Bookmark and Share

Arman Carter crowned as Ta'arof King 2008


By Sorayya Aminian, Camp Ayandeh 2008, IAAB

The day began with an informative speech given by guest speaker Alex Patico at Cannon Chapel, where the Camp Ayandeh group spends the majority of the day. Alex differentiated between the norms of different cultures, focusing mainly on Iran and the United States.  Campers learned about how we can be perceived as positive in our culture, while being seen  as offensive in another.

campers playing a fun game

After listening to Alex's presentation, the campers went on to learn about different aspects of the Persian culture through cultural booths.  These booths addressed the topics of Iranian geography, religion, poetry, music, youth life and language. For example, the cultural booth "Music," led by counselors Kayvan Farchadi and Taimoor Zaidi, focused on the classical monophonic and polyphonic styles of music. Campers listened to two different styles of music; one influenced by western culture, the other by a classical Iranian piece, and had a chance to dig deeper into the music and begin to recognize and appreciate music based on its intrinsic qualities.

Courtesy Around the Campfire (by Tara Bahrampour Washington Post)
At Camp Ayandeh 2007 in Fairfax County, Rassah Ostadhossaini and project manager Nasim Hurd take part in a competition of ta'arof, a Persian custom of insisting one is unworthy. (photos by Carol Guzy)

Then, the campers migrated outdoors for the annual Ta'arof Tournament!  Now in its third year, the Ta'arof Tournament is largely considered one of the highlights of the week, and the campers eagerly gathered round and elected representatives of their counselor groups to compete against eachother for the Ta'arof crown. The purpose of this exercise is both to have fun, and to test campers' skills at the art of this classic Persian etiquette, where there is an insistence of offering gifts to the "acquaintance" (another camper).  Amidst the campers cheers and screams of encouragement, rising junior Arman Carter pulled through with a victory and was crowned Ta'arof King 2008 by 2007's Ta'arof Queen, Rassah Ostadhosseini.

After dinner, campers continued the day with a celebration of Shabe Yalda, simulating the longest night of the year.  After learning about the cultural significance of Shabe Yalda, and enjoying beautiful musical performances by several of Camp Ayandeh's very own campers, everyone returned to the dorms to find music blaring and an empty lobby, just waiting for campers to show off their dance moves!

Read more on Camp Ayandeh's blog.

About Camp Ayandeh: IAAB's third annual Iranian-American Camp for rising high school sophomores to graduating high school seniors, is being held June 22-28, 2008 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Far from being simply a camp of leisure and recreation, Camp Ayandeh creates a positive, inclusive environment in which each camper has the opportunity to grow and develop. The camp curriculum is composed of challenging and interactive programs in community building, with a focus on exploring Iranian cultural heritage and Iranian-American identity.

Iranian Alliances Across Borders
(IAAB) is a volunteer organization with a young dedicated staff spread across the United States, Europe and Iran. Established in 2003 by students at Wellesley College and Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, Iranian Alliances Across Borders is a 501c3 non-profit, non-political, and non-religious organization that addresses issues of the Iranian diaspora by facilitating community building, developing ways to better understand what it means to be part of a diaspora community, and helping members of the Iranian diaspora community enhance connections with their new communities as well as maintain connections with their root community.

© Copyright 2008 (All Rights Reserved)