With the support of many generous donors, with contributions small and large, PARSA Community Foundation has been able to make grants to the following vital projects to serve our community:
Asian Art Museum: This grant will help Asian Art Museum to initiate specific programs around Persian Art, including the addition of a Persian Curriculum to the museum's Docent Training Program to increase the knowledge of the docents about the art of Iran and the importance of Persian culture in other regions of Asia. Such training will enable docents to provide better information about the art and culture of Iran to the visitors of the meseum. Another program funded through this grant is the addition of material about Persian art and culture to the museum's Bridge Program Curriculum, the well-respected teacher material for use statewide and ultimately across the US for art education.
Bidoun Projects: Bidoun Magazine is an award-winning art publication that has pioneered an ethos that is intelligent, critical, and original. Over the years, the magazine has nurtured a unique readership that spans Tehran to Toronto to Los Angeles. Bidoun's projects, supported by this grant, is dedicated to supporting artists and initiatives from the Middle East as well as supporting much-needed research and documentation as to the arts of the region-both contemporary and historical in nature. In addition, we curate artists' projects, exhibitions, and educational events.
California State University, Fresno, College of Arts and Humanities: This endowment grant will establish, in perpetuity, a visiting scholar position at CSU Fresno. This position will focus on Modern Iran, and the visiting scholar will deliver lectures and/or workshops related to contemporary and modern Iran based on their area of expertise.
Concordia University, Iranian Studies Unit: This endowment grant will fund a graduate scholarship for students who enroll into the Iranian Studies program at Concordia University. The fund will remain at the university in perpetuity.
San Jose State University - Persian and Iranian American Studies Initiative: This grant will jumpstart creating an institutional home for the growing and important field at a major public university in Northern California. The initiative fits well within SJSU's College of Humanities and is well-aligned with other programs such as Middle East Studies, Global Studies, World Languages and Humanities; it emphasizes language, culture, and the interdisciplinary study of Iran and the Iranian-American community.
UC Davis, MESA Studies Program for Building Iranian Studies Program: This endowment grant will help establishing a permanent position for Iranian Studies within the Middle East and South Asia Studies program at UC Davis. The initiative will institutionalize modern Iranian/Persianate Studies at UC Davis by establishing an endowed visiting professorship, and working towards building a minor and eventually a major in Iranian Studies.
UC Irvine - Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture: This endowment grant expands the capabilities of the Persian Studies program at UC Davis by adding a new lectureship position to the three existing endowed chairs funded by the Missiah Foundation.
Access California Services (AccessCal): With this $39,000 AccessCal will sustain and Iranian/Farsi-speaking case manager to provide direct services such as health care enrollment, housing employment, interpretation and translation, and will link clients to ESL classes, civic classes, and mental health services. Furthermore, in order to better serve the low-income Iranian and Farsi speaking population she will organize workshops on various social service topics including: job search workshops, health care and nutrition, affordable housing, and civic engagement.
Afghan Friends Network - Khurasan Learning Center: This grant in the amount of $23,250 will fund in-demand girls' and women's education programs in Ghazni, an often over looked province 60 miles south of Kabul, Afghanistan. Currently, more than 80% of Afghan females lack basic access to education. The focus for 2010 - 2011 will be to expand the Khurasan Learning Centers (KLCs) in the following ways: Develop additional math, science and literacy curriculum for all KLCs, expand the girls' library with USA-donated books, provide university scholarships for girls graduating from the KLCs, and empower women to earn income through literacy and vocational training courses.
Associates in Cultural Exchange: ACE provide world language instruction to youth with before and after school programs in 60+ locations in the Pacific Northwest. For the past thirteen years their World Language Programs (WLP) has also offered summer language camps for children in critical languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Persian, and Urdu. This $10,000 grant will help fund the ACE Persian Summer Language Camp that provides an opportunity for heritage and non-heritage speakers alike to achieve basic proficiency in Persian language and to become familiar with Persian culture. The camp is free of charge, with 60% of 40 spaces reserved for students from low-income families.
Astronomers Without Borders - Telescope Making Workshop in Isfahan: With the help of a $10,000 grant, this project will conduct a workshop that will teach 100 students to make 100 telescopes in 10 days in Isfahan, Iran. Participants will learn the importance of practical science in everyday life, but more importantly they will acquire a sense of empowerment in being able to and participate in scientific pursuits through application of new-found skills. Most important is the training students and teachers in the operation of workshops so that they can organize similar events in the future without the need for foreign assistance.
Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association (BAIVOTER): The $50,000 grant will be used for obtaining voter files of the 20 most populous states, building a database of registered voters from the 20 target states, and analyzing the data to find the last names of registered voters whose place of birth is Iran. The list could then be used to extract registered voters of Iranian descent. As the population ages, it might become increasingly harder to find registered voters whose place of birth is Iran, hence the urgency of the project. A comprehensive list of distinct Iranian last names is essential for any reasonably accurate analysis of state voter files, national census data, or US White Pages, to identify Americans of Iranian descent and advance Iranian-American influence in the political process.
Brown University: Through this $250,000 grant for Expanding Opportunities for the Study of Iranian History, Culture and Society, Brown University will leverage existing interest in Iranian Studies by enhancing its offerings in the study of Iran's history, culture and society with a focus on modern Iran. This project will bring to Brown three visiting professors who will teach a variety of humanities or social science subjects, including the history of art and architecture, archeology, history, political science, religious studies and/or sociology. In keeping with Brown's academic culture, this project will integrate Iranian culture into several subject areas, making it accessible to the largest possible student audience.
Butterfly Buzz: This $6000 helped Butterfly Buzz prepare print material which was distributed to various events, community centers, locations of interest, etc to promote the Census 2010 Awareness Project and increase awareness among Iranians and Iranian-Americans about participating in the census project.
Cambridge in America - Shahnameh Exhibition at Fitzwilliam Museum: $10,000 has been granted to the Fitzwilliam Museum, the principal museum of the University of Cambdirge which has plans to host a major exhibition, Epic of the Persian Kings: the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. In addition to the holdings at the museum, Cambridge Library and the Cambridge Colleges, loans have been agreed from the great U.K. public or semi-public collections. And, an international conference on Shahnameh will be held in Cambridge during the exhibition, in December 2010.
Center for World Music: This $25,000 grant would permit a dramatic expansion of a current and successful Center for World Music program, Persian Music in the Schools. The project would enable the Center's program to expand from its current size (i.e., 800 K-12 students in 3 San Diego schools) to a minimum of 12,000 K-12 students in a minimum of 12 San Diego County and Orange County schools. Taught exclusively by native Iranian-American artist-teachers (principally, tar virtuoso Kourosh Taghavi), the project would focus on hands-on instruction in traditional Persian music, with authentic Persian musical instruments.
Chicago Persian School: The school serves the Chicago metropolitan area, teaching the Persian language and other aspects of Iranian culture, music and dance, art, and etiquette. This $8,000 will help fund the expansion of the library, add field trips to Oriental Institute museum (dedicated to ancient Persia), and general support.
Child Foundation - Adoption Program: This $35,000 grant will enable the Child Foundation to start a program in order to help couples in the US adopt children from Iran. There are thousands of Iranian-American couples who do not have the opportunity to have children of their own and wish to adopt one from their home country. Sanctions, unfamiliarity with laws and regulations of two countries, distance and many other obstacles have made this wish almost impossible to achieve. Yet, there are thousands of children in Iranian orphanages waiting for a better future that may never come.
Ethnic Social Services Referral Inc: ESSRI provides social services counseling to women and families in the DC area. The $2,000 grant will help them offer four family-issues seminars/classes. Each seminar is 4-6 sessions: 1) Parenting in the age of Internet activism: How to guide and protect children in their Internet social networking activities. 2) Family abuse awareness for Iranian-American families. 3) Caring for elderly parents - How to keep them in the family. 4) Pre-marital seminar for Iranian-Americans - How to prevent divorce.
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Museum: The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian have as their mission "to encourage the awareness and appreciation of Asian art and culture." World-renowned for their collections, they are particularly rich in the arts of Iran. In the past fifteen years, they have presented several important exhibitions of Iranian art, but more public programming is needed to counteract the fear and stereotyping of recent times. This $100,000 grant will help them launch the Persian Cultural Outreach Initiative which will encourage all generations and ethnicities to learn about and value Iranian arts and culture through two projects: An Iranian Film Festival, and two extremely important web resources: The Art of the Book and Iran in Photographs.
Glendale Association for the Retarded: Founded in 1995, GAR's Multi-Cultural Program is designed to provide counseling and teaching services that will enable non-English speaking individuals with developmental disabilities to learn vocational, social and independent living skills required for successful participation and assimilation within their new community. Cultural integration is the key to transitioning non-English speaking clients with the overall objective of helping our clients gain competitive employment and become more independent. This $5,000 grant will help providing optimal assimilation into the work environment, with English as a Second Language classes and other skills training, to about 16 individuals with disabilities who are from Iran. The program is the only one of its kind servicing adults with developmental disabilities in the communities of Glendale, Burbank, Hollywood and Pasadena.
Glendale College Persian Student Association: Glendale promotes the Persian culture by creating a Norooz Bazaar representing different aspects of Persian culture including arts, music, food, Haft-seen, traditional tea room, etc. They have done this for many years and the event is now well-known in Glendale. They invite the Mayer and city councils of the city of Glendale, as well as local news. The $3,000 grant will help fund this year's event. They also have a stand for the Census Coalition.
Glendon College Independent Research on Iran: The Research Committee at Glendon College is a student group. They do a study and an international seminar on one country each year. The $5,000 grant will fund this year's seminar on Iran. They have invited a number of scholars to talk and discuss various issues around Iran's current affairs (conference done on March 6th), and they will publish the research papers and findings.
Institute of International Education: IIE's Iran Opportunities Fund provides grants to recent university graduates from Iran who have studied to become English language or social science teachers. The Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program's core objective is to strengthen foreign language teaching instruction at US higher education institutions by establishing a native speaker presence at US universities and colleges. The Persian FLTA Program provides opportunities for Iranian teachers to refine their teaching skills, and a reciprocal opportunity for American students to have access to a professor with contemporary knowledge of Iranian culture and society. The $10,000 will supports 2 such Iranian graduate students.
Iran Heritage Foundation - IHF Digitization Project: This $195,000 grant, matched by IHF, enables making an extensive body of unpublished Persian music and manuscripts widely and publicly accessible by: digitizing them; providing supporting information; and making the database freely searchable and accessible online anywhere in the world. The first component features the 1,616 Golha musical radio programs produced in Iran between 1956 and 1979. This will include the biographies of all poets and artists as well as the musical notes from the songs. The result will represent the first Persian music sound archive. The second half of the project will fund a research post at the British Library to identify and catalogue Persian manuscripts worldwide, including the British Library's collection of 12,000 rare texts with fine artwork. These catalogues will be published online enabling researchers and public to identify these valuable documents. Once the existing material is catalogued, the next phase of this project will be to prioritize the digitization of manuscripts, in order to share then online and ensure funding is in place to digitally publish them over the next few years.
Iran Heritage Foundation - Institutional Partnership Program: This $490,000 grant, matched by IHF, provides support to fellowships, curators, teaching positions and centers dedicated to Iranian and Persianate studies in the US, based on IHF's successful model in England over the past 15 years. It creates new Persian language posts, summer school courses, online study and public resources, and enhances museum presentation of collections. IHF supports collaboration between institutions and delivers networking workshops, online tools and facilitates project coordination in order to maximize the impact of each institution.
Iranian Alliances Across Borders Camp Ayandeh: IAAB's mission is to strengthen the Iranian diaspora by raising awareness of Iranian culture, promoting leadership in the Iranian diaspora community, specially the youth. The $15,000 grant will be used toward organizing the IAAB's fifth annual "Camp Ayandeh", the leadership camp for Iranian-American high school students which will be held in California for the 1st time. During the camp, Iranian-American high school students nationwide are united for a week of building valuable leadership skills and learning about their Iranian heritage. Another $300,000 grant is awarded to IAAB to help them expan their innovative programs, which provide a unique opportunity not only for the students and counselors involved, but also provides a tangible and important step towards building the future of our community.
Iranian American Bar Association - ALC/IABA Fellowship to Prevent Defamation: This $50,000 grant funds a fellowship at the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education to take cases, educate, and promote policy on behalf of communities effected by post 9-11 discrimination and defamation.
Iranian Children's Cultural and Educational Center: ICCES promotes Persian culture and builds sense of community focusing on Iranian-American youth. They have 100 volunteers, started community events in Albany, CA, and later Danville, CA. The $5,000 grant will be used toward their annual Norooz program.
Kahrizak Foundation - Noor Active Living Center: This $100,000 grant helps Kahrizak Foundation with the renovation of their Activity Room in the purchased facility that is being fully remodeled to house Elderly Iranians who cannot live independently. This facility is located in Santa Clara, CA, operating under a license from California Department of Social Services. The building has gone through major remodeling to be upgraded to the latest city and fire marshal code requirements. It will operate 7 days a week 24 hours a day with full staff and all major staff members will be Farsi speaking. The facility has 16 rooms than can accommodate up to of 32 residents of 60 years and older. The facility also hosts a full kitchen providing Persian cuisine to the residents.
LACMA - Publication of the Ancient Iranian Art collection: LACMA's ancient Iranian collection consists of 1200 objects spanning more than four thousand years is the largest collection of ancient Iranian artworks in the West Coast of the United Sates. Despite the importance and uniqueness of this collection, it has never been fully presented in an accessible, published form. This $20,000 grant from PARSA will help accomplish the following: The catalogue will be the first comprehensive presentation of the ancient Iranian collection at LACMA, which can be available in both paper and digital forms. The publication will have an engaging impact on the community of scholars working on the art, archaeology, and history of ancient Iran. In a broader sense, this catalogue will also introduce Iranian art and cultural heritage to the Iranian-Americans living in the United States, and will help foster intercultural understanding between in the community at large.
License to Freedom: License to Freedom addresses domestic violence among the refugee and immigrant community in San Diego. The goal is to empower refugee and immigrant communities to embrace visions of family life that are built on meaningful communication and mutual dignity, safety, and self-respect. Most participants are Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees, and this $30,000 grant will provide support for Persian speaking refugees, especially women, from Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The project provides a safe space in which participants can raise and discuss questions related to family and gender relations generally, and domestic violence specifically, for the purpose of illuminating existing beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, and ways of living that can then be examined and questioned. Dialogue meetings are three-hour sessions held bi-weekly focusing on issues or needs and related community resources, topics of current interest, and/or topics that can drive group discussion.
Link Media Inc - Bridge to Iran series: Link Media operates the Link TV national network and www.linktv.org. They cover underserved and complex issues that the mass media ignores. In 2007 they created a weekly series called Bridge to Iran. Bridge to Iran allows Americans to share in the rich cultural heritage of Iran and its people by looking at Iran from the perspective of Iranians themselves, instead of an American-centric perspective. Through two grants this year ($10,000 and $111,000) they will acquire more content (Iranian films, documentaries, film-maker interviews) for the series.
Moms Against Poverty - Helping Hand Project: In the United States, MAP partners with local community organizations/schools to provide food, provisions and advocate support for children living in poverty, and a $60,000 grant from PARSA is helping MAP in long term expansion of these activities. MAP has partnered with the Bryant Child Development Center in San Francisco, provide food and provisions for the children. This Center is a preschool/after school care provider under the umbrella of the S.F. Unified School District's Child Development program, since 1979, it serves low income families in the Mission District with children from 3 to 10 years old. MAP partnered with Sugarland Elementary School in Sterling, Virginia, provides food and provisions for the children on a monthly basis. This school serves an average of 420 students, 55% of students live in poverty and are eligible for free and reduced lunch programs. MAP supports the training of CASA volunteers in the Bay Area; volunteers are matched with dependent children lost in the foster care system. They work one-on-one with the children, following their cases in the court system and ensuring that the needs and the best interests of these foster children are met at all times. The training enables these volunteers to manage every aspect of a child's case, including meeting teachers, social workers, doctors, and foster parents.
Moms Against Poverty - Rokhshana Girls School: The literacy rate in Afghanistan is one of the lowest among developing countries and female literacy is the lowest in the world. According to the education ministry, at least one million girls of school age are not enrolled in school. MAP has adopted a school, Rokhshana Girl's School, which serves a population of over 4500 students (from grade 1-12), and will be supported via this $20,000 grant. MAP has provided computers with internet service to the school; we also support the school's computer education classes and peace education program. MAP also funds continuing education for the teachers to support them in their dedication to helping this generation grow and prosper. Rokhshana Girl's School has designated a space for a garden in their school yard. By providing tools, supplies, and necessary materials, MAP is encouraging students to learn and promote environmental awareness. In addition, MAP plans to create a cultural exchange program between Rokhshana Girls School in Kabul, Afghanistan and two Schools in the Bay Area.
National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement: NLSCA, with a history of serving clients post 9/11 since 2001, has represented some 3200 clients of which 68% are of Iranian decent. From 2005, part of the work has included documenting/memorializing experiences and suffering of the clients, community education and training of pro bono lawyers, and negotiating with U.S. officials on behalf of the clients on a range of discriminatory practices. NLSCA's goal now, the first of its kind, is to directly address policy change by examining how post 9/11 policies may have medically/psychologically affected this targeted community. The project will draw from, and be guided by, the successful Japanese-American redress movement which led to a Presidential apology and restitution for the grave violations of their constitutional rights. In cooperation with Institute for the Study of Psychosocial Trauma (ISPT) and Institute for Redress and Recovery (IRR), NLSCA will continue to document ongoing cases, while determining the nexus between the medical/psychological impact and existing post 9/11 policy enforcement. Where necessary, NLSCA will connect victims of trauma to rehabilitative services. This collaborative effort between human rights/legal services, coupled with clinically applied and scholarly research, will expand NLSCA's impact on a more comprehensive level for both the Iranian-American community, and broader community-at-large. A $25,000 grant from PARSA funds parts of this program focused on people of Iranian descend.
NIAC - Building a Strong Community: NIAC will strengthen linkages and collaborations among Iranian-American organizations and reach out to build relationships with other communities through a kickoff meeting for leading Iranian-American organizations to discuss common goals, address issues and develop best practices for working together, followed up by efforts that will continue to address key issues and groups working together will build momentum toward a National Conference incorporating Iranian-American organizations and leaders. With the help of this $111,000 grant, NIAC will launch a series of seminars to bring together individuals and organizations from the Jewish-American and Iranian-American communities to identify and address the gaps in understanding, common interests, shared goals and opportunities between the two groups.
NIAC - Building Civic Participation and Leadership: Ensuring the Iranian-American community's full integration into American society requires that Iranian Americans be trained, informed civic participants fully engaged in the practice of democracy, that a new cadre of leaders is developed that can lead the community in the future, and that the practice of democracy becomes engendered within the community. NIAC's approach, supported by this $182 grant, is to provide education and training through workshops reaching thousands of Iranian Americans nationwide and to provide individuals with effective tools and training on voter registration, contacting elected officials, writing effective opinion-editorials and other democratic practices; equip and mobilize Iranian Americans to take action on key issues affecting the community such as civil rights, immigration, and anti-discrimination via our Mehmoonak informal action gatherings; and facilitate youth empowerment by providing fellowships for Iranian American students to develop a firm understanding of the political process and gain firsthand exposure to American democracy by interning in Washington, DC.
NIAC - Cultural Heritage: Preserving and Protecting Our Rich Traditions: NIAC is committed to protecting the cultural identity and heritage of Iranian Americans and has led efforts to save priceless Persian artifacts from the ancient city of Persepolis from winding up at auction. The Persepolis tablets are currently caught in a complicated legal battle and risk being sold to the highest bidder to pay legal costs stemming from a settlement for victims of a bombing attack blamed on Iran. NIAC has led the efforts to protect the tablets from being lost from the public domain and ending up in private hands. NIAC's project supported by this $153,000 grant utilizes a broad and sustained information and education campaign in the media and through events in the communities where these objects are held. The desired effect is to save the objects from an uncertain fate, and engage the Iranian American community and the broader American public in preserving and protecting a part of humanity's ancient and treasured past.
Northern Illinios University: The university does not currently offer any extra-curricular forums which explore Persian arts and literature. Professor Jeffry Einboden, who has translated Hafez and Rumi to English in the past, will use the $3,000 grant to hold a series of public seminars - "Reading Rumi: Seasons of Persian Verse" - to introduce NIU undergraduate and graduate students to the world of Persian Sufi poetry.
Oakland Youth Orchestra: OYO (Oakland Youth Orchestra) coaches young music students from over 30 Bay Area cities. This $3,000 will help fund the commissioning of Persian-American composer Omid Zoufonoun to create a multi-movement composition of approximately 20 minutes that incorporates elements of traditional Persian music into a western symphonic piece. OYO Principal Conductor Bryan Nies will conduct, and Amin Zoufonoun, the composer's brother (both sons of Ostad Mahmoud Zoufonoun), will be the featured soloist on traditional Persian instruments. The piece will be debuted in East Bay and in Costa Rica.
Online Persian College of Modern Science, Art, and Humanities: OPC will be an online service that provides free courses and educational material to Persian-speaking people in developing countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Subject matters will cover areas that are usually not available to high school and junior college student in these countries, but available to their peers in the west. This $100,000 grant will fund the software development and content creation for the service. The purpose is to provide a rich and up-to-date library with modern content for those who would like to learn. Current trends on social networking sites and blogosphere show that people in Iran are very active in sharing content if they find good digital material. These courses are presented in Persian, and the content is digital only. The courses will be in the form of video, MP3 audio, and PDF books. The audio and video content can be downloaded, so that students don't have to rely on continuous access to the Internet to be able to use the courses. The OPC infrastructure will make the content usable on not only computers but mobile phones. People in Iran are already using mobile phones for digital content, so the high penetration of mobile phones makes delivery and sharing easier.
ORAM Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration: This project will increase the legal and social protection of Iranian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey and assure their successful resettlement in the US. The $100,000 grant will fund three component activities for this this goal: (1) Legal information, counseling and representation will be provided to LGBTI refugees throughout refugee status determination and resettlement procedures. (2) Financial assistance, including assistance for housing, food and emergency medical care will be provided to needy individuals awaiting adjudication of their claims and resettlement. (3) English language and vocational vocabulary trainings will be provided to LGBTI refugees during the resettlement process in Turkey. Where possible, those who are resettled to ORAM's San Francisco Bay Area resettlement program will receive housing placement, vocational training, community orientation, additional English language training, and trauma counseling.
Oriental Institute, University of Chicago: The Persepolis Fortification Archive (PFA) is the largest and most consequential single source of information on languages, art, society, administration, history, geography and religion in the heart of the Persian Empire in the time of Darius I, around 500 BC. It has transformed modern research on Achaemenid history and culture. An untold amount of information remains to be harvested, but the future of PFA is at risk because of litigation before Federal courts. The PFA Project works on an emergency basis to ensure that this irreplaceable record of the Achaemenid past will not be lost. An international team of experts on Achaemenid languages and art reads and analyses its contents; a combination of conventional and advanced electronic techniques captures high-quality images; two on-line applications distribute the results quickly, continuously, and freely. Previous awards from PARSA CF have supported conservation work on tablets and fragments from the PFA, an essential precondition for reading them and making useful images. This $200,000 grant will provide funding for a full-time project conservator, student workers and electronic storage for two years.
Partner Pictures - From Texas to Tehran: Two grants ($20,000, 30,000) will help fund the production of "From Texas To Tehran", a feature length documentary film about the true story of an American basketball player who plays professionally in Iran: KEVIN SHEPPARD, the undisputed star of A.S. Shiraz, a young team in the Iranian Super League. The core mission of the film is to introduce the Iranian population in a fair and objective manner to the American public.
Persian Art Society - LA Music School: This $50,000 grant provides seed funding to establish a school for Persian music, dance, and literature in Los Angeles. The school will serve the public by providing classes, lectures, and workshops by masters of Persian music, dance, and literature coming Iran and other parts of the world, as well as by local artists living in California. The school would operate in conjunction with the concert organizing activities of Persian Arts Society to educate the Iranian-American audiences and Westerners alike, paying special attention to the younger generation.
Persian Cultural Center - Census Project: PCC aims to promote, preserve and embrace the history and culture of Iran. It focuses on building community membership as well as programs that center around Persian culture, history, and art. PCC has also developed a bi-monthly, bi-lingual publication, "Peyk". This publication, now in its 17th year, includes original essays, poetry, and articles on history and literature. The bi-monthly circulation of "Peyk" is over 6,000 copies to areas including: San Diego, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, Chicago, Toronto, and New York. The $3,000 grant will be used to promote the Census.
Promises Films - Educational Outreach and Community Engagement for Our Summer in Tehran: In her Oscar nominated documentary "Promises," filmmaker Justine Shapiro took us into the lives of Palestinians and Israeli children living in and around Jerusalem. Justine's new documentary, "Our Summer In Tehran," transports us into the seldom seen realm of middle class family life in Iran where we meet three families from different backgrounds. The film was completed in May 2010 and will broadcast on PBS in 2011. The film has the potential to be of service, beyond broadcast. The Educational Outreach & Community Engagement Project, funded by this $76,000 grant, will bring "Our Summer in Tehran" into classrooms, institutes, organizations, conferences, libraries, and grass-roots community centers where it will spark transformative dialogue and inspire tangible action. The goal of this Project is to introduce educators, citizens, and policymakers to this valuable educational tool so that they can share this timely and important film + compelling written materials with their communities.
Mourners and Me (documentary): The $10,000 grant will help fund the new film, "The Mourners and Me" which is director Sabereh Kashi's cinematic essay of Ashura, as the buggest cultural/religous ceremoney in Iran. The movie is not political but a personal story, with a balanced mix of historical and civic aspects.
Relief International - PARSA Fellows Program: Active in more than 26 countries, RI provides emergency relief and development assistance to vulnerable communities worldwide. RI's mission is to Save Lives & Sustain Livelihoods, designed to bridge relief to development by addressing the root causes of poverty, marginalization and conflict. Despite the importance of relief development and diplomacy in such mission, the Iranian population is under-represented in the international humanitarian community and in the US and EU foreign policy and diplomatic corps. Many in the new generation of Irainian Diaspora students are eager to find entry into careers in international public policy and development, yet have little opportunity to access inroads and gain the necessary experience. Relief International would like to provide this exact opportunity to qualified Iranian-American (and -British) students. Through this $29,000 grant, RI will provide that entry point as well as a platform to educate and train through a paid internship program that selects the best performing Fellows. In 2009 they trained 3 such students through PARSA funding, this year they are aiming for 4.
San Francisco State University - Persian Cultural Heritage Studies: In its 2008-2009 pilot year, PCHS (Persian Cultural Heritage Studies) conducted Persian language and civilization classes (Persian Language 103 and 104) as well as campus-wide lectures and events available to over 30,000 students and the larger community. The program has significantly expanded its educational and outreach efforts during the current academic year. The Initiative plans to initially offer a minor and then develop a Bachelor's degree program in Persian Cultural Heritage Studies. The enrollment per class is 40 students. In 2008-2009 academic year Persian language classes were filled to the capacity plus a waiting list of at least 20 students. PCHS expects a similar demand for language and literature courses in the 2010-2011 academic year. The $10,000 grant from PARSA will sustain one course and provide much-needed support for the second course.
San Jose State University - Persian and Iranian American Studies Initiative: The $10,000 grant will help fund the start-up and building of resources to create a Persian and Irainian-American studies to SJSU. The initiative is very active on this and wants to engage successful SJSC alumni. They want to promote having Persian Studies at a public university, with a focus on diaspora and leadership building.
San Jose State University - Student Association for Middle Eastern Studies: SAMES at SJSU wants to highlight a week of exciting events, programs, and rituals that mark the celebration of Norooz, acknowledging the contributions and culture of Iranian Americans on the campus. The $3,000 will fund their Norooz event.
San Mateo Public Library: San Mateo Library's Farsi collection started in 1998. In addition to bringing in Iranian books and movies, helpful to senior residents coming from Iran, they have made Persian events such as Yalda and Norouz regular items on their calendar that are celebrated in bi-lingual community gatherings. The $5,000 grant will fund the expansion of their collection of books/movies/CDs/audio books, as well as bringing in more speakers for their events and also market their events.
Simorq Project: The Simorq project is an ambitious initiative designed to acquaint the public with Iran's historical culture through the retelling of a part of "Shahnameh," sing a national orchestra, made up of forty Iranian musicians that utilize traditional Iranian instruments and are accompanied by Homayoun Shajarian as their solo vocalist. The group is led by Hamid Motebassem, the famous Iranian musician and Tar/Setar master. Simorq hopes to transcend boundaries. Following three years of tireless efforts researching the universe of the epic tale "Shahnameh,"selecting specific poems from it, and creating the appropriate musicality, notes, and chords to do justice to these poems, the project has reached its final stage of turning into a reality. It is hoped that through a series of concerts in the United States, Simorq can shed a different light upon the cultural richness of Iran by bringing its music and fine literature to those who have yet to experience it. The $20,000 grant from PARSA supports the production of Simorq.
Stanford University - Iranian Genome Project: Several international efforts have characterized human genome variations across the world, focusing on populations from Africa, Europe, Asia and America. Little, however, is known about the genetics of middle-eastern populations. The team at Stanford aims to sequence about 50 full human genomes representing all 18 different populations in Iran. Through this $250,000 grant, the Stanford team will use state-of-the art sequencing technology and analysis tools to understand the genetic characteristics of Iranians. Because women are traditionally high users of healthcare (as they care for themselves and their children), the health risk and drug-related lessons learned will benefit Iranian women, in addition to all others. The data will be made available in public databases, and will be considered for new drug and diagnostics development by the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, future drugs and diagnostic tests may be tailorable to Iranian-Americans based on this project. In addition, this data may solve some of the fundamental questions about human migration and origins in population genetic studies. Finally, the data will enable future medical genetic studies, which aim to understand diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson's.
Teachers Without Borders: The global Persian-speaking community is highly vulnerable to earthquakes. This includes millions of people living in cities, towns, and villages in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, as well as members of diaspora communities worldwide. Teachers Without Borders (TWB) will address this vulnerability through this $15,000 grant, for a period of one to three years, to raise the standard of Persian civic engagement and leadership on issues of earthquake awareness, education and mitigation. TWB will use a strategy similar to that used successfully in China in response to the Sichuan 2008 earthquake: build a global network of teachers to support local teacher training efforts, and engage local teachers and school administrators in the process of creating students that can understand and respond to earthquakes. Through this strategy, students become the catalysts for constructive change in their communities by being aware of the need for earthquake mitigation construction and planning. The PARSQUAKE Project will begin in Tajikistan, given its high earthquake vulnerability, low level of economic development, language commonality, minimal political turbulence, and stable scientific and educational government institutions.
The University of Oklahoma Iranian Studies Institute Program: The University of Oklahoma (OU) Iranian Studies Institute, anchored by the Farzaneh Family Chair in Iranian Studies has funded a tenured chair in modern Iranian culture and society. This $310,000 endowment grant would give the chair holder funding to make immediate strides in creating programs that will build understanding of modern Iran for OU students, and the broader state and regional community. This endowment would support public lectures, film screenings and other events that showcase what Iranian culture means today. The endowment would also support student scholarships, allowing OU to recruit outstanding students into the Iranian Studies Program.
The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Middle Eastern Studies: This $141,000 grant funds "The Persian of Iran," an innovative, media-based, interactive curriculum for modern Persian that guides the true beginner--someone with no background in or knowledge of Persian--to proficiency in speaking, reading, listening, writing, and culture. It consists of 35 chapters that guide the students from the novice or true beginner stage to an intermediate level of language proficiency in one year of intensive study or two years of non-intensive study. The framework of the curriculum is a video story written specifically for this project. This design represents a significant change from previous approaches and is based on current research and best practices in the field of second language acquisition, which focuses on the use of narrative as well as dialogue. Narrative captures and holds the learners' interest as it draws them into the lives of the fictional characters, in this case, young Iranians from various backgrounds, whose stories were co-written and filmed in Iran. Almost half of the curriculum has been completed, and was used in Persian classes this past year as a pilot.
Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy: The Fletcher School is receiving this $300,000 grant for a new program designed to promote Persian perspectives in international relations: Fletcher will develop a new academic course on international relations titled "The World Seen from Iran." The course curriculum and material will be developed and tested at Fletcher, and will then become publicly available to other universities as well as the public . Fletcher will also boost the enrolled number of Iranian and Persian-speaking students through scholarships, and will convene "Public Dialogues" on Iran by hosting speakers, scholars, policymakers, filmmakers and others in campus events.
Two Persian Weddings (movie): Two Persian Weddings is a comedy about the Iranian-American community starring stand-up comic Maz Jobrani. The film chronicles the courtships and romantic entanglements of two Iranian-American brothers who marry two Iranian-American sisters. Inspired by the narrative structure of The 1001 Nights, Two Persian Weddings celebrates the rich literary traditions of Iran while at the same time promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of the Iranian-American community in the United States. This movie will be made using the $100,000 grant from PARSA.
UC Berkeley, Department of Near Eastern Studies: Students of Iranian descent comprise a sizeable portion of the students who enroll in UC Berkeley's Persian Studies courses. As part of their heritage, these students may be proficient in spoken Persian, but their knowledge of Persian culture, society and history is often less extensive. To enhance the learning experience of its Iranian heritage students and to expand its relations with the larger Iranian-American community in and around the campus and in the larger San Francisco Bay area, the Persian Studies program of the Near Eastern Studies Department will organize a film and lecture series using this $50,000 grant , focusing on outstanding Iranian films and prominent Persian authors, poets, and artists. Representing Iran through the lenses of film and original lectures will enhance the understanding and appreciation of Iranian-American students of their rich culture and heritage. And since the entire Berkeley academic community, as well as all interested members of the local Iranian-American community and general public, will also have access to these films and lectures, the impact of the program is potentially enormous in better representing Iran and its rich culture, fascinating history and complex society to campus, to local Iranian-Americans, and to the larger general public.
Universal Love Foundation - House of Hope: The ULF House of Hope provides free, culturally and linguistically competent, and gender-specific grief counseling services to families and individuals, primarily women. Services include individual and group counseling, short-term emergency financial support, and resource referral to grieving children, teens and adults. Approximately 40% of ULF's families are Persian and specifically seek out ULF to receive services that cannot be found at other social service agencies, and this $30,000 grant is aimed to provide support services for such families. Counseling sessions are offered by trained grief facilitators to help foster healing and to secure family relationships. The center provides an environment where clients can talk freely about their loss with others with similar situations. Services are targeted to families (typically headed by single mothers), who because of income level, would not otherwise be able to afford this type of counseling. "
University of Maryland - Roshan Center for Persian Studies: Roshan Center has been established within the School of Languages, Literature and Cultures at University of Meryland since 2004 to inaugurate academic programs in Persian language and literature. They, in conjunction with the university's Jimenez-Porter Writers Program, have invited Ms. Sheida Mohamadi, a Los Angeles-based Iranian American writer and to be the Writer-in-Residence at the Center for the spring 2010 semester. During her tenure, Ms. Mohamadi will assist the Center in developing the skills of its students in creative writing in the Persian language. She will also assist the students of the Persian Flagship Program in making a website for that program. "Reading Persian Stories" is a class she started on February 4th at the Persian Center. The $25,000 grant will fund this program plus general support.