PAAIA’s Washington, D.C. Chapter is pleased to have brought the PAAIA signature event,Passing the Torch of Success, to Washington D.C. On Sunday, September 18, 2011, a group of highly accomplished Iranian Americans shared their stories of success with the audience, hoping to inspire and empower the next generation of Iranian Americans.

This unique event attempts to educate, inspire, and empower attendees. By sharing their wisdom, the honorees educated the audience, especially, the younger generation of Iranian Americans about the paths that they can pursue to obtain professional success in various fields and disciplines.  These stories are certain to inspire the audience as they consider their own professional choices.  Education and inspiration ultimately leads to empowerment – the ability to understand our own abilities and value and how we can use both our internal and external resources to meet our professional and personal goals.

Passing the Torch of Success, Washington D.C. was held at the Lisner Auditorium in George Washington University from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Well-known Iranian American comedian, Maz Jobrani, once again joined with Rudi Bakhtiar, former CNN anchor, to host this event, honoring the following Iranian Americans:

  • Christiane Amanpour – Anchor of ABC News’ This Week and Former Chief International Correspondent at CNN
  • Anousheh Ansari – First Female Private Space Explorer & First Space Ambassador, Serial entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Prodea Systems
  • Ramin Asgard – Director, Voice of America – Persian, Former Advisor to US Central Command, Former Director, Iran Regional Presence Office in Dubai
  • Nazie Eftekhari – Founder, Chair & CEO, HealthEZ, Inc.
  • Nariman Farvardin – President, Stevens Institute of Technology, Formerly Senior VP for Academic Affairs & Provost, University of Maryland
  • Firouz Naderi – Director, for Solar System Exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) , Former Associate Director, NASA’s JPLFormer Mars Exploration Program Manager who headed the Program during the successful landing of the rovers on Mars
  • Vali Nasr – Author & Former Senior Advisor (on Middle East and South Asia Issues), Obama Administration and Professor of International Politics at Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Pardis Sabeti – Assistant Professor, Center for Systems Biology & Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Faryar Shirzad –  Managing Director, Goldman Sachs;  highest ranking Iranian-American to serve in the U.S. government; former Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs at the White House and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Administration of George W. Bush

The unprecedented format included individual and panel presentations as well as interviews with the honorees.



Passing the Torch of Success Washington DC Receives Rave Reviews!

Click here to read The Iranian Diaspora Comes of Age by Alidad Mafineza

Click here to read With Success, Iranian Americans Look to Serve by By Jeff Baron


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Speaker Comments:

Christiane Amanpour:

Dr. Nariman Farvardin:

Faryar Shirzad & Ramin Asgard:

Anousheh Ansari:

Maz Jobrani Opening Second Act:

Dr. Pardis Sabeti:

Dr. Vali Nasr:

Nazie Eftekhari & Firouz Naderi:

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