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Jewel of Persia: A New Cultural Project in California

By Pejman Akbarzadeh (Source: CHN)
"Jewel of Persia" is a project undertaken by a group of Persian-Americans committed to introducing and expanding upon the rich Persian culture through the design, construction, and development of a cultural center in Southern California - home to the largest concentration of Persian (Iranian) expatriates.

The Jewel of Persia Cultural Center is envisioned to be a multifunctional facility that will house both business and cultural activities within architecturally cohesive elements representing the heritage, ideals, and philosophy of the Persian culture. The Center will be designed to be financially self-sufficient where the revenues from the business establishments will financially support the Center's operation and cultural activities.

This project and effort was formally initiated in 2002 with the formation of Volunteer Board of Directors and the creation of the Jewel of Persia as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. This Board which consists of seven Persian-American professionals (refer to for information on the Board members) is augmented by an Advisory Board and a group of volunteers. The focus of this group in 2002 and 2003 was the completion of a detailed Business & Strategic Plan, assembly of professionals into committees that will be able to contribute to the Jewel of Persia through their expertise and the completion of the conceptual design for the Center. These goals have all been achieved.

The Business Plan which includes project background, conceptual design elements, financial analyses, project schedule, marketing tools, organization and detailed economic impact study has been finalized and reviewed by business and academic experts and is in the final print phase. The project cost inclusive of land acquisition and construction is estimated at $32.0M. The funding sources for the project are $2.9M from direct fundraising, $6.5M from sales of walk of fame tiles, $2.65M from sponsorship and product branding, $2.05 M from advanced space leasing and $2.3M from in kind donation of Architectural and Engineering services. The balance of $15.6M will be financed. Jewel of Persia's annual revenue is estimated at $3.8M in the first year of operation.

The Center will be an 120,000 sq. ft. complex built on a 12-acre land parcel encompassing outdoor and indoor amphitheatres, multi-purpose rooms, a business center, restaurants, a library/bookstore, an art and music center, senior citizen and daycare centers, open recreational space and cultural components. Prominent Persian-American architects, engineers, and other business professionals have been contributing to the conceptual design process. The construction is planned to begin in 2006 with completion in the first quarter of 2007. The Center amenities are as follows:

• Art Exhibits from a variety of talent artist and their exceptional work
• Museum
• Theatrical and Traditional plays (indoor and outdoor settings)
• Film Festivals from around the world
• Graduation Celebrations
• Music and Film Award Celebrations
• Traditional Cultural Celebration such as Nowrouz, Mehregan and Shab-e-Yalda (Yalda Night) as well as private ceremonies.
• Concerts & Dances
• Persian Language and Art Center for children and adults
• Conference Center
• Live Televised Entertainment on the outdoor large screen. ( i.e. Soccer Games and Music Videos)
• Media (newspaper, books, magazines from around the world and postings of current events)
• Lectures & Seminars on current affairs affecting the community
• Exposure of Cultural Values to the new generation
• Social Encounters in a safe and intellectual environment
• Community Support & Programs such as:
- Day Care
- Youth
- Senior Citizen
• Promoting multi-cultural activities

In January of 2004, Jewel of Persia initiated several parallel efforts to prepare for the construction of the Center in 2006. Project funding through raising of seed money, identification of available land parcels, communication with and presentation to decision makers and stakeholders in communities of interest, establishing relationships with financial institutions, a series of presentations to the public through various media channels, development of an aggressive marketing process and acquiring the land and funding necessary for the Center's development are among the most significant activities to be undertaken in 2004 and 2005.

These efforts will be spearheaded through fundraising events including Radio & TV appearances, Persian Festival of Autumn, and others. These events will be an opportunity for the Persian-Americans and other interested communities to be introduced to the Jewel of Persia and contribute to its cause.

- Persian translation of above article has been published in the daily "Shargh" in Tehran:
About the author: Pejman Akbarzadeh is a 26-year old pianist and writer in Tehran. He is a member of "Artists Without Frontiers" ( ) and representative of "Persian Gulf Online Organization" ( in Persia (Iran). His book about 20th century Persian (Iranian) Musicians was cited as "an honor to Persian musicological circles" in the Maryland-based "Iranian Musicology Quarterly".

... Payvand News - 6/13/06 ... --

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