This summer, Neda Maghbouleh, a Ph.D candidate at the at , will be conducting research on
how IAAB's Camp Ayandeh shapes
the social and cultural identities of its participants.
"There is something magical that happens at camp and I want to uncover more about the social processes that help create this space," shares Ms. Maghbouleh.
Ms. Maghbouleh, who grew up in a tight-knit Iranian community in
Portland, Oregon, was introduced to IAAB when she was invited to be a speaker at
IAAB's Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora at University
of California, Berkeley, in 2009.
At the conference, Ms. Maghbouleh presented her findings on
diasporic and inherited nostalgia, after conducting a study focused on famous
Iranian pop singer Googoosh,
and the reactions of members of UCSB's Persian Student
Group to her music.
"I can't overstate what a profound moment IAAB's 2009 Conference was for my development as a scholar," Ms. Maghbouleh exclaims. "It was an absolute honor to exchange ideas with the speakers and attendees."
Ms. Maghbouleh further fostered her relationship with IAAB by volunteering as a counselor at Camp Ayandeh in 2009. Of her week at camp, she says, "The campers humbled me every day with their wit and generosity of spirit. They were so open to the experience. Similarly, the counselors and staff were incredibly supportive of one another and encouraging of the campers."
As a counselor, she worked as a leader amongst her assigned group of students, and served as a friend, supporter, and role model to all who attended. She described the camp curriculum, which is designed to combine activities concerning Iranian culture, personal identity, and leadership skills, as "truly impressive".
"Camp Ayandeh is such a unique and rare space, not only for our community but among other ethnic communities in the U.S. as well," says Ms. Maghbouleh, explaining why she chose Camp Ayandeh for her research. "By speaking with campers and their families directly, I'll learn much more about what happens at camp than by simply relying on my own experience. I expect to be surprised by the variety and diversity of meanings camp has for all these individuals."
This year, upon receiving their camp packets, campers and their families will also receive a consent form from her, explaining her project in detail, including the ways in which she will uphold participant confidentiality and the benefits that participating in her research will bring to individuals and the Iranian-American community.
"I would be very grateful if campers and their families would review these materials, be in touch with any questions they might have, and to participate with me in this research endeavor!"
Camp Ayandeh 2010 will be held at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, .
To learn how to contact Neda Maghbouleh, please email
For complete coverage of Camp Ayandeh, including blogs, podcasts, videos and pictures, please visit iranianalliances.org/camp.
About Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) - IAAB is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit volunteer organization with a young, dedicated staff spread across the United States, Europe and Iran. The mission of the organization is to address issues of the Iranian diaspora community while raising awareness of the Iranian community, promoting leadership, and connecting Iranians across borders. For more information about IAAB, please visit www.iranianalliances.org.
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