A traditional Haft Sin table celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is seen set Wednesday, March 19, 2008, in the State Dining Room of the White House. Nowruz is, in Persian and some other cultures, including Kurdish culture, a family-oriented holiday celebrating the New Year and the coming of spring. The Haft Sin table has seven items symbolizing new life, joy, love, beauty and health, sunrise, patience and garlic to ward off evil. White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Related Press Release
New York, NY (18 March 2008) - The Fertility Research Foundation announced today that its Executive Director, Masood Khatamee, M.D., has been invited to a reception at the White House in honor of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The reception will be held on Wednesday, March 19th and is to be hosted by First Lady of the United States Laura Bush. The reception represents the culmination of years of lobbying efforts by many prominent members of the Iranian-American community, including Dr. Khatamee who played a crucial role in its fruition.
This is the fifth year that Dr. Khatamee has corresponded with the White House seeking acknowledgement of the seminal contributions of the Iranian-American community with a reception honoring the Persian New Year. The White House has always responded with a proclamation honoring Nowruz, which Dr. Khatamee has recited at various celebrations he has organized and disseminated it through media throughout the years in the tri-state area. This is the first year, however, that his suggestion of a White House reception has been accepted.
"I am honored by the recognition of the Iranian-American community that is embodied in this event," says Khatamee. "To be invited into the people's House by the President, and hosted by the First Lady at a reception, is honor to cherish for life.
Nowruz is a celebration that commemorates the Iranian calendar and celebrates the spring vernal equinox. The festival grew out of the Zoroastrian "monotheistic" religion, and is celebrated by diverse peoples, including the Persians, Kurds, Afghans, Indians and Turks. "Through all of the cultures and traditions surrounding this celebration there runs a consistent message; one of hope, renewal and love," says Khatamee. "I cannot imagine a time when that message is of more importance to Americans of every ethnic background."
Masood Khatamee, MD, FACOG, is the Executive Director of the Fertility Research Foundation and a Professor at the NYU School of Medicine. He was born in Shiraz, Iran, and received his initial medical training at the Shiraz University School of Medicine. He moved to the United States in 1970 and took up a position as attending physician at Bellevue Hospital in New York. His role at the FRF involves innovation and advocacy around the treatment and prevention of infertility. His private practice is located on Park Avenue in New York.
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