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Camp Ayandeh, Day 2: Community, Identity, and Diaspora

By - Arian Jadbabaie,  Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB)

Today's theme for Camp was identity and community-campers essentially went through various activities trying to tie back the day's events to these vital themes. The day started with a team building activity where campers worked toward a shared goal together but couldn't communicate with words.

Playing human knot

Afterwards, campers had lunch, and then proceeded to their first workshop of the day about the Iranian diaspora. Normally, discussions of diaspora at Ayandeh involve with questions such as what it means to be Iranian, or what are various reasons why Iranians have dispersed from Iran. This year, in addition to covering these questions, facilitators framed the discussion of diaspora in a global context. For the first time in Camp's history, we have both campers and staff that identify as Iranian, but hail from countries other than the US and Iran, and the workshop incorporated this feature of our community. Effectively, campers explored a more global idea of community and diaspora.

Campers and staff alike got together with maps of the world, and traced lines from Iran to various countries (and back to Iran!) representing the travels of various friends and family.

Everyone was, essentially, outlining the journeys of immigrants and emigrants that compromise the Iranian diaspora. Once all was said and done, we sat back and looked at the patterns that emerged on the maps-what countries seemed to receive most immigrants from Iran? Which countries were people less likely to move to? Why? When in time did various movements to and from Iran occur?

Kayvan and Kayvon jamming out

The latter part of the day was spent preparing for a colorful array of team chants from the different counselor groups that were presented for all to see. The chants always build team spirit and this year we were blown away by the sheer level of creativity intertwined into every unique chant. Afterwards, campers and red shirts got together for a "jam session", with all sorts of music and dancing. We're lucky to have a community of Iranian Americans here who are not only making this an amazing camp, but are also more than willing to share their musical talents with everyone else. There were over 10 performers (both campers and counselors) and it was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The music and the singing is as much part of the Ayandeh experience as any workshop!


Keep up with Ayandeh and Javan on IAAB Blog: IAABlog (

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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

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