May 14 to July 10
the Woodrow Wilson Center
in Washington DC
With 70 percent of its people under 30 years old, Iran
is one of the youngest societies on earth. At the same time, Tehran
is at the receiving end of a media campaign that has created an international
impression of the country and its people that is far removed from reality.
For three years I lived and traveled in Iran, and documented the
social worlds that define this up-and-coming generation of Iranians. During this
time, I realized they are proving one of the most electrifying facilitators of
change in the country's recent history.
But the third generation's deeds are woefully under-reported by
Western journalists who lack the time and space in their media coupled with a
lack of access to properly chronicle this generation's development.
From experimenting with new art and music forms to pushing for
government reform, often against extraordinary and repressive odds, they are
fully participating in the maturing of an Islamic Republic brought about by
This exhibition at the
Woodrow Wilson Center
in Washington DC aims to take the
focus off Iran's politicians and realign it squarely on its
people. It will celebrate the existence of Iran's third
generation of the Revolution and explore its significance.
International policymakers seeking to understand Iran's
rising influence can ill afford to ignore a youth factor that already forms a
vast demographic majority in today's Iran.
It is a generation whose parents redrew the political landscape of
the region when they deposed the Shah in 1979 and established an Islamic
theocracy in his place. This generation's upbringing was defined by the
eight-year Iran-Iraq War, economic embargo, and the ongoing confrontation with
Iason Athanasiadis Bio:
Writer, photographer and television producer, Iason Athanasiadis has been
covering the Middle East, Central Asia and the
southeast Mediterranean since 1999. He earned degrees in Arabic
and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University (BA) as well as Persian
and Contemporary Iranian Studies at Tehran's School of
International Studies (MA).
Athanasiadis lived in Iran from 2004-2007, covering conflicts in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Pakistan and Lebanon for the international media including the Times, the
Christian Science Monitor, American Prospect, British Journalism Review and the
South China Morning Post. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq
from Qatar for al-Jazeera, the 2004 Athens Olympics for BBC World
and the 2006 Israeli-Hizbullah war in Lebanon as a freelancer. At
the same time, his photography has been featured in solo exhibitions in
Germany, Greece and Iran, and his work
published in Der Spiegel and the Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers and
A native of Greece, Athanasiadis is currently a Fellow at the
Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
He is an Aristotle Onassis Foundation scholar.