PAAIA's Founding, Logo, and History | About PAAIA

Explanation Behind Our Logo:

PAAIA, pronounced “pâ-yâ,” means “enduring” in Persian.  The flame of our logo is actually the Persian spelling of PAAIA and it represents the many positive aspects of our Iranian heritage that have endured over millennia.  The three dots under the flame represent our core missions of education, advocacy, and leadership.

Our Founding:

In November 2006, approximately 70 Iranian Americans from across the U.S. gathered in New York City. Despite significant individual achievement in all aspects of American life, there was a consensus among the group that Iranian Americans had failed to come together as a community to promote their image, support their advancement in public affairs, and present an effective national voice.

Together, the group formed a national organization dedicated to representing and advancing the interests of the Iranian American community. Thus, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), was born in 2007 as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian, national membership organization together with IA-100, an affiliated 501(c)(3).

PAAIA Today:

PAAIA has since grown to become the leading voice of the Iranian American community, representing the interests of Iranian Americans at all levels.

Initially, PAAIA was conceived with the purpose of serving three primary objectives: Community Building, Image Building, and Influence Building. Today, PAAIA has capitalized on the progress it has made over the last decade, refining its mission in support of three new objectives: Education, Advocacy, and Leadership.

Educate: The leading source of credible information about the Iranian American community, PAAIA serves as an educator for U.S. policymakers and the American public by portraying an accurate image of the Iranian American community.

Annually, PAAIA conducts a national public opinion survey of Iranian Americans, the only scientific survey of its kind, which is distributed to the media, the public, and every member of Congress. An integral component of better understanding the Iranian American community, the surveys allow the Iranian American community to have its voice heard through the on-going collection of accurate scientific data.

In 2017, PAAIA launched a digital campaign to educate policymakers by highlighting our community’s voices. Designed to proactively promote the image and build the profiles of Iranian Americans on a national scale, the campaign projects a truthful, positive image of our community as one of the most successful, well-assimilated diaspora communities in the country.

Advocate: Headquartered in Washington, DC, PAAIA has ramped up its advocacy efforts to effectively take a stand on issues important to the Iranian American community. Recently, PAAIA has opposed every iteration of President Trump’s Travel Ban, supported the Iran Nuclear Deal, and helped elect Iranian American candidates running for political office.

PAAIA’s affiliated PAC, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), annually contributes over $300,000 to a bipartisan group of candidates for local, state, and federal offices, all four congressional party committees, as well as Iranian American candidates for public office. It has also helped raise an additional $3.7 million for endorsed candidates.

Lead: Since its inception, PAAIA has become the leading Iranian American organization which provides opportunities for leadership for our next generation. Many of PAAIA’s programs, like the Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP), the Ansari Fellowship Program, and PAAIA’s Iranian American Emerging Leaders Program, have benefitted hundreds of Iranian American youth, casting them in roles which strengthen the connection between members of Congress and their Iranian American constituents – a bridge critical to advancing more informed policy outcomes.

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