March 27: The Policy Symposium and Norouz Reception (25 March) was a great success. Over 150 participants from the United States and Iran came together to discuss the US-Iran relationship. The Norouz reception helped to bring a better understanding of Persian culture, cuisine and art to everyone, especially to the Capitol Hill participants. The AIC would like to thank everyone for helping make the debates informative and lively as well as the Norouz celebration full of hope for a "new day." (The next AIC event is already in preliminary planning stages.)
|The Policy Symposium began when Mr. Roger Cohen of the New York Times spoke about the importance of each person developing an "updated" understanding of the Iranian nation, its peoples and its potential. Mr. Cohen demonstrated an eloquence, sophistication, and thoughtfulness in speaking on par with that of his writing. Although he noted his belief that Iran had human rights issues which needed to be addressed, such as with the Bahai's, he also noted that comparisons with Nazi Germany were not only off the mark, but harmful, counterproductive and indeed dishonoring. He explained that such statements "dishonored" the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and that Iran is a far more complex, divided and nuanced power than is often portrayed.|
|Ambassador James Dobbins (Rand Corporation) echoed many of these same points. His speech was very well received by the audience, not only due to his tremendous understanding of the history and politics of the Middle East, especially Afghanistan, but also because of his great intelligence, charm and wit. Ambassador Dobbins discussed an example of how useful Iran had been in the construction of the government in Afghanistan after the 2001 US invasion. Ambassador Dobbins noted that in his many dealings with diplomats from countries throughout the world, Iranian diplomats were among the very finest and sophisticated.|
The Norouz Reception was the first Norouz celebration ever to be held on Capitol Hill. Norouz means "new day" and marks the Spring Equinox and start of the Persian New Year (March 21st). It is an occasion to celebrate renewal and reunion. Norouz is widely celebrated by Iranians of all ideological and religious persuasions including Muslims, Jews, Christians and Baha'is. Norouz is rooted in the traditions of Zoroastrian belief system, the pre-Islamic religion of the Iranian people, and it has been celebrated by Iranians and all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia for over 3000 years. Dr. Masood Khatamee spoke on the history and meaning of Norouz. Norouz art was presented by Ms. Laurie Blum. Ms. Blum discussed her many trips to Iran as well as her hopes that art might help to bridge the distance between the two countries and their peoples.
About AIC: The mission of the AIC provides for a sustainable dialogue and a more comprehensive understanding of US-Iran relations. The AIC organizes and promotes the Iranian-American community and encourages its participation in the efforts for a more democratic, transparent, mutually respectful, and sustainable relationship between the two countries. The AIC also promotes the conditions for the development of Iran through increased national dialogue, charitable works, and international exchange. (read more)
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