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The 100 Most Influential Iranian-Americans

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Abaas Alavi

Currently serving as the Director of Research Education in the Department of Radiology and Professor of Radiology and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, Abaas Alavi is a  highly-respected scientist. He was the first to conduct human PET research using the radiotracer [18F]Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) on the brain and whole body. Abaas specializes in the field of molecular imaging, particularly the imaging modality of positron emission tomography.

Abbas Milani

Noted historian educated at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of California, Berkeley, Abbas Milani is serving as visiting professor of Political Science and director of the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University. He specializes in the fields of Political Science and Iranian Studies. He has also served as the the Chair of the Political Science Department at the Notre Dame de Namur University for 14 years.

Adrian Pasdar

Well-known actor and film director, Adrian Pasdar has lent his voice in many movies. He has been seen in TV shows like Mysterious Ways, Carlito’s Way, Near Dark, Profit, The Lying Game, and as Nathan Petrelli on Heroes. Adrian has been the voice for Iron Man in Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider-man. Adrian has directed “Cement” a feature film and has won the 2009 Academy Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

Afshin Ghotbi

Well-known football coach and manager, Afshin Ghotbi has managed many teams in his notable career that he began in 1981. He has received education at the University of California in Los Angeles earning a degree in B.S. Electrical Engineering and speaks fluent English, Farsi, and Spanish. Afshin has also played for the UCLA USA from 1981 to 1985 and Alitalia, Autobahn, Valley Eagles & Flyers USA from 1981 to 1991.

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

Specializing in contemporary Persian literature, Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak has had a long and distinguished career in the field with many of his books and articles being translated into various languages. He has served for 19 years at the University of Washington as Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Currently, Ahmad is working at the University of Maryland in the Roshan Center for Persian Studies as professor and founding director.

Alecko Eskandarian

A professional football player playing for his alma mater, the University of Virginia, Alecko Eskandarian went on to go pro winning many accolades. He has had a long career that ended in 2010 because of an injury after which he moved on to become a coach in February 2013. Alecko has trained the Cosmos B team as head coach and is now assistant soccer coach of the New York Cosmos.

Dr. Alex Mehr

After serving as an aerospace scientist at NASA for over 2 years, Dr. Alex Mehr went on to co-found Zoosk, the largest global online dating app. He worked as co-CEO and President at Zoosk before going on the establish Gear Zero with a partner. Dr. Alex invests in startups and is an entrepreneur himself acting as advisor to many companies. He has received education at the University of California, Berkeley – Walter A. Haas School of Business.

Ali Partovi

Educated at Harvard University, Ali Partovi is the initial investor and advisor to high-profile startups like Dropbox and Zappos, among others. He is the co-founder of and takes a keen interest in social media, education, public relations and marketing, and food and agricultural reforms.

Ali Rowghani

Currently partner at Y Combinator, Ali Rowghani has completed stints working as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Twitter over a period of more than four years. He has acquired his Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and Master of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ali Tabatabaee

Rap singer in the Rapcore, punk rock genre in the Zebrahead band, Ali Tabatabaee was a pre-med student at the UC Irvine with a major in biology. Although, he got acceptance into the University of Chicago Medical School, he opted to continue with his music career. Ali continues to create songs for his band which is very popular in Japan, and has managed to fight and beat Hodgkin’s disease working all the while.

Alireza Jafarzadeh

An expert on the Middle East, Alireza Jafarzadeh has written the book, The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis. He has been the chief congressional liaison and public spokesperson for the United States representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. In addition to being a FOX News Foreign Affairs Analyst, Alireza is president of Strategic Policy Consulting Inc.

Amin Abraham Paul Nikfar

A shot put star, Amin Abraham Paul Nikfar was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and has been a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. He achieved a personal best throw of 20.05 metres in Toronto in July 2011 which is also the present Iranian record. Amin won a gold in the sport in the 2004 Asian Indoor Championships.

Amir Ashkenazi

Holder of various patents in the technology sphere, Amir Ashkenazi is the founder and CTO of that was later acquired by eBay. He has also worked as the VP at eBay. Amir has founded and worked as CEO for companies like and Recruiter.AI. was acquired by AOL Platforms and for close to a year, Amir has served as President at AOL.

Amir Mokri

Educated at Emerson College, Amir Mokri is a well-known cinematographer and has worked on movies such as Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Lord of War, Man of Steel, Good Kill, Pixels, and Birth of the Dragon. Amir has been nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography.

Amir Naderi

Winner of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, Roberto Rossellini Critics Prize,  and nominated for the Golden Lion and Grand Jury Prize among other accolades, Amir Naderi is a photographer, film director and screenwriter. He is known for movies like Vegas: Based on a True Story, The Runner, A, B, C… Manhattan, and 99 Homes. Amir has also served on the panel of jury members in international film festivals for more than 10 years.

Amir Sadollah

Mixed martial artist, accomplished in Sambo, Amir Sadollah holds a black belt in the art under Rick McCoy, founder of MMA Institute and holds the rank of Master of Sports in Sambo purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Diffley. Amir is also the winner of the tournament and title of The “Ultimate Fighter 7” held in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has also won the WKA Amateur US Muay Thai Championship.

Amir Talai

An actor who has worked in both film and television productions and voice artist, Amir Talai has lent his voice to the character of Master Crane in the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. He has appeared on TV serials like How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The role of Raza in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was also played by him.

Andre Khabbazi

With a major in criminal justice from the American River College in California, Andre is a well-known actor known for his roles in the television series, Diagnosis: Murder, Sunset Beach, Melrose Place, The Young and Restless, and Passions. He has also appeared in the movie, Circuit released in 2001. Andre is also a tennis player in the semi-professional category.

Anousheh Ansari

Co-founder and chairperson of Prodea Systems that was established in 2006, Anousheh Ansari has also served as co-founder and CEO at Telecom Technologies, Inc. An engineer by profession, Anousheh is the first self-financed woman to fly to the International Space Station and the fourth self-funded person in the world to travel in space. She speaks Persian, English, and French, and also has a basic knowledge of Russian.

Anousheh Khalili

Skilled in playing the piano and singing, Anousheh Khalili is an accomplished songwriter also. She has lent her voice and participated in the video for “Say Hello” and “Flashdance” for the band Deep Dish. Triple Stamp Records supervised the recording of Anousheh’s debut album. She has also appeared in other albums such as Let the Ground Know Who’s Standing on Him, The Trouble I Find, and Make Noise.

Arash Ferdowsi

Founder and CTO at Dropbox, Arash Ferdowsi has been educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is well-versed in languages like Farsi, French, and English. Arash has been ranked by Forbes at the No. 33 America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 of 2015. His penchant for hard work has earned him the title of Chief Debugger by his employees and he is known for filing bug reports at 3:00am.

Arash Markazi

Notable journalist writing sports news for ESPN, Arash Markazi has been educated at the University of Southern California and USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He has also written for Sports Illustrated on Campus and for the Sports Illustrated website. Arash has survived two bouts of cancer and has penned many viral pieces of news in his career.

Arman Sadeghi

Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard Medical School, Arman Sadeghi is an author, speaker and CEO of several companies including All Green Electronics Recycling and Titanium Success. As a keynote and peak performance speaker, he has spoken at conferences around the world about maintaining a well-balanced life and he helps entrepreneurs take their lives and business to higher levels.

Artemis Pebdani

Well-known TV star who has appeared in many shows through the course of her career, Artemis Pebdani has been seen in the past in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Ugly Betty, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Raising Hope, House of Lies, and Hot in Cleveland. Most recently, she plays the new Vice-President of the United States in the Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal. Her character is Susan Ross.

Asieh Namdar

Working with CNN since 1989 reporting on many stories as a video journalist, Asieh has covered the Middle East unrest and the Civil War in Northern Uganda. She is also known for her reports on the wars in Afghanistan and Iran. Well-versed in Persian and educated at the University of California Berkeley, Asieh has produced “The Global Minute,” a CNN’s Headline News segment that is broadcast everyday.

Atoosa Rubenstein

Educated at Barnard College, Atoosa Rubenstein is a magazine editor. During the course of her career, she has served as the the editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine and the founding editor of CosmoGIRL!. She has also founded and Big Momma Productions Inc. Atoosa is a member of the Board of Directors at Candie’s Foundation and has been mentioned in Folio’s “30 Under 30″ and Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40″.

Azadeh Moaveni

Journalist and writer by profession, Azadeh Moaveni has acted as a reporter for the Los Angeles Time, covering the Iraq war. Her first memoir is Lipstick Jihad and she has co-written Iran Awakening with Shirin Ebadi. Azadeh has studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After winning the Fulbright Fellowship to Egypt, she went on to study at the American University of Cairo where she learned Arabic.

Azar Nafisi

A professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature, Azar Nafisi is well-known for her best-seller, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. The book has won many literary awards and has been translated into 32 languages. Azar has won the Persian Golden Lioness Award for literature in 2006. The award was given by the World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media. She now teaches at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

Bahar Soomekh

Educated at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Bahar Soomekh is an accomplished actor known for her roles in movies like Crash, Syriana, Mission Impossible III, and the Saw franchise. She has also appeared on television shows such as JAG, 24, Day Break, Ghost Whisperer, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Her last movie appearance was in Just Like a Woman.

Bahram Mashhoon

Expert in Theoretical Physics and known for his research in General Relativity with a focus on the gravitomagnetic clock effect, Bahram Mashhoon is serving as a professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. He is keenly interested in the field of non-local gravity and has studied under John Archibald Wheeler. Bahram was educated at Princeton university.

Behdad Sami

Alumnus of Linn–Benton Community College, Behdad Sam started his career as a professional basketball player in 2007 when he played in the minor-league American Basketball Association. He is the first Iranian basketball player in the world to play in the U.S. He has been a sponsor of the Liquid Revolution that inspires and stimulates people towards adopting a healthier style of living.

Behnaz Sarafpour

Winner of the 2010 Smithsonian’s National Design Award in the fashion design category, Behnaz Sarafpour is a high-profile designer for women’s apparel. She has studied designing at the Parsons School of Design where she earned the Golden Thimble Award. Behnaz has worked in several fashion houses including Isaac Mizrahi, Anne Klein, Barneys New York, and Target Corporation’s Go International.

Behzad Razavi

Alumna of Stanford University and Sharif University of Technology, Behzad Razavi is a professor and researcher of electrical and electronic engineering. He is the acting director of the Communication Circuits Laboratory at the University of California Los Angeles. Behzad has won the Beatrice Winner Award for Editorial Excellence twice, in 1994 and 2001 at the International Solid-State Circuits Conferences.

Bob Yari

Noted filmmaker, Bob Yari has produced and directed various movies and documentaries such as Papa: Hemingway in Cuba, Hostage, The illusionist, Crash, The Barber, Can’t Stand Losing You, Hostage, and The Maiden Heist, to name a scarce few. Bob has been educated at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied cinematography. He heads the independent film company, The Yari Film Group that was created in 2002.

Bobby Yazdani

Educated at the University of California Berkeley, Bobby Yazdani is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cota Capital. The company invests in private and public technology businesses and through it, Bobby supports the growth and progress of startups. To date, he has invested in more than 100 private businesses through his family office, Signatures Capital. Bobby has earned the title of No. 1 of 2,000 angel investors in 2014.

Dr. Camran Nezhat

The world’s leading endometriosis surgeon, Dr. Camran Nezhat specializes in minimally invasive robotic surgery. He is also well-known for Multi-Organ Reconstructive Surgery for Endometriosis, Fibroids and Infertility. Dr. Camran is now serving at the Stanford University Medical Center as the clinical professor of surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology. He is also the Chair of the Association of the Adjunct Clinical Faculty, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Catherine Bell

Follower of scientology, and actress and executive producer by profession, Catherine Bell has appeared in many movies and television series including JAG (Marine Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie, known as “Mac”) and Hallmark’s Good Witch and its many sequels ( leading role of Cassandra “Cassie” Nightingale). She has received a nomination for her part in The Triangle for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television.

Cumrun Vafa

Winner of the 2000 Dirac Medal, Cumrun Vafa is a renowned string theorist at Harvard University. He has earned a double major in physics and mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later, a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985. Presently, he is serving as the the Donner Professor of Science at Harvard University and trustee of Network of Iranians for Knowledge and Innovation.

Cyma Zarghami

Currently serving at Nickelodeon, the world’s most watched kids’ TV channel, Cyma Zarghami is responsible for the supervision of the company’s commercial and artistic activities. She is also the acting President of the 34-year old Viacom Inc’s (VIA.A and VIA.B) Nickelodeon Networks Group. She has received education at the University of Vermont and is committed to bringing the best of content to kids all over the world.

Cyrus Bolooki

Playing the drums with the band, New Found Glory, Cyrus Bolooki has been performing with them for 12 years. The band has sold around 4 million records all over the world to date. They have performed in many shows and are an extremely successful rock group. Cyrus has moved on to play as a sessions drummer and is also a recorder and producer. He has also worked with NOFX, Good Charlotte, and recently with Kevin Rudolf.

Dalia Sofer

Writer by profession, Dalia Sofer has won the 2008 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for The Septembers of Shiraz, her first novel. She also won the 2007 Whiting Award for fiction for the same book. Dalia has studied at the the Lycée Français de New York before moving on to New York University where she studied French literature. She has earned her Master of Fine Arts from the Sarah Lawrence College.

Dan Ahdoot

Educated at Johns Hopkins University, Dan Ahdoot is a stand-up comedian by profession. He has been a contestant on the reality TV show, Last Comic Standing on NBC. Dan is also known for his performances on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. He has been seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2011 and has appeared in many episodes on the show, Kickin’ It aired on the Disney XD channel.

Dara Khosrowshahi

An alumnus of Brown University from where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, Dara Khosrowshahi is the president and CEO of Expedia, Inc. He has been responsible for the company becoming the world’s largest travel company on the internet. As the president of the Brand Expedia business, Dara directs the strategy and activities of the international Expedia brand and is focused on its further success and growth the world over.

Darian Shirazi

Fluently speaking English and Klingon, Darian Shirazi is a holder of two patents in the field of technology. He has served as engineer intern at eBay and software engineer at Facebook. Darian is now a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and investor at 314px LLC. He is also CEO and co-founder of Radius and has received education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Daron Malakian

Musician, songwriter, and singer, Daron Malakian can play a wide range of instruments and has produced several records and albums. Recently, he has performed with the alternative music project Millennials from Los Angeles and has earned several accolades. He was named No. 11 of The 20 Greatest Metal Guitarists Ever by Music Poll and No. 30 of The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World.

David Ackert

Winner of the LMA awards from various areas along with the Top 40 Under 40 Leadership Award by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, David Ackert has assisted thousands of professionals identify and attain their business objectives. He is the founder of many organizations such as Prospero JD, The Business Development Institute, Executive Roundtables for Law Firm Leaders, The Ackert Advisory, Practice Boomers, and Practice Pipeline. David s currently the president at Ackert Inc.

David B. Samadi

Specialist in robotic prostate surgery, Da Vinci Surgery, and bladder surgery using the robot, David B. Samadi is serving as the Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He has been on the list of Best Doctors since 2004 and Best Doctors List in New York in 2015. David has been educated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and is highly proficient in English and Persian.

David Marcus

Currently working at Facebook as VP in messaging products, David Marcus has invested in many top companies such as Xapo, Hello, Patreon, Shyp, and Feedly. He has also worked for a while with PayPal acting as President in the San Francisco Bay Area and Vice President out of the San Jose office in California. David has received education from the University of Geneva.

Davar Ardalan

Having received her education at the University of Mexico, Davar Ardalan has been working for over a year at SecondMuse as the Director of Storytelling and Engagement. She has worked for more than 22 years at the National Public Radio where she displayed a rare dedication to her work. Davar has been awarded the Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

Elie Tahari

Residing in New York City, Elie Tahari is a high-end fashion designer creating ready-to-wear apparel and accessories such as dresses and coats for women. He debuted into the world of fashion in a 1977 fashion show at Studio 54, the New York City nightclub. Elie works on the principle, in his own words, “clothing should let a woman’s true beauty shine through.” His USP is modern, clean-cut styles, flawless tailoring, and sensual, flowing fabrics with attention to detail.

Emud Mokhberi

Director of the movie, Oktapodi that was nominated for an an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, Emud Mokhberi has studied film making at the UCLA School of Film, Theater, and Television and Gobelins, l’école de l’image in Paris, France. Oktapodi was also a part of the Animation Show of Shows. The move also won the Canal+ Family Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Esfandiar Baharmast

Now retired, Esfandiar Baharmast is a well-known soccer referee remembered for his expert supervision of two matches during the FIFA World cup of 1998 held in France. One of his decisions in the tournament was picked out by the Referee Magazine as among the “Best 18 Calls of All Time.” Esfandiar has also been a coach and is at present serving as the Referee Assistance Program (FIFA RAP).

Farhad Mohit

A former student of the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School, Farhad Mohit is the founder and CEO of Flipagram Inc., formerly Cheerful Inc. He has also founded Shopzilla and Farhad is also a Trustee of Farhang Foundation, Burning Man Project donor, and TED Patron. A resident of the Greater Los Angeles Area, he is a devoted husband and loving father of three beautiful children.

Fariba Univer Sal

Currently a resident of Irvine, California, Fariba Univer Sal is the Assistant Director at the Iranian American Women Foundation. Among the last few events held by the organization are conferences discussing the efforts women have been taking to succeed in a technology-oriented sphere and the snags that women face in their endeavors when trying to attain their goals.

Farnaz Fassihi

Winner of six national journalism awards for reporting on the Iranian presidential elections in 2009, Farnaz Fassihi has also written Waiting for An Ordinary Day, an account of the time she spent in Iraq. A 2015 Nieman fellow at Harvard University, Farnaz has been educated at the Columbia University – Graduate School of Journalism. She is fluent in languages such as French, Persian, Arabic, and English.

Faryar Shirzad

Recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Faryar Shirzad has had a long and illustrious career working in the White House, assisting the President in different roles. These roles include special assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, deputy national security advisor for International Economic Affairs, and the President’s personal representative to the G-8, to name a few. Faryar now serves with Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Farzad Bonyadi

Professional poker player, Farzad “Freddy” Bonyadi began his career at the 1998 World Series of Poker when he won the $2,000 limit event and eventually went on to win the a $429,940 first prize. He is an exclusive player at Full Tilt Poker and winner of WSOP bracelets. Farzad won his first accolade in the 2004 $1,000 deuce to seven triple draw and the second in the 2005 no limit hold’em. He currently resides in Aliso Viejo.

Farzad Nazem

Angel advisor and seed investor, Farzad Nazem has helped more than 66 startups in various fields. Holder of five patents in the technological arena, Farzad is presently a member of the Board of Trustees at The Nueva School and Board Member of the Hand Foundation. Educated at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, Farzad has also worked as chief technology officer at Yahoo!

Fred Khosravi

Incept LLC was co-founded by Fred Khosravi who is a managing partner in the company. A Silicon Valley medical device entrepreneur, he has co-founded 12 other companies like Market RX taken over by Cognizant Corp. and Confluent Surgical, that Tyco Healthcare acquired. Fred has also co-founded Embolic Protection, Inc. (EPI) and Endo Tex. Both companies were later acquired by Boston Scientific Corporation. The devices Fred has created have helped people the world over.

Goli Ameri

Businesswoman, politician, and diplomat, Goli Ameri has worn many hats over the course of career. She has served as Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Values and Diplomacy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Goli has also represented the U.S. at the United Nations and has run for U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in 2004.

Joseph Moinian

Founder and CEO of the Moinian Group, Joseph Moinian is well-known for his expert strategies in management, development, and investment that made the company the largest privately held real estate enterprise in the country with a portfolio of over 200 million square feet of real estate. Joseph is a philanthropist with a keen interest in health, civic services, and arts. He is a board member on the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York and Skyline Museum.

Hadi Partovi

A graduate of Harvard University, Hadi Partovi founded with his brother, Ali Partovi. He has been the advisor and investor in various startups such as, PracticeFusion, Uber, Airbnb, Thumbtack, IndieGogo, and WideOrbit among others. He continues to act as advisor to Facebook, Dropbox, and OPOWER. He is acting Board Director of TASER International.

Hooman Radfar

Proficient in languages like Farsi and Spanish, Hooman Radfar is an investor and entrepreneur educated at Carnegie Mellon University. Currently partner at Expa, He is also the founder and director at 10e9 investing in companies like Convoy, Uber, Hyperloop, Sweetgreen , and others. Hooman has been featured on the lists of iMedia’s 25 most influential online marketing professionals and one of Tech’s Best Entrepreneurs in the BusinessWeek.

Isaac Larian

Nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Series, Isaac Larian assisted in the establishment of MGA Entertainment in 1987, that at the time was called ABC Electronics. Currently, the company is the largest privately-owned toy enterprise anywhere in the world. Among the many awards he has won, he was named the overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year of 2007.

Kami Barzini

A professional wrestler having wrestled in the Olympic Trials of 2000, Kami Barzini has also contested in many global freestyle tournaments like in Russia, Poland, Germany, and Turkey. From the year 2004 to 2008, he served as the Freestyle Assistant Coach for Oklahoma State University and currently regularly supervises the Pro training for American Top Team professional fighters.

Kamran Pourzanjani

Named the Entrepreneur of the Year in Los Angeles for the Business Services category by Ernst & Young in June 2005,  Kamran Pourzanjani has also co-founded and acted as CEO for, Inc. Holder of a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Kamran is currently serving at OnRamp Fund in an advisory capacity.

Kourosh Zolani

Renowned player of the unique instrument, the chromatic santour, Kourosh Zolani is also the creator of this highly versatile version of the classic santour. He has used it to compose albums like the Memoirs of Sangesar, Dance of Change and Peaceful Planet. Peaceful Planet won the award for the Best Solo Instrumental Album of the Year in the Just Plain Folks Music Organization’s International Contest in addition to other awards.

Leila Vaziri

Former world record-holder in the 50-meter backstroke category, Leila Vaziri has also won a gold medal in the 50-meter event at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships held in Melbourne. She has majored in communication and culture from Indiana University. As a student, Leila represented her college as part of the swimming and diving team. She has been awarded the title of 2007 Indiana University Female Athlete of the Year.

Lotfi A. Zadeh

Founding member of the Eurasian Academy, Lotfi A. Zadeh is professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley specializing in computer science. He is well-known as the inventor of the fuzzy concepts including fuzzy events, fuzzy information, fuzzy control, and fuzzy semantics to name a few. Lotfi is also a researcher in the artificial intelligence field, electrical engineer, and mathematician.

Mahnaz Badihian

A dentist by profession having trained at the University of Iowa Dental School, Mahnaz Badihian is an accomplished poet and uses her talent and verses to build a connection between eastern and western cultures. She is involved in the running of the online magazine, “Mahmag” that aims at encouraging the budding poetic talents of Iranians and modern-age Americans. The magazine publishes in three languages, Persian, English, and Italian.

Dr. Majid M. Naini

Multilinguist fluent in many languages including English, Persian, and Naini, Majid M. Naini is a leading Rumi scholar and wears many hats such as scientist, inventor, author, poet, and advocate for peace. A brilliant orator, Naini has received education at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned B.S. in Electronics Engineering, Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and Ph.D. in Computer & Information Science & Technology.

Manny Mashouf

Educated at the San Francisco State University, College of Business and holder of a degree in political science, Manny Mashouf is a businessman and owner of the famous line of apparel, Bebe. He also acts as the manager and chairman of the chain that has around 297 outlets in North America. Manny currently resides in Henderson, Nevada and in 2006, was named by Forbes as the 242nd most wealthy American.

Manuchehr Shahrokhi

Having served as professor at Harvard University between 1992 and 1999, Manuchehr Shahrokhi now teaches Global Business-Finance at the California State University, Fresno. He is also the founding editor of the Global Finance Journal and acting executive director of the Global Finance Association/Conference. Educated at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, Manuchehr has written more than 80 books and articles.

Mariam Khosravani

Founder and President of the Iranian American Women Foundation, Mariam Khosravani has worked for close to 15 years in the sphere of altruism and has helped raise millions of dollars in donations for several local, national, and global institutions. She has also helped in the growth of many non-profit groups in the south of California. Mariam acts as an active advisor and speaker for many philanthropic causes.

Mark Zandi

Educated at The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, Mark Zandi is an economist and researcher. He holds the distinction of founding that later became a part of Moody’s Analytics in the year 2005. He now directs economic research in the company. Mark has also worked at Chase Econometrics and often contributes to publications like the Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post.

Maryam Mirzakhani

Educated at Harvard University and Sharif University of Technology, Maryam Mirzakhani is a professor of Mathematics and teaches at Stanford University. She is the first woman to win the most prestigious award in the subject, namely the Fields Medal. Maryam is keenly interested in conducting research in fields like symplectic geometry, ergodic theory, hyperbolic geometry, and Teichmüller theory.

Massy Tadjedin

Screenwriter by profession, Massy Tadjedin is known for movies like California Romanza, The Jacket, and Last Night which she also directed. Residing in Los Angeles, Massy has been educated at Harvard University. Last Night starred Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, and Eva Mendes.

Mohsen Mostafavi

Educator and architect, Mohsen Mostafavi is currently a professor and dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is also serving on the boards of the Van Alen Institute, Harvard University Committee on Common Spaces, and Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Various journals have published his designs and research. Mohsen has also written several books including Nicholas Hawksmoor’s London Churches, Ecological Urbanism, and Approximations.

Mona Jarrahi

Professor and researcher at the Terahertz Electronics Laboratory Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at University of Michigan, Mona Jarrahi is one of the world’s leading mathematicians, scientists, and physicists. Educated at Stanford University, Sharif University of Technology, and UC Berkeley College of Engineering, Mona is currently working as an associate professor at UCLA.

Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed

A JD candidate from the American University Washington College of Law, Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed is presently working at the National Security Law Brief as a staff member. She has also served as the Associate Director of the Iranian American Women Foundation. Negeen also has the distinction of being elected as the UCLA’s first ever Transfer Student Representative for the Undergraduate Student Association Council.

Noosheen Hashemi

President and co-founder of the HAND Research Foundation and Scholarship Program, Noosheen Hashemi has been named as one of the Top 50 Philanthropist by Gentry Magazine for four consecutive years. Through the HAND foundation, Noosheen has been an angel investor for companies like Willing, Lugg, Jopwell, BEED Inc. Convoy, and Memebox, to name a few.

Omid Kordestani

After completing his education at Stanford University, Omid Kordestani began his career as the Product Marketing Manager at HP in Silicon Valley. He went on to join Google as its 11th employee at the post of Business Founder. During the 10 years that he spent working in executive posts, he led Google to earning more than $20 billion with over 12,000 employees. Omid has also worked as advisor to the office of CEO/founders.

Parisa Tabriz

A computer security whiz-kid, Parisa Tabriz has been featured by Forbes on their list of 30 Tech Pioneers Under the Age of 30, “30 Under 30.” She now works at Google as their, “Security Princess” and is responsible for the security and stability of Google Chrome, in general, focusing on making the internet more secure. Parisa has been educated at Gelato University and enjoys working with proactive, innovative, and smart people.

Pardis Sabeti

A medical geneticist, evolutionary geneticist, and computational biologist, Pardis Sabeti heads the Sabeti Lab. She also teaches as a full professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Pardis serves at the Broad Institute as a senior associate member and is also a faculty member at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Parisa Khrosravi

Having won several awards as a veteran journalist, Parisa Khrosravi has worked for around 30 years in the field of international media. Parisa specializes in safety and security, current events, cultural competency, crisis management, journalism, and reporting. She has received education from Columba College in Chicago and is working as the News Executive – Global Speaker at Payam Global Strategies.

Paul Merage

Chef America Inc., the company that created Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets, the famous microwavable snack was co-founded by Paul Merage. Later, in 2002, the company was sold to Nestle. Now residing in Orange County, California, Paul is chairman of MIG Capital. He has also helped establish philanthropic organizations like The Merage Foundation for the American Dream and The Children First Foundation with his family. Paul is involved in the running of the University of California Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

Pejman Nozad

Co-founder of Pejman Mar Ventures, Pejman Nozad was named “one of the most successful angel investors” of 2012 by Forbes. He has been the seed investor for more than 100 startups, some of which have grown to billion dollar companies today. Among them are Branch Metrics, Guardant Health, Doordash, Gusto ( Zenpayroll), Lending Club, and Dropbox. Pejman speaks fluent English and Farsi.

Pierre Omidyar

Named Parviz Morad Omidyar, Pierre Omidyar is founder and CEO of eBay. When the company went public in 1998, he became a billionaire at the age of 31. Pierre has also founded the Honolulu Civil Beat and Ulupono Initiative. Along with his wife, Pamela, he has created the altruistic institution, Omidyar Network in 2004. Pierre was awarded an honorary degree from Tufts University and has won the EY Entrepreneur of The Year National of 1999.

Roya Soleimani

Educated at Georgetown University, Roya Soleimani began her career at Google as a part of the Search communications team. She is now working as a Corporate Communications Manager. Her duties include looking into the Education and Philanthropic, Workplace, Diversity, and People Operations outreaches for the company. She also acts as an operational partner and advisor at Pejman Mar Ventures.

Dr. Roxana Moslehi

A genetic epidemiologist, Dr. Roxana Moslehi has won several accolades and awards during the course of her career. She is currently working at the University at Albany, State University of New York as an associate professor teaching Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Roxana has conducted extensive research into the genetic cause of diseases and how hereditary and environmental factors can raise the chances of contracting diseases.

Rudi Bakhtiar

An accomplished personality in the world of television and media, Rudi Bakhtiar has received education at UCLA. She has had an impressive career as broadcaster and correspondent at the CNN and Director of Communications at the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Rudi has also worked as the senior advisor and journalist at the Voice of America and is currently producer at Reuters.

Salar Kamangar

Educated at Stanford University and holder of a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, Salar Kamangar has the distinction of being the 7th employee to join Google and now works as a senior executive. Salar has also served as CEO of the YouTube brand and has led many high-profile operations in the company.

Sam Nazarian

A mogul of the entertainment industry, Sam Nazarian is the founder, chairman, and CEO of SBE Entertainment Group. Through SBE, he owns several high-profile lounges and nightclubs in Los Angeles. Sam has ties with famous chefs and owns many restaurants including hamburger and pizza chains. Educated at the University of California, he has been named on the Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list of 2014.

Sarah Ravani

Having graduated with a Masters degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Sarah Ravani is currently a breaking news reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGATE. Fluent in English and Persian, Sarah has been exploring the issues that Iranian migrant families face in creating the perfect balance between their cultural background and American values.

Shayan Zadeh

Educated at the University of Washington and Michael G. Foster School of Business, Shayan Zadeh began his career as a software design engineer and later, senior program manager at the Microsoft Corporation. He went on to establish the world’s largest online dating app, Zoosk with a partner and served as CEO for over seven years. The San Francisco Business Times has named Shayan on its 40 Under 40 list.

Shervin Pishevar

Holding a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree from the University of California Berkeley, Shervin Pishevar has worked for two years with Menlo Ventures leading the Series B investments in Uber Technologies. He was also instrumental in the company’s investment in Machine Zone. A resident of San Francisco, California, Shervin has now started Sherpa Capital in partnership with Scott Stanford, a Goldman Sachs banker.

Soraya Darabi

Board member on the New York Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy, Soraya Darabi is also a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and co-founder of Zady. Through Zady, she focuses on transparency in the apparel industry searching the world for evergreen fashion created out high-grade materials produced using sustainable methods. Soraya has been educated at Georgetown University.

Sina Tamaddon

Residing at Menlo Park, California and educated at Purdue University, Sina Tamaddon joined Apple in September 1997 working as Senior Vice President of Applications. He has also worked as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Service and Support of Apple Computer Inc. Before joining Apple, Sina has held the post of Vice President, Europe with NeXT.

Dr. Taraneh Razavi

A resident of San Francisco, Taraneh Razavi is a doctor at Google She has been elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Taraneh acquired her medical degree from the George Washington University Medical School and has studied Internal Medicine at Stanford University. She believes prevention is most essential for good health and has been practicing medicine for more than 15 years.











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    • Laura Kohl

      Never suspected Zoosk was founded by an Iranian, thanks for the interesting post! I tried many online dating services, but enjoyed Zoosk and only.

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