|On Thursday October 2nd and Sunday October 5th, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) held its first two event in Southern California-in Los Angeles and Orange County respectively-to introduce the organization to the Iranian American community in the area. The events drew more than 300 people who were eager to learn about the newly formed organization and it's goals to unite the community in order to improve our image in the media and increase our influence in the political arena.|
Each event began with Dr. Niaz Kasravi, PAAIA's Director of Community Relations, welcoming the audience, telling them about the importance of PAAIA and why she decided to join the organization. "Iranian Americans are one of the most successful diaspora communities in the U.S. But after 9/11 we realized that as a community, our image does not properly portray who we are, we don't have much influence on domestic policy matters that impact us...and that is because as a community we haven't yet united on a national scale around these and other issues that we have in common."
PAAIA's Director of Public Relations, Ms. Rudi Bakhtiar (former CNN anchor) spoke next about why she believes in the timeliness and importance of PAAIA and why she left a thriving career in media reporting and journalism to join the organization on a full-time basis. "It's time that we took proactive measures to make sure that Iranian Americans are portrayed accurately in the media, to our own community, and to the general public." Ms. Bakhtiar went on to present two mini-documentaries, which are part of a PAAIA series entitled Profiles of Iranian Americans, showcasing the lives of successful Iranian Americans.
Mr. Babak Hoghooghi, PAAIA's Executive Director, presented the audience with a full view of why PAAIA was created and how it's three-fold mission of Community Building, Image Building, and Influence Building, are mutually reinforcing and will ensure the success and longevity of the organization. "We are doing this to ensure that our children and our children's children have a voice with which to be influential in the media and in the U.S. political process and be able to give back to America as much as it has given us."
The highlight of the evening was Dr. Firouz Naderi, former head of NASA's Mars Exploration Program-and responsible for landing the two highly anticipated rovers Spirit and Opportunity-and currently the Associate Director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a member of the Board of Directors for PAAIA. Dr. Naderi, who is featured in the Profiles of Iranian Americans, stressed the importance of uniting around our commonalities as Iranian Americans. "None of us went to school to learn how to do community building, image building and influence building," Dr. Naderi stressed, and "if we don't do this for ourselves and our children, no one else will."
PAAIA received an overwhelmingly positive response and welcome form individuals and organizations in the Southern California area and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to build PAAIA for the Iranian American community at large.
In the coming week, PAAIA will be hosting a tent featuring "Who's Who in the Iranian American Community" at the Mehregan Festival in Orange County and we will be visiting San Diego to meet and greet the Iranian American community in that area. For those of you in Southern California, we invite you to come join us.
PAAIA is a 501(c)(4) "civic/social welfare organization" that is permitted by law to engage in issue advocacy and lobbying activities. As a social welfare organization, PAAIA can and should ideally have an affiliated political action committee to enhance its political influence building activities. The affiliated PAC will allow the organization to get directly involved in elections at the state and national levels by providing contributions to candidates running for public office.
... Payvand News - 10/11/08 ... --