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Shahri Estakhry, KPBS-Union Bank Honoree

By Jamile Palizban, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) Chapter Leader, San Diego

Shahri Estakhry

It is with great pride and joy that I share with you that one of our own Iranian gems, Shahri Estakhry, has been chosen as a local community hero by San Diego's public radio/TV KPBS and the Union Bank. Shahri is the founder of the Iranian School of San Diego, which helps Iranian-American youth be proud of their heritage by educating them about Iranian culture and the Persian language.  Recognizing Shahri as a Women's History Month honoree is very well deserved given her impressive contribution to the local Iranian community and San Diegans in general.  For additional information on the cultural diversity partnership and a link to the KPBS page please click here and look for her down the page.

For more than 20 years, Shahri Estakhry has been a driving force behind several initiatives in San Diego and beyond. These range from her founding membership of a number of non-profit organizations to civic activism.  She initiated a fundraising partnership between the San Diego Museum of Art and the Persian Cultural Center that not only restored and put a number of Persian tiles on display, but that resulted in the creation of a permanent "Arts of Persia" section within the Museum's Asian Gallery.

Shahri Estakhry's fundraising efforts in October 2004 led to the construction of the House of Iran's $350,000 cottage in San Diego's Balboa Park.  The cottage was donated to the City of San Diego as a gift from the Iranian-American community and is part of the House of Pacific Relations.  Shahri Estakhry also served on the Board of Directors of the House of Iran - House of Pacific Relations.

This past year, Shahri Estakhry spearheaded a successful international online petition campaign to include Nowruz on the United Nations' official calendar.  Over 600,000 signatures were collected in the request submitted to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, and as a result, with the participation of eight nations, March 21 was named the International Day of Nowruz by the UN on March 15, 2010.

As leaders in the community, both KPBS and Union Bank are committed to recognizing cultural diversity. The vision of this longstanding partnership is to inspire and motivate employers and employees as well as the broader citizenry, to explore, respect and celebrate diversity throughout our local community.

For the past 13 years, KPBS and Union Bank have celebrated Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. In 2010 an expanded Cultural Diversity partnership is recognizing and pay tribute to 12 San Diegans - local community heroes - who are making a difference by improving their workplace, profession, neighborhood, community, region and the world. Two honorees will be chosen for each of the following Heritage Months: Black History Month-February, Women's History Month-March, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month-May, Jewish Heritage Month-May, Hispanic Heritage Month-September and Native American Heritage Month-November

I am proud to have known Shahri and call her my friend.

... Payvand News - 04/05/10 ... --

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