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Persian culture & Non-Persian Contributors

By: Marjan Abdi, PhD


As a Persian living in Diaspora, I have always felt responsible to show a fair portrait of my land, history and culture. For this very reason, with the help of friends and family, I managed to gather some books and documents as well as website addresses all equipping me with enough sources to play my part in this very corner of the world.


I have the privilege of sharing my life with a man with same vision, a man whose passion is nothing but preserving culture and helping all true contributors to Persian art and culture to be recognized and valued internationally. The result of this marriage of passions is the creation of WAALM – Persian Golden Lioness Awards® to not only acknowledge the efforts of Persians, but also non-Persians whose hearts are also beating for the same purpose, who have played a role in making people of other nations acquainted with our cultural foundation.


One of those recent non-Persians who has been inspired by visiting Takht-e-Jamshid and has eventually written his first children’s book is Howard Lee, the Award Winner Author of Jamshid and the Lost Mountain of Light©: 


Howard Lee ©WAALM


I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Lee and his lovely wife Dr. Mozhgan Hossieni-Nia at the 2nd Annual Persian Golden Lioness Awards® where he was awarded for his book in Budapest in October 2006. Both Dr. Dorbayani and I found him a true gentleman, a keen observer, and a genuine admirer of our very Persian Foundation.


Mr. Lee, was the first to receive the award at the 2nd Annual Persian Golden Lioness Awards® who delivered a beautiful message to the Academy and his audience. Here is part of his speech:


"I am so pleased that my book was well received by Persians - it is perhaps risky for someone from one culture to create within the heritage of another, but I do believe that there is so much in Persian culture, both old and new, to inspire new art.

When I first saw ‘Takht-e-Jamshid’ I was completely overwhelmed by the size of the buildings, their scale, their sophistication, and I’m marveled at the civilization that produced such splendor two and a half millennia ago. But as I did the research for my book, I came to realize that the palaces, the sculptures, the roads, the canals, even the armies were not what made the Achaemenid Persians great. Those were just by-products. What really made them great were their core values. They up-held truth, they lived by the rule of law, and they promoted tolerance. It seems to me that those Persian values are universal civilized values that are expressed in the ideals of secular democracy and also in the Islamic ideals of compassion, mercy, and justice. For where is compassion without tolerance? Where is justice without truth?

Looking at this beautiful statuette, it’s seems ironic that this beast, a mythical beast of that, represents human creativity so well. To me this award stands for the triumph of individual expression over politics, over background, over history, over geography, over prejudice. To me, it expresses just how heritage enriches us, every single one of us, and that’s why I am humbled to receive this award."          


We shall all recognise the effort of non-Persian contributors to our culture more than ever, and treasure people like Howard Lee for their outstanding dedication.


His book is a great addition to every library, especially ours, and we take pride in the fabulous story he has created: the story of ‘Jamshid’, a brave boy who helps to save an Empire with the help of ‘Ghoreed’ a legendary griffin. A must-read for every Persian.


WAALM – Persian Golden Lioness Awards®:

Jamshid and the Lost Mountain of Light©:

View Mr. Lees' Biography here



... Payvand News - 12/26/06 ... --

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