Cooperative Activities

its inception, the Foundation has strived to perform its mission in
cooperation with other institutions with similar interests and goals.
Over the years, it developed special collaborative relations with
several institutions, chief among them the Middle East Studies
Association (MESA), the International Society for Iranian Studies
(ISIS), the George Washington University, Johns Hopkins Schools of
Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and, in the world of culture and
the arts, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution
and the American Film Institute at the Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts among others.

Academic Activities
MESA, in addition to participating in regular panels, FIS sponsors
special plenary sessions in Persian featuring guest speakers and
panelists from Iran and across the world. "Tales of Evasion: Images of
Women in contemporary Iranian Culture,” with Professor Azar Nafisi at
the 1997 MESA annual meeting, is one example. "Millennial Passages:
Recent Losses and the Future of Persian Literature," a panel chaired by
Professor Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak November 2000 in Orlando, Florida, is
another. One of the most moving programs in this line was the one in
1996 entitled “Aspects of Women’s Lives in Iran Today,” where Mehrangiz
Kar, Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, gave a vivid lecture on
women and the law in contemporary Iran. "Iran's Literature in Exile" a
panel with Goli Taraghi and Ardavan Davaran, and Majid roshangar was
presnted at MESA in 2001. On November 23, 2002 FIS organized a special
session on "Religion, Culture and Human Rights in the Islamic Republic
of Iran" in which Abdolkharim Lahiji, president of League for the
Defense of Human Rights in Iran, Mehrangiz kar, Iranian lawyer and
human rights activists, and Iran Nameh editor, Hormoz Hekmat,

collaborates with the International Society for Iranian Studies by
organizing panels, cultural events, and special plenary sessions at the
biennial conferences. At the Second SIS Biennial Conference held in
Bethesda, MD in May 1998, for example, the Foundation provided for the
participation of several Iranian academics and human rights activists
and sponsored a panel titled "Spaces and Boundaries: Women in
Contemporary Iranian Society" chaired by Mahnaz Afkhami. Iran Nameh
editor Hormoz Hekmat co-chaired the plenary closing session at which
two speakers--Professor Javad Tabatabai of CNRS and lawyer and human
rights activist Mehrangiz Kar were invited by FIS to discuss aspects of
intellectual discourse in Iran. At the SIS Third Biennial Conference in
May of 2000, FIS presented several panels, including a special panel on
the condition of women in Iran and a final plenary session featuring
writer Goli Taraghi, and Iran Nameh editor, Shahrokh Meskoob. A special
session titled "Insider/Outsider: Iranian Women's Lives Seen Through
Art and Literature in Iran and Abroad was presented at the 4th biennial
conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies. The
session featured Karim Emami, independent scholar from Iran, Fereshteh
Daftari associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York,
Shirin Neshat, Iranian video producer/director, Ghazal Radpay, producer
director from Iran, and Azar Nafisi of Johns Hopkins University and
Nasrin Rahimieh of Univeristy of Alberta. FIS presented a plenary
session "People-Centered Human Security: Global Dimenstions and Iranian
Perspectives" at the ISIS conference in May, 2004. Former US Secretary
of Health and Human Services gave the keynote address followed by
commentaries by Mahnaz Afkhami, Farhad Kazemi, and Farrokh Najmabadi.

academic collaboration with the George Washington University goes back
to the early years of its establishment in Washington, DC. A symposium
on women in post-revolutionary Iran organized by The Women’s Center of
the Foundation for Iranian Studies and the Middle East Center of the
University of Pennsylvania at the George Washington University led to
the publication in 1994 by Syracuse University Press of In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-revolutionary Iran,
edited by Mahnaz Afkhami and Erika friedl. The Noruz Lecture Series has
been an ongoing join project of the GWU and FIS, continuously supported
by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Unsiversity Professor at the University and
member of the editorial board of the Foundation Journal, Iran Nameh.

Encouraging the Arts
important function of FIS is to bring the best in Iranian culture to
Americans and Iranians in America. Past cultural activities have
included exhibitions, film festivals, concerts, and poetry readings.
FIS performs this function often in collaboration with other
institutions interested in culture such as the Smithsonian
Institution’s Freer and Sackler Galleries, the American Film Institute
at the Kennedy Center for the Performing arts, and the Library of
Congress in the Washington metropolitan area and similar institutions
across the U.S. Performances and exhibitions are usually accompanied by
participatory panels that offer the audience a chance to talk with the
artists about their work.The Foundation organized “Divine Symmetry: A
Journey Through Ancient Persian Art and Culture,” a series of eight
lectures at The Smithsonian Campus on the Mall, where the romance and
spirituality of ancient culture was brought to life through
presentations by experts and scholars on subjects ranging from the arts
and music to philosophy, literature and cuisine.

major purpose of these activities is to present to the public new
developments in the Iranian arts world. An example is a special series
of events entitled “Celebration of Persian Art and Culture,”
cosponsored with the Sackler Gallery, focusing on the cultural context
for the art of the book, a film series about the art in
Shâhnâmeh and
Iranian art in America, calligraphy, and storytelling. In 1991 FIS
sponsored a concert of computerized classical Persian music by Dariush
Dowlatshahi at the MESA annual meeting at the University of Texas,
Austin. Dowlatshahi, an Iranian composer and musician specializing in
uses of modern techniques in classical and modern music, presented the
idea in a more developed form in a 1993 FIS concert in Washington,
entitled “Innovation and Tradition: The Role of Computers in New
Interpretations of Eastern and Western Music.”

Iranian and non-Iranian performing arts, particularly music, together
in concert has helped the Foundation toward its mission of showing the
general US public the fundamental empathy that marks our seemingly
divergent art forms. In a lecture series in 1989, Shusha Assar, an
Iranian writer and folk singer now living in England as a writer and
editor, sang Iranian, French and English folk songs, and read from her
moving memoir
The Blindfold Horse.
In 1997, the Foundation invited Lily Afshar, a young Iranian artist
teaching music at the University of Memphis, to present a concert of
Iranian folk music and Spanish classical guitar to a mixed audience of
Iranians and Americans at the Women’s Club of Chevy Chase, MD. In the
same year, poetry of Hafiz of Shiraz selected from
The Green Sea of Heaven, a translation of Hafiz’s divan
by Elizabeth Gray, was presented by the Foundation at the Smithsonian’s
Freer Gallery. The presentation, combined selected lyrics in the
original and English translation rendered in declamation, song, and

An evening of Persian
music with Shahin and Sepehr, two young Iranian musicians of increasing
renown in North America, represents an example of the Foundation’s
interest in modern popular Persian music. The concert, performed on the
steps of the Sackler on May 26, 2000 on the occasion of the Society for
Iranian Studies' Third Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies, was
cosponsored by the Foundation for Iranian Studies and the Freer and
Sackler Galleries.

In the
same pioneering vein, on February 19, 1995 FIS was host to one of the
most important cultural events to date involving Iranian art in the
United States. A conference on cinema and cinematography in Iran
featured Iranian directors Bahram Beyzai and Abbas Kiarostami and
cinema critics Fereydun Hoveyda, Farrokh Ghaffari, Shahrokh Golestan,
and Jamshid Akrami. Since then Kiarostami has been the Foundation’s
guest on several occasions. “
a documentary by Bahman Kiarostami, Abbas Kiarostami's son, was
premiered at Kenney Auditorium at the Johns Hopkins University’s School
of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) on April 20, 2001; father and
son participated in the ensuing discussion with the audience. A
close-up of his work by Mahmoud Behraznia depicted the problems
encountered by contemporary Iranian filmmakers. The event was jointly
sponsored by FIS and SAIS and was chaired by Azar Nafisi of SAIS. On
September 27, 2005 the Foundation presented a book launch featuring
Shusha Assar's book "The Secret of Laughter: Magical Tales from
Classical Persia" in which board member Azar Nafisi and FIS executive
director Mahnaz Afkhami participated.

Promoting Iranian Films
Taste of Cherry," a film by Abbas Kiarostami, winner of 1997 Golden
Palm award of the Cannes Film Festival, was shown on Friday May 22,
1998 at the Dorothy Betts Theatre of the George Washington University.
A retrospective of Kiarostami's work was presented by film critic
Jamshid Akrami.

A Dariush
Mehrjui retrospective was presented on November 24, 1998 at the
American Film Institute at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in
Washington, DC. The retrospective included a full-length presentation
of Mehrjui's most recent film, "The Pear Tree," followed by the
director's comments and explications.

Iranian Style," a film by Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Kim Longinotto about
three Iranian women seeking divorce before an Iranian court, was
presented at Kenney Auditorium, Johns Hopkins University on February 3,
1999. The film, sponsored jointly with the Johns Hopkins University's
School of Advanced International Studies, was followed by a panel
discussion with Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Mahrangiz Kar, and Azar Nafisi.

Time for Drunken Horses" and "Marooned in Iraq," award winning films by
Bahman Ghobadi were presented by the Foundation at preview screenings
in which the director participated and responded to the audience's
questions. The screenings at the Motion Picture Association of America
took place on October 17, 2002, and April 4, 2003 respectively.

Recreated" an award winning documentary by Farzin Rezaeian was shown at
the Ward Auditorium of American University in Washington, DC on October
30, 2004.

"Turtles Can Fly" by Bahman Ghobadi was previewed on February 9, 2005 at the Motion Picture Association of America.

FIS puts on exhibitions of works by contemporary Iranian artists. Among
these was an exhibition of Maryam Zandi’s portraits of Iranian writers
and artists at the MESA conference in 1991 in Washington DC as well as
at the George washington University. Another was “Voices and Visions,”
a multi-media presentation featuring paintings by Maryam Javaheri,
Farideh Lashai, and Rafat Mosaddeqi; readings by Goli Taraghi and Nahid
Rachlin; ceramics by Malekeh Nayini, and screening of director Rakhshan
Bani-Etemad’s film
A more recent event, "Evolving Perceptions 2000: Art for Peace," the
4th Annual Exhibition of Iranian American Artists, held September 9-23,
2000, cosponsored with the Iranian American Cultural Association, was
juried by Mahin Ghanbari, Hengameh Fouladvand, executive director of
Center for Iranian Modern Arts (CIMA), New York, and Sussan Babai, a
historian of Islamic art and architecture and a specialist on the arts
of Iran. Thirteen artists participated in the competition. In winter
2003 FIS co-sponsored an exhibition of paintings by 24 Iranian artists
titled "Emotional Sensibilities," in Washington, DC. "Dialogue Through
Art" was another exhibition of Iranian and American painters
cosponsored by the Foundation and curated by Sarah Barzmehri on March
7, 2004.