibition. Ms. Ardalan has handpicked 9 names from a collection of 100 artists. Dr. Ardalan, curator of the exhibition has told London-based Keyhan Life "t heir work is timeless, it could have been done now, before, or in the future. It's the whole artistic endeavor that's important to me ". Dr. Ardalan has stressed "a series of recent events revived her bond with the homeland". One (event) was her opening address at the Iranian-American Women's Conference in London last year. They inspired her to become more involved with her native country and set her on the path to organizing the two-part exhibition in Venice and London. "It seems that I have returned home, I have reconnected with my country," she said. In the Venice exhibition, the work of each artist will be showcased by itself, in a room or outdoor courtyard, to allow ample mental space for viewers to reflect on it and create their own dialogue with it.  The 58th International Art Exhibition, titled  May You Live In Interesting Times , will take place from May 11 to November 24, 2019. The Venice Art Biennale is the world's largest and most important exhibition. You can read more  here :

Anousheh Ansari, XPrize CEO: Education is a Fundamental Human Right
(Photo Courtesy of Andreas Rentz - Getty Images)
Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPrize has announced the two winners of the $15M Global Learning XPrize. Nearly 200 teams from 40 countries across the globe had participated in this contest to win the prize. Investors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists have funded this prize in order to make the world a better place through technology. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX donated $10M for the prize. Two teams are sharing a $10m prize for advancing education among some of the world's poorest children., based in the UK and Kenya, and KitKit School, from South Korea and the US, developed software to aid learning in Tanzania.  The software has taken 15 months to be designed and built and children in 141 remote villages in Tanzania have tested it. The XPrize for Global Learning was set up to empower children to take control of their learning. Ms. Ansari, CEO of XPrize has said: "Education is a fundamental human right and we are so proud of all the teams and their dedication and hard work to ensure every single child has the opportunity to take learning into their own hands... learning how to read, write and demonstrate basic maths are essential building blocks for those who want to live free from poverty and its limitations and we believe that this competition clearly demonstrated the accelerated learning made possible through the educational applications developed by our teams and ultimately hope that this movement spurs a revolution in education worldwide." You can learn more about the project and XPrize here .    
Jeyran Gharajedaghi
New York
Jeyran Ghara is a financial advisor with UBS Financial Services advising high-net-worth individuals, families, foundations and endowments as well as small to mid-size businesses regarding their investment strategies. She works very closely with her clients and their professional advisors to help define, plan for and implement a strategy that is designed to meet their financial goals. Jeyran came to UBS in March 2018 from Bernstein Global Wealth Management where she spent 8 years as an advisor after having completed the firm's renowned training program and further leveraging its intellectual capital to build her expertise as an advisor.  You can read more  here .
           Fariba Ameri
  Southern California
Fariba Ameri is a visual artist and philanthropist, and sits on the Board Member of Trustees at the Iranian American Women Foundation. She has been a patron and contributing member of the Farhang Foundation Art Council and the Middle East Art Council at LACMA. Ameri's worldview is shaped by the dichotomies between Eastern and Western cultures. Her artistic style is impacted by Middle Eastern history and mythological themes. Ameri moved to the United States in 1977, and received her Bachelor's degree in economics from USC before proceeding to become a CPA. Ameri works from her studio in Los Angeles. Her artwork is known for its personal thematic content involving women's emotional complexity.  You can read more  here .

 Violet Parvarandeh
 Northern California
Violet Parvarandeh was born and raised in Iran. She immigrated to the US in 1984. In later years, Violet became a US citizen. She attended DeAnza College from 1984 to 1987, after which she transferred to SJSU majoring in Computer Science. She started working for Maxim Integrated Products in 1989. After the birth of her daughter, she changed her career from the high-tech sector to be employed full time by her daughter, and later on by her son. As a consequence, she has been involved with children in different stages and capacities. She was an active volunteer in both of her children's schools.  You can read more here.
Circle of 1000s Featured Member
Nili T. Moghaddam is Assistant General Counsel at Robinhood Markets, Inc., a late-stage Silicon Valley FinTech startup. Before joining Robinhood, Ms. Moghaddam was Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation and white collar defense. Prior to Skadden, Ms. Moghaddam served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles where she prosecuted financial, national security and violent crimes. She started her career as a law clerk in the Southern District of New York and as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York. Ms. Moghaddam is a 2013 recipient of the California Lawyer of the Year award and was named among the "Most Influential Minority Lawyers" by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2016, You can read  here .
Circle of Men
Shahin Hedayat  has passion for high tech startups aiming to solve complex problems through collective human ingenuity. Shahin is an angel investor at Candou Ventures which he co-founded in 2015. From 1997 through 2015 Shahin was an entrepreneur starting companies with the intention of creating positive social outcome and economic benefits for all stakeholders. As an entrepreneur, Shahin co-founded 5 companies and served various roles as President, CEO, Chairman and Board Member. Those companies are Centillium Communication (IPO), Beceem Communication (Acquired by Broadcom), Enverv (Acquired by Semtech), Apixio (in operation) and Polyup (in operation). Centillium, Beceem and Enverv exits generated over $4B of shareholder value. Apixio and Polyup are currently operating and growing. Mr. Hedayat is an active supporter of the IAWF and will serve as a judge for the upcoming "Perfecting your Pitch: Young Entrepreneurship Showcase" session at the 18th Women's Leadership Conference on June 02, 2019 in San Francisco.
Book of the Month
(Photo courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Call Me Zebra
Azareen Van der Vliet Ollomi

Call Me Zebra is a novel by award winning Azareen Van der Vliet Ollomi. It tells story of an orphaned refugee from Iran. Zebra, the m ain character is obsessed with books and takes her legacy seriously, she reads, rereads and memorizes as many books as she can, while retracing the journey she took with her father decades earlier when they fled to the U.S. during the Iran-Iraq war by way of Kurdistan and Catalonia. In her interview with Washington Post, Ms. Oloomi says " Zebra is obsessed with the matrix of literature and looking at how these books are talking to one another across time and space. It's very much a text that is about the life of the mind and about reading literature and what that can do to shift our perception of reality." Post writes the book " is an offbeat, deadpan funny account of the travels of a young Iranian woman, the last in a long line of autodidacts, anarchists and atheists, who believe they are the guardians of the archive of literature. It took Azareen Van der Vliet Ollomi 7 years to write the book, as it required comprehensive research. Call Me Zebra is the winner of 2019 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction. You can read more about the book and the author  here.
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