Mahnaz Afkhami is Executive Director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies based in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Foundation for Iranian Studies (FIS) was established in 1981 as a non-profit educational and research institution to preserve, study, and transmit Iran’s cultural heritage; to study contemporary issues in Iranian government and society; and to point to the probable social, economic, political, and military directions Iran might take in the 21st century. The Foundation will increasingly serve as an information center for the study of Iran’s past, present and future. Non-partisan and non-political, the Foundation believes authentic, objective scholarship can and should encompass a multiplicity of intellectual contributions and a diversity of opinions.
The Women’s Center division of FIS promotes women’s studies and women’s human rights in the context of Iranian contemporary history and politics. The center has a library, a resource and data bank, films, audiocassettes, oral histories, slides and biographies of Iranian artists, and a collection of primary sources. To facilitate and encourage research on the past, present and future of Iranian women, we have compiled a rich collection of material, including interviews with women from many walks of life. The Women’s Center organizes seminars and conferences on women’s issues and provides outlets for scholars and feminists to publish their research on Iranian women. The Women’s Center also provides a chronicle of the organization, accomplishments, and evolution of the Women’s Organization of Iran (WOI), a non-profit institution, which Afkhami led in the capacity of Secretary General.
The Women’s Center is closely cooperating with the Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace, an international women’s rights organization which was founded by Afkhami. The Center cooperates also with a variety of institutions interested in women’s issues to promote women’s human rights in Iran, including women’s studies departments in the US and elsewhere, and women NGOs in US, most Muslim countries, and several non-Muslim countries.