Why PAAIA Matters?

By PAAIA Staff

A Look Back at PAAIA’s 2010 Achievements

January 5, 2010, Washington, D.C.– The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is pleased to present a summary of our activities and accomplishments in 2010.  This 2010 review reflects that within the U.S. political and social environment, PAAIA is a needed organization that has accomplished objectives while enabling change.

Since our public launch in 2008, PAAIA has focused on serving the domestic interests of Iranian Americans and representing the Iranian community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at-large.  PAAIA has worked toward fostering greater understanding of our community and cultural heritage; implementing programs that assist and enrich our youth; and expanding opportunities for the active participation of Iranian Americans in the American democratic process.

While the nature of PAAIA’s work is often hard to quantify, as compared to business or humanitarian endeavors, 2010 marked a year where the culmination of our activities paid dividend in unprecedented accomplishments and successes for the Iranian American community:

Iranians Americans Count In April of 2009, PAAIA helped launch the Iranians Count 2010 Census Coalition, aimed at encouraging Iranian Americans to participate in the 2010 Census and help secure a more accurate count of the Iranian American population.  By March 2010, the Coalition had grown into a record 47-Member partnership which resulted in a successful public awareness campaign that reached many Iranian Americans across the U.S.

Nowruz Resolution Passes the U.S. Congress Working closely with Congressman Michael Honda and other members of Congress, PAAIA succeeded in having a resolution in honor of the Iranian New Year introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March of 2009.  A year later, the resolution passed both chambers of Congress with over 70 co-sponsors, marking the first time that the U.S. Congress has formally recognized this cherished holiday for people of Iranian descent. “The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans has given instrumental support towards this resolution,” said Congressman Honda upon the passage of the resolution in the House of Representatives.  “Their initiative to work with me on the Nowruz resolution has fostered a greater understanding of the Iranian American community.”

Passing the Torch of Success to the Next Generation of Iranian Americans – Following the inaugural Passing the Torch of Success event in Los Angeles in May 2009, Passing the Torch of Success was hosted in Orange County, New York City and Berkeley in 2010.  Passing the Torch of Success is an ongoing series of educational and inspirational events aimed primarily at youth.  The events highlight highly accomplished Iranian Americans in different fields who share their career experiences and the secrets of their success with the audience from the stage. The events have fostered a better understanding of the Iranian American community in the U.S. as well as within our culture and heritage.

Mentoring the Next Generation of Iranian Americans – Launched in the spring of 2010, PAAIA’s Mentorship Program matches students and early to mid-career professionals with accomplished professional associates who volunteer to mentor the younger generation to help them shape and/or advance their academic and career goals.  The Mentorship Program represents one of PAAIA’s core tenets, which is to invest in the new generation by capitalizing on our top assets– community leaders.  To date, 36 mentors have been matched with 73 mentees.  Both mentees and mentors have provided positive feedback on this unique programs and its ability to impact our youth.

Political Campaigns – During the 2010 election cycle, IAPAC, the connected political committee of PAAIA, contributed over $70,000 to a bipartisan group of 13 members of Congress, all four congressional party committees, and 9 Iranian American candidates for public office. It also helped raise an additional $2 million for its endorsed candidates and party committees by encouraging Iranian Americans to directly contribute to their campaign committees.  2010 election highlights included, Farrah Douglas’ historic election to the City Council of Carlsbad, CA as well as Mark Ameli’s stunning victory in the June 8th California primary victory for Los Angeles County Superior Court.

None of the above achievements would have been possible without the support and generosity that PAAIA receives from its trustees, members,and volunteers nationwide.  In the 2.5 years since its public launch, PAAIA’s membership has grown to 5,000 members with eight local Chapters in cities with large concentrations of Iranian Americans throughout the country.  Among our cherished members are young volunteer groups called Nex/Gen who represent the youth and next generation of Iranian Americans.

PAAIA is proud of its many accomplishments and remains committed to fully empowering Iranian Americans by further building our community, our youth, and our voice.  Such undertakings benefit all Iranian Americans and are deserving of YOUR continued support and involvement.

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