On March 15, 2017, seven prominent Iranian American organizations from the Washington, D.C.area came together to co-host the third annual community-wide Nowruz (Iranian new year and beginning of spring) reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
In alphabetical order, the organizations hosting the Nowruz reception were:
Among dignitaries in attendance were Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ms. Mariela Melero, Associate Director of the of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security, as well Canadian Member of Parliament Ali Ehsassi and former CNN Sr. VP. Parisa Khosravi. Over 300 guests attended the event.
Dr. Alidad Mafinezam, the event's co-organizer and emcee stressed that “Nowruz is an ancient, festive, ecumenical, and distinctly Iranian celebration.” “It is also very much an American celebration, not only for the millions of people who celebrate it here, but also because Nowruz is all about renewal, rejuvenation, and new beginnings, all of which are key defining features of American culture.”
“I want to thank the Iranian-American community for your many contributions to our country in every field of endeavor,” said Senator Van Hollen, “from business to the arts to academia, in every field, including inputs in public policy and the sciences, your efforts have strengthened our country. This is a country that that is stronger because of the contributions of people who have come here from all over the world."
Dr. Houri Khalilian, who introduced Van Hollen, highlighted the Senator's pioneering outreach to immigrant communities and people of all backgrounds.
“I want to congratulate all the different groups who were part of making tonight possible,” Van Hollen added. “I believe that this unity brings strength. I know that different groups have different missions, but by uniting together this evening to celebrate Nowruz you are making a statement about how important it is for all of us to work together in these turbulent times.”
“Iranian Americans are icons of achievement in the labor force,” said Ms. Mariela Melero of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “More than eighty percent hold positions in management, science, the arts, and other white collar occupations. Roughly sixty percent of Iranian men and women hold management positions, compared to the national average of about forty seven percent for men and fifty two percent for women. In other words, Iranian American women in management exceed the national average for women by eight points.”