Our Story

Building on a Legacy

Ayandeh grows out of existing community connections and capacity built and nurtured over years by many individuals and groups in the Iranian diaspora. The organization is sustained by the drive to continue this legacy to future generations and is maintained by community members who benefited from this past work.

Legacy of Connection and Care

For decades, religious communities, local Persian language schools, and secular non-profit organizations have forged bonds within and between our communities. Notably, Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) set a precedent with its Camp Ayandeh and Camp Javan youth leadership programs. Unfortunately, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, IAAB ended after 15 years of impactful service. Since the onset of the pandemic, other organizations striving to meet community needs have also found themselves under-resourced and stretched thin.

A New Chapter

Ayandeh's seeds were sown in the Fall 2021. It began with a conversation between a former Camp Ayandeh participant and organizer Mitchka Saberi and Reza Rad, a former Camp Ayandeh Director. This initial discussion ignited the idea of revitalizing IAAB’s national network to create a new platform for youth leadership. Joining forces with former IAAB co-Executive Director Kayvan Farchadi, and later with Sam Alavi, Kayla Asemanfar, Manijeh Azadi, and Kayhan Azadi, the team convened in Los Angeles in early 2022. Their collective efforts, bolstered by the invaluable contributions of numerous colleagues and friends, laid the groundwork for Ayandeh.

Our Diverse Diaspora: Embracing Every Voice

Ayandeh recognizes the vast and varied tapestry that makes up the Iranian diaspora in North America. Our community, nearly 2 million strong, spans a rich spectrum of religious and ethnic groups, and immigration histories. We believe the challenge of building truly representative and inclusive networks will be the source of our resiliency and impact as an organization.

Broadening Perspectives

It is important that the same voices are not always at the center of our conversations and initiatives. Diversity in representation means bringing forward those who have historically been on the periphery of our community dialogues. It means actively seeking out and listening to a range of perspectives, particularly from those whose experiences and insights might challenge or broaden our understanding of what it means to be part of the Iranian diaspora.

Why Representation Matters

  • Reflect the Full Spectrum: By ensuring diverse representation, we can authentically reflect the full spectrum of our community’s experiences and identities.
  • Enrich Our Understanding: Varied voices contribute to a richer, more nuanced understanding of our collective challenges and aspirations.
  • Foster Inclusivity: When everyone feels seen and heard, we foster a more inclusive environment where more members feel valued and valid.

Ayandeh's Commitments

  • Intentional Inclusion: We are committed to intentional inclusion, actively reaching out to and engaging with diverse segments of our community.
  • Elevate Diverse Voices: Our programs and initiatives are designed to elevate voices that might otherwise go unheard, ensuring a balanced and inclusive representation.
  • Responsive Programs: We continuously adapt our programming to reflect the evolving needs and contributions of our diverse community members.

Confronting Our Challenges Head-On

The past few years have shaken us. In the face of political turmoil, biting sanctions, and vigorous human rights movements within Iran, our diaspora has witnessed and deeply felt fragmentation and profound weariness. The recent uprisings and continued civil disobedience in Iran remind us of the urgent need for us to reevaluate and strengthen our ties with Iranians living in Iran, and to actively address the simmering and newly emerging tensions within our diaspora.

A Call for Proactive Unity

We cannot afford to be passive. The current global and regional dynamics demand more from us - not just as individuals, but as a collective. It's time for us to step up, to boldly confront the issues that have long been dividing us, and to forge a path towards a more unified and resilient diaspora.

Bridging Divides, Healing Wounds

Our role goes beyond mere acknowledgment of these challenges. Ayandeh is committed to being at the forefront of bridging these divides, facilitating tough yet necessary conversations, and initiating healing processes. We understand the complexity of these issues and the sensitivity they require, but we also recognize the incredible power of our community when it comes together with purpose and determination.

Our Collective Responsibility

The path forward is not just the responsibility of a few - it's a collective endeavor that calls for every one of us to engage, contribute, and be part of the solution. Our shared history, culture, and aspirations are the rich soil in which we can grow a stronger, more cohesive diaspora. It's a journey that requires honesty, courage, and a commitment to not just preserve but enrich the tapestry of our shared heritage and future.