March 12, 2015, Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, March 11, PAAIA attended the White House celebration in honor of Nowruz, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The festivities started in the East Room with an introduction by Ashley Azmoodeh, a first generation Iranian American student at the University of Maryland, who spoke about her family’s experience as immigrants in the United States and her own connection to Nowruz growing up.
The First Lady honored the holiday by noting its long history and significance to communities around the world, and presented the White House Haft Seen. She noted that the symbolic setting represents new hopes for the New Year, including blessings, patience, love, sweetness and rebirth.
“I think it’s so fitting that we’re holding this celebration here today,” said the First Lady. “One of my favorite things about the White House is how it is truly the people’s house – a house that reflects the diversity of culture and traditions that make us who we are as a country. And Nowruz is one of those traditions.”
Entertainment was provided by the Silk Road Dance Company and classical Persian musician, Payam Yousefi. A luncheon spread was offered by local DC Peacock Café chef, Maziar Farivar. Guests included leaders in business, education, government, non-profit, and the entertainment industry who partook in this celebration of culture and diversity at the White House.
Click here to see PAAIA’s pictures of the event!