PAAIA Celebrates Nowruz on Capitol Hill

March 21, 2014, Washington, D.C. – On March 13, 2014, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), in conjunction with Congressman Michael Honda (CA-17), Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-4), Congressman Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Congressman Andre Carson (IN-7), Congressman Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52), Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-5), and Congressman Henry Waxman (CA-33), hosted a Nowruz reception for members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill. 

PAAIA’s annual Nowruz reception on Capitol Hill is part of its broader effort to celebrate and foster greater understanding of Iranian culture, and to project an accurate and positive image of the Iranian American community. In attendance were ten members of Congress as well as more than a hundred and fifty congressional staff and special guests. 

The evening’s program was kicked off by Congresswoman Maloney, who spoke about the vibrant Iranian American community in New York and her role as an original co-sponsor of the Nowruz resolution, which passed the U.S. Congress back in 2010.    

Congressman Honda highlighted his efforts in collaboration with PAAIA to introduce and pass Congress’ first recognition of the cultural and historical significance of the Iranian New Year.  “Nowruz allows us to take a moment to reflect on our core common American values and bond through our different, but yet paralleled histories.  I am already looking forward to next year’s reception.”

Congressman Cardenas also conveyed his appreciation for Nowruz and Iranian culture.  “I am so proud to be here today as a U.S. Congressman.” Cardenas explained that he will bring more members of Congress to the reception next year “so that more and more people” in the United States understand how Nowruz enhances the social fabric of America.      

“Nowruz is an occasion to celebrate life, hope, and a fresh start, with friends and family,” said Congressman Carson.  “The Iranian American community has a lot to be proud of, ranging from some of the world’s greatest physicians, attorneys, engineers and some of the most hard-working staffers on Capitol Hill.” 

The special guest of the evening, Hirad Dinavari, Reference Specialist for the Iranian World Collections at the Library of Congress, spoke about the upcoming exhibition celebrating Persian literature at the Library of Congress.  “A Thousand Years of the Persian Book” will explore the rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last millennium, from illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications. The exhibition will bring attention to the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus.

The reception continued until late in the evening.  Guests enjoyed Persian cuisine and also had the opportunity to view a Haft Seen table.  PAAIA would like to thank our NexGen volunteers who made the evening a success, as well as all the members of Congress and their staff who joined us for this special event.  Other members in attendance were: Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congressman Beto O‘Rourke (TX-16), Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-30), and Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52).  

For pictures of this event, click here.

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