April 3, 2014, Washington D.C. – On March 26, 2014, over two hundred guests joined the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) to celebrate the A Thousand Years of the Persian Book exhibition at Library of Congress, which opened to the public the next day. A bipartisan group of twenty-one members of Congress served as honorary co-hosts of the reception, which included a beautiful haft seen and the opportunity for guests to see the exhibition for the first time.
A Thousand Years of the Persian Book provides a glimpse into the Library’s unique Persian collections and the important role that the Persian language has played in world history. The exhibition features, among many others, the poetry of Rumi, Sa’adi, Hafez, Omar Khayam, and Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh. It showcases classic Persian masterpieces, such as Sa’adi’s Bustan and Gulistan, Jami’s ‘Uruz -i Jami, the Divan-i Hafiz, and Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. It will also feature a number of Qurans with Persian designs and decorative motifs, lithographs such as the Iskandarnameh (the Book of Alexander), ancient maps of Iran, and unique calligraphy texts. Unique in its breadth, it includes a display of works from modern poets and writers as well, such as Sadegh Hedayat, Nima Yushij, Forough Farokhzad, and Sohrab Sepehri.
Guests were welcomed to the reception by Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress, and Ali Mojdehi, Chairman of the PAAIA Board, as well as Congressman John Mica (R-FL/7th) and Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA/15th), two co-hosts of the reception. Hirad Dinavari, Reference Specialist for the Iranian World Collections at the Library of Congress, provided an overview of the exhibition for guests.
“This exhibition allows us to highlight the important role that Persian literature has had in world history,” said Ali Mojdehi. “We are proud to be able to help bring about a better understanding of the Persian culture and people through this exhibition and are thankful to the Library of Congress for compiling these works of art.”
Other members of Congress in attendance included Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC/5th), Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA/29th), Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA/52nd), Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL/6th), Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ/9th), Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ/6th), and Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX/36th).
A Thousand Years of the Persian Book was made possible through the support of PAAIA, Ambassador Hushang Ansary, Jawad Kamel, Nazie Eftekhari, and other generous donors. It will be open for viewing and free to the public through September 20, 2014.
Click here to view the pictures from the opening reception for A Thousand Years of the Persian Book.
Click here for more information on the exhibition and planned events.