By PAAIA Staff
April 26, 2011, Washington, D.C. – On April 21, 2011 the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) held its annual reception for Iranian Americans who work for members of Congress and the Executive Branch. The event, held at PAAIA’s headquarters, also marked the launch of the PAAIA NexGen Chapter in Washington, D.C. Over 50 guests including Iranian Americans working for government consulting firms and nonprofit organizations were in attendance and able to mingle and network with one another in an intimate setting.
The featured guest at the reception was Ramin Asgard, Director of Voice of America– Persian News Network. Asgard is currently the highest ranking Iranian American career Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. Most recently he served as a Political Advisor to General David Petraeus and General James Mattis at the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Florida. Prior to joining CENTCOM, Asgard served as Director of the Iran Regional Presence Office in Dubai, the U.S. Government’s primary field operation concerning Iran.
“Organizations like PAAIA, remind us that we do not need to rely on the charity of others to help Iranian Americans. We are successful, driven people. We can help ourselves by helping each other,” Asgard explained. “PAAIA is one organization that is committed to helping us help each other.”
Former congressional staffer and candidate, Darius Shahinfar, was also in attendance at the reception. He encouraged the younger generation of Iranian Americans to participate in the American civic process and run for public office. “Iranian Americans need a voice in today’s political environment,” Shahinfar said. “You should consider running for office and being a part of shaping the nation.”
The event was a testament to PAAIA’s continued focus on facilitating the creation of a network of Iranian Americans in public and private sectors. “PAAIA NexGen provides [us] young professionals with the opportunity to network and mingle with accomplished and successful Iranian Americans from a wide array of fields,” PAAIA D.C. NexGen Leader, Behrad Mahdi said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of an organization that understands the importance of investing in our young leaders of tomorrow.”
PAAIA NexGen was founded in 2008 by PAAIA Board member, Dr. Firouz Naderi. It is composed of youth who meet in small groups nationwide to form friendships and network, introduce gifted Iranian Americans to their community, and organize seminars to explore issues related to their heritage, identity, career paths or other subjects of interest to their age group.
Click here to view photo gallery of the reception on facebook.