Iranian Americans Receive Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Iranian Americans Receive Ellis Island Medal of Honor

May 15, 2008

On May 10, 2008 six Iranian Americans received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding achievement in their personal and professional lives coupled with preservation of their culture and heritage and noteworthy citizenship to the United States. The five women and one man receiving the award mark the largest group of Iranian Americans to be honored in the United States at one time. Akbar Lari, a PAAIA Board member and a former Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient, said: “We wanted to recognize the tremendous philanthropic contributions of Iranian American women to society against the backdrop of their individual inspirational success stories.”

This year’s Iranian American honorees are:


Ms. Goli Ameri – Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs


Ms. Nooshen Hashemi – Founder, the H.A.N.D. Foundation


Ms. Laya Khadjavi – Managing Director, Morgan Stanley


Mr. Darioush KhalediChairman and Chief Executive Officer of K.V. Mart


Ms. Parisa Khosravi – Senior Vice President, International Newsgathering, CNN


Ms. Avid Modjtabai – Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Wells Fargo Bank


The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is recognized by the United States Congress, and all the branches of government and armed forces will be present at the ceremony. The medal of honor is given to individuals who exemplify American ideals, leadership, and an emphasis on preserving the distinct values and rich heritage of their ancestors. Six members of our community receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor this year is an indication of the growing success and influence of Iranian Americans in their adoptive homeland, the United States.


Originally created in 1986, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor was created to honor the immigrant experience and those with exceptional individual and personal achievement, exemplary citizenship and contribution to the United States, with emphasis on the preservation of their heritage. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor will be presented by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, an umbrella organization of 350 ethnic organizations around the United States. Previous recipients include former President Bill Clinton and Bob Hope.

Click here to view the list of Iranian American honorees from inception to 2007.


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