NIAC LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
A More Perfect Union
With the success of the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, the steady lifting of sanctions, and the gradual thaw in U.S.-Iran relations, Iranian Americans have much to celebrate. We are beginning to approach a path to normalcy. And though the road may be bumpy, we must persevere.
Success does not mean our work is over.We’re already experiencing a troubling rise of xenophobia and discrimination against Iranian Americans. And we’re already being impacted by laws that seek to turn Iranian-Americans into second-class citizens. Now is the time to ramp up our civic engagement to secure our rights and empower our community for generations to come. Now is the time to rise above the politics of fear and hate and take control of our shared destiny as Americans.
The more we participate in democracy, the stronger and more inclusive it becomes. And the stronger our democracy, the more active the pursuit of global diplomacy and peace. This is bigger than us. It’s about our nation and our world. It’s about working together, coming together in the face of discord and enmity to create a more perfect union.
A more just individual. A more flourishing community. A more equal nation. A more peaceful world.
A more perfect union.
The Pursuit of Peace
Do you want to empower and strengthen the Iranian American community and build a better future for generations to come? Do you care about U.S.-Iran diplomacy? Are you passionate about civic engagement? At the conference, you will gain the platform, the tools, the connections, and the knowledge to defend and empower the Iranian American community and to stand up for U.S.-Iran peace.
Join us for three days of informative discussion, in-depth analysis, compelling entertainment, and valuable action. Now is a critical time to come together with influential scholars, business leaders, activists, and political figures to create a more perfect union of Iranians and Americans in the pursuit of peace.
Whether you are a business professional, an entrepreneur, a community organizer, a political guru, a student, or simply interested in issues related to Iran, the NIAC Leadership Conference is the event for you!
24th–26th of September 2016
Hyatt Regency Hotel
400 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
Every year, the Leadership Conference aims to expose its attendees to world-class thought leaders, and to teach Iranian Americans how to gain the political strength we need to effect real change on the issues that impact us and our families. NIAC is anticipating an exciting assortment of panels this year that will go in depth on subjects such as the image of the Iranian American community, discrimination, the geopolitical components of the future of the U.S.-Iran relationship, how sanctions affect our community, Iranian American civic participation, and much more.
Stay tuned for more details.
This year’s Leadership Conference will offer networking breaks to maintain the constant high quality level in serving the conference participants and the NIAC Conference community.
As one of the most successful diaspora communities in the United States, Iranian Americans are intricately woven into the fabric of this country, and are part of America's ongoing goal to create a more perfect union. Join NIAC Outreach Director, Elham Khatami, and NIAC Policy Director, Jamal Abdi, to learn about building civic and political bridges to empower the Iranian American community and ensure our voice is heard in Congress. Hear stories from NIAC Action’s Regional Chairs on how you can become an effective grassroots leader. This essential session will provide you with the skills and strategies you need to expand your civic influence in Congress.
3:30pm - 4:45pm
PANEL ONE: Who’s Afraid of Hyphenated Americans? Confronting Misconceptions About Iranians and Muslims
Moderator: Mehdi Hasan // Speakers: Rula Jebreal / Maz Jobrani / Negin Farsad / Cyrus Habib
As the Iranian-American community struggles with visa discrimination and with backlash from racist political rhetoric against Iranians and Muslims, this is a much-needed discussion on social justice, discrimination, and the state of tolerance in the United States. The panel will focus on how prominent members of the Iranian-American community, as well as other minority groups, have worked to tackle discrimination and break harmful stereotypes in their communities.
10:30am - 11:45am
PANEL TWO: A New Era? Iran Sanctions After the JCPOA: A Conversation with Christopher Backemeyer and Michael Mosier
Moderator: Tyler Cullis // Speakers: Christopher Backemeyer / Michael Mosier *Event closed to press*
As part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) – the nuclear accord between the United States, other major world powers, and Iran – the United States committed to lift all nuclear-related sanctions targeting Iran in exchange for decades-long limits on Iran’s nuclear program. In this timely conversation with the Michael Mosier, the Associate Director of Sanctions Policy and Implementation of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), and Christopher Backemeyer, Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the U.S. Department of State, we will discuss the recent lifting of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions targeting Iran; current challenges in effectuating the sanctions relief; and prospects for a broader opening with Iran and the Iranian people.
12:15pm - 1:30pm
Inside the 2016 Elections: Iranian Americans and the Race for the White House and Congress
Guest Speaker: Celinda Lake
Get the inside scoop on what is really happening in the 2016 elections. Learn from one of the nation's top pollsters and political strategists, Celinda Lake: What are the stakes for the White House and Congress? How can our community maximize our impact?
What is our shared vision for the Iranian-American community and how can we play a role in shaping it? Join IAAB’s Executive Director, Mana Kharrazi, for an engaging and informative workshop about community building. This session will help hone leadership skills and provide invaluable tools that will support you in strengthening your local community.
3:15pm - 4:30pm
PANEL THREE: More Obama or Back to Bush: How Should America’s Next President Deal with Iran
Moderator: Reza Marashi // Speakers: Dr. Farideh Farhi / Suzanne DiMaggio / Sanam Anderlini
Regardless of who wins the presidency in 2016, America's Iran policy is far from clear. Will the next president have a forward-looking vision that expands the diplomatic opening created by Obama? Or will the U.S. revert back to calls for military confrontation and the veneer of diplomacy under the guise of sanctions and other forms of confrontation? This panel will discuss the range of policy options facing the next president, and whether or not it's possible to seize the moment and build a more peaceful future.
After a weekend of engaging panels and discussions, we turn our words into action.
12:00pm - 1:15pm
Managing the Iranian-Saudi Rivalry
*Event open to public* Moderator: India Lakshmanan // Speakers: Ilan Goldenberg / James Dobbins / Reza Marashi
Saudi-Iran tensions increasingly destabilize the Middle East, thereby exacerbating key U.S. national security challenges: Sectarianism, volatile oil markets, and an increasingly militarized region engulfed in war. It is in the interest of the United States to avoid taking sides in the Saudi-Iran rivalry, and instead take steps to tame it. This panel will discuss the range of options available to facilitate greater understanding between Riyadh and Tehran, and build a more peaceful regional environment. **Arrive early to allocate time for security at the Capitol Visitor's Center
SPEAKERS + PERFORMERS
Every year, important and influential speakers and guests from all over the country come together to help us create a more nuanced understanding of Iran and Iranians in the minds of Americans – and this year is no different.
NIAC is anticipating an exciting assortment of panels this year that will go in depth on subjects such as the image of the Iranian-American community, discrimination, the geopolitical components of the future of the U.S.-Iran relationship, how sanctions affect our community, Iranian American civic participation, and much more. More details coming soon.
Negin Farsad is a comedian, writer, director and actress who has been named as one of “10 Feminist Comedians You Should be Paying Attention to in 2015 by Paper magazine and one of the "50 Funniest Women" in 2011 by Huffington Post. As an Iranian American and Muslim, her comedic routines often feature her experiences navigating the cultural dynamics of her Iranian- born family and address issues relating to race and discrimination. Ms. Farsad calls her work “social justice comedy”, and was selected as a TED Fellow in 2013 to give a TED talk for her work in the social justice comedy field. Ms. Farsad has performed for national and international audiences and has opened for the likes of Al Franken, Bobby Lee and Colin Quinn, among many others and has written for/appeared on Comedy Central, MTV, PBS, IFC, Nickelodeon and others. In addition to her comedic work, Ms. Farsad has directed and acted in a variety of films and documentaries. Her documentary “The Muslims are Coming!” aims to dispel misconceptions about the Muslim community and combat Islamophobia through humor. In 2008, Queen Rania of Jordan commissioned Ms. Farsad to produce a youtube series combatting stereotypes about the Middle East, which later won the first ever Youtube Visionary Award. Ms. Farsad holds a BA from Cornell University as well as dual masters degrees in African American studies and Public Policy from Columbia University. This year Ms. Farsad published her first book, How to Make White People Laugh, a memoir about growing up as an Iranian American in a post-9/11.