Eight Iranian Americans Awarded the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Saturday, May 7, 2016 – Eight highly accomplished Iranian Americans were awarded the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding achievement in their personal and professional lives coupled with the preservation of their culture and heritage and noteworthy citizenship to the United States.

Established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), the Ellis Island Medals of Honor annually pay tribute to the ancestry groups that comprise America’s unique cultural mosaic and rank among the nation’s most prestigious awards. The Medals are presented on Ellis Island, in a dramatic ceremony, to American citizens of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation, and the world.

The U.S. Congress sanctions the Ellis Island Medals of Honor and recipients’ names are listed in the Congressional Record. Six Presidents of the United States, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, leaders of industry, artists, and others are among the remarkable group of individuals to have previously received the award.




This year’s Iranian American honorees are:

Bahram Akradi is an outstanding entrepreneur who arrived in the US at the age of 17. He started Life Time Fitness in 1992. Today Life Time has 113 health clubs with revenues of $1.2 billion and has created 22,500 jobs. Life Time Fitness is listed on the NY Stock Exchange. Akradi heads the Life Time Foundation to improve children’s nutrition.

Fariba Alamdari is the VP of Boeing Commercial Airplane Marketing. Her team of experts defines future customer’s requirements, forecast demands and evaluates market risks and opportunities. Alamdari is the author of 70 articles and research papers on aviation. She is a proponent of women’s empowerment.

Kamran Elahian is the Chairman and co-founder of Global Catalyst Partners, a technology oriented venture capital form. He is an entrepreneur in the high-tech industry who has co-founded ten companies. With his wide, he has funded and opened schools in the Midwest and supplied computers to students.

Omid Farokhzad  is a physician-scientist-entrepreneur and a nanomedicine innovator. He has made disruptive discoveries in the field of medical nanomedicine. In 2014, and 2015, he was also selected by Thomas Reuters as one of the World’s Most Influential Minds.

Hamed Faridi is a renowned food scientist ho led a global team of scientists in research, product development and technical service to support McCormick’s Science Institute. Dr. Faridi received his MBA from Fairleigh Dickenson and his Ph.D. from Kansas State University.

Alex Navab is an outstanding leader in Finance. He is the head of Kolberg, Kravis and Robert’s Americas Privite Equities business. He has played a significant role in the development of many major companies. Navab is actively involved in philanthropy and community work.

Shervin Pishevar is a Managing Director of Sherpa Ventures, which he founded in 2013. Previously, as a Managing Director at Menlo Ventures, he worked closely with the team at Uber Technologies. Pishevar has invested in more than 50 companies as an angel and is one of ten members of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

Massih Tayebi co-founded his company, Wireless Facilities, with his brother Masood Tayebi. The company helps wireless carriers make their systems work is the middle ground between the carriers and users of technology such as Qualcomm. He has led efforts to privatize, deploy and manage telecom infrastructure in over 60 countries, making them pioneers in bringing wireless connectivity to billions of people. Tayebi has left WF to pursue new entrepreneurial opportunities.

PAAIA congratulates this year’s medal recipients and thanks them for their contributions to the richness and diversity of American life.


Click here to view to view the full 2016 Ellis Island Award Recipients.

Click here to view the 2015 Iranian American Ellis Island Award Winners.

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