By Leyla Serway

Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) was pleased to present the Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora the weekend of April 4-5, 2009 in Berkeley, California. The conference brought together scholars, students, journalists, activists, and a number of other leaders from across the globe for an engaging weekend of education and networking.

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. Prior to the Fourth International Conference this April, IAAB proudly hosted its first conference in 2004 at Wellesley College in Boston, Massachusetts, the second in 2005 at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the third at New York University in 2007.

The fourth installment of the bi-annual conference, IAAB’s first West Coast event, was hosted by the Iranian Student Alliance in America (ISAA) at the University of California, Berkeley, and brought together an impressive number of speakers, panelists and over 200 attendees. The panels, thoughtfully crafted from over 80 submitted abstracts, varied among topics of race and ethnic identity, culture, tradition, global perspectives, expression through media, and more. Attendees heard from prominent members of the Iranian-American community in a Roundtable Discussion, and also attended workshops led by various speakers from organizations such as PAAIA, NIAC, PARSA, and Amnesty International.

Staying true to its mission of empowering and connecting Iranians and ultimately promoting Iranian culture in all its forms, IAAB partnered with Shabeh Jomeh in presenting a Networking Social on Saturday evening, April 4, bringing another dimension to connecting Iranians at the conference. Additionally, IAAB proudly presented Fared Shafinury & Tehranosaurus as well as Sholi – two young, distinct and extremely talented up-and-coming musical ensembles. IAAB consistently aims to feature new Iranian talent in the “live performance” portion of the International Conference. From Haale in 2004, to Maz Jobrani in 2005, to Hypernova and the Abjeez in 2007 – all of the talents showcased at past conferences have gone on to do amazing things and achieve greater levels of recognition in the Iranian diaspora community.

IAAB’s Fourth International Conference was made possible with the support of several organizations, including Iranian Student Alliance in America (ISAA); Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA); Iranian American Bar Assocation (IABA); PARSA Foundation; Shabeh Jomeh; Amnesty International; the Berkeley Persian Center; Javanaan Magazine; and the many individuals and conference attendees who supported IAAB and the Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora.

For more information regarding the upcoming and previous conferences, please visit: iranianalliances.org/conference.

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