WASHINGTON, Sept 25, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- - Leading voices to lend influence and guidance to organization's continued commitment to advancing interests of Iranian-American community -
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the largest grassroots organization in the U.S. working to advance the interests of the Iranian-American community, today unveiled a new advisory board consisting of 16 highly influential professionals in the academic, policy and legal, diplomatic and entertainment fields. Hand selected for their extraordinary ability and achievements, each individual brings a unique voice and expertise essential to guiding NIAC's mission to build influence and institutions that will continue to transform the Iranian-American community to one that is vibrant and politically active.
"We are delightful to have such an impressive and high-profile group of individuals serve on our newly formed advisory board," said Reza Firouzbakht, Chairman of NIAC's Board of Directors. "With their guidance and support, NIAC has a tremendously solid and prevailing platform to continue elevating the voice of Iranian Americans and inform policy that advances and best serves the interests of America."
Sharing a common sense of civic responsibility and desire to build bridges of friendship between the Iranian and U.S. people, members of the newly formed advisory board will help shape NIAC's long-term vision at a very critical time for the Iranian-American community, and America as a whole.
Members of the new Advisory Board include:
-- The Honorable Thomas Pickering, former Undersecretary of State, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jordan, Israel, India, Nigeria and El Salvador and leading voice on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East
-- John Libert, Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy, expert on Iran's national poet - Hafez, and former Peace Corp volunteer in Iran
-- Wayne Gilchrest, Republican Congressman from Maryland, a strong champion of diplomacy and co-founder of the Dialogue Caucus
-- Cyrus Mehri, one of America's foremost trial lawyers and named finalist for "Trial Lawyer of the Year" in 1997
-- Professor R.K. Ramazani, recognized as "the Dean of Iranian Foreign Policy Studies in the U.S." and founder of Middle East Studies at the University of Virginia
-- Professor Habib Ladjevardi, director of the Iranian Oral History Project at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies
-- Professor Ahmad Karmimi-Hakkak, founding director of the Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland and author of 19 books and over one hundred major scholarly articles
-- Reza Aslan, internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, author of "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam," fellow at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy and Middle East analyst for CBS News
-- Maz Jobrani, renowned actor and comedian, and member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour; featured on CNN, CBS, PBS and NPR and highlighted in Time, Newsweek, New York Times, L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal; hailed by L.A. Weekly as "devilishly funny" and "extraordinary"
-- Mehrzad Boroujerdi, founding director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program and co-director of the Religion, Media and International Relations Program at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
-- Houchang Chehabi, author of "Iranian Politics and Religions Modernism: The Liberation Movement in Iran under Shah and Khomeini" and "Sultanistic Regimes", and professor of international relations and history at Boston University
-- Juan Cole, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Michigan and author of "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East"; extensive writer on the Shi'ite movements in the Middle East
-- Farideh Farhi, affiliate graduate faculty at University of Hawai'i at Manoa and recent Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
-- Ahmad Sahri, professor of sociology and anthropology and James P. Gorter Chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College, and author of more than one hundred articles in the areas of sociology of religion, social interaction and political sociology
-- The Honorable Jim Moody, former House Representative from Wisconsin serving on Ways and Means and Public Works Committees, former professor of economics at University of Wisconsin, and currently adjunct professor of economics at University of Maryland; also served as CARE representative in Iran
-- Alex Patico, co-founder of NIAC and member of board of directors since 2002; former Peace Corps volunteer in Iran and currently Secretary for North America of the Orthodox peach Fellowship
"NIAC makes sure that the voice of Iranian Americans is heard in Washington, D.C.," said former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering as he explained his decision to join the advisory board.
"As an American-Iranian scholar who has lived in America for more than half a century I saw the need for an organization in the United States that could represent the interests of the Iranian-American community objectively and constructively," said Professor R.K. Ramazani of the University of Virginia. "The National Iranian American Council does exactly that."
"There is no other Iranian-American organization with the reach and influence in the halls of power that NIAC has," said Reza Aslan, internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions and Middle East Analyst for CBS News.
For more quotes and to learn more about NIAC'S Board of Advisors, please visit our website at:
NIAC is a Washington, DC-based 501 c(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. NIAC is funded through donations from the Iranian-American community as well as grants from the Pluralism Fund, the Kenbe Foundation, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, among others. For more information about the organization, please visit www.niacouncil.org, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a fax to (202) 386-6409.