Overcoming Obstacles

Tata Monfared, founder and executive director of Senses Cultural, a nonprofit organization based in Sacramento, California, was the featured speaker October 30, 2016 at the Iranian-American Women Foundation (IAWF) conference at the Hotel Irvine in Irvine, California.

Monfared discussed her dedication to sharing her rich Iranian culture across the world for the past 20-plus years. During that time, she has formed alliances and partnerships with multiple leading institutions in Northern California and abroad, including SOAS University in London, the University of California Davis, San Francisco State University, and others. She has staged and supported a number of creative projects, such as the ongoing international exhibition, “Enduring Power,” which shows the strength and creativity of Iranian and Middle Eastern women photographers.

In recent years, the many challenges presented by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders compelled her to launch Senses Cultural Academy of Health,  which helps families in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East deal with autism diagnoses among their members. Her efforts led to an autism conference in November 2015 in Tehran, which drew American professionals from the UC Davis MIND Institute to participate in the conference. She has since continued those efforts by facilitating ongoing dialogue among neurodevelopmental experts in Iran and the U.S.

All of these accomplishments exemplify the strong will and initiative required to overcome the societal and cultural obstacles that many Middle Eastern women regularly confront.

For more information IAWF Conference, see: https://www.iawfoundation.org/conference/orange-county-2016/

Learn more about the Senses Cultural Academy of Health at http://sensesacademyofhealth.org/

Contact Robert Miller for more information at 925-586-7100 or robmiller@sensescultural.org.

In review of Senses Cultural/ UC Davis panel discussion – June 2 ,2013.

I am writing to extend my gratitude and appreciation to those of you who supported the Panel Discussion on Economic Sanctions on ordinary Iranians on last Sunday Jun 2nd. Without your active participation and dedication it would not have been possible for Senses Cultural to carry out the event and achieve its intended goal of creating a forum to discuss the most urgent and important issue affecting ordinary Iranians. I hope all participants did find the discussion illuminating.

The support of our dedicated panelists, generosity and support of the Iranian American friends and American community of Sacramento and Davis and the UCD chancellor’s office and the presence of honorable Assembly Woman, Marico Yamada, former UCD Chancellor Dr. Skinner and other scholars all helped to bring our mission more closer with awareness and to inform politicians and decision makers of humanitarian crisis due to US sanction on Health and Education on ordinary Iranian people .

The dedication and enthusiasm generated from your support will sure bring us closer toward our success.
Together we can reach beyond our possibilities.

Tata Monfared
Founder & Executive Director
Senses Cultural

Quotes from attendees before and after our June 2, 2013, panel at UC Davis

To inspire our organization to give our absolute best to our audience
Quotes from attendees before and after our June 2, 2013, panel at UC Davis:
Dear Ms. Monfared,

* A panel discussion in review of impacts of sanctions on Iranian Health & Education is a very important topic and I commend you on your purpose of “contributing to the furtherance of the culture of peace through creating awareness on the impact of the sanction on ordinary Iranians.”


* I know that this will be a truly informative and stimulating evening for all who are able to attend, and I do hope you will keep me in mind for future events.


* I deeply appreciate your dedication to UC Davis and the ongoing support you have provided to our ME/SA program, while continuing to move forward with Senses Cultural’s mission to bring greater understanding about culture and humanity. Please accept my very best wishes for an outstanding program on June 2, and for continuing success as you guide Senses Cultural into the future.
Linda Katehi
Chancellor, UC Davis


* I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for putting this panel together to address a very important topic that affects lives of millions of people, not only in Iran, but around the world. I think we should think of impacts of sanctions globally, both from social and economic/cultural/finance/and business perspectives. Your panel was able to start the dialogue and we hope that the momentum can be banked on to generate additional conversations in local, national, and international arenas, so that a reasonable and socially just approach can be developed in dealing with the sanctions.
A.  T.

* Thanks for putting the event together. It was good and good friends attended. It was well organized, knowledgeable panelists, perfect topics, encouraging thoughts, and good cookies 🙂 But the time allocated to the discussions and question was too short although panelist were there for at least one more hour after the main program. I as someone that has firsthand business with Iran, and being Iranian in USA, could contribute more detailed discussion, but there was no time.
Also the effects of sanction on mixture of business and democracy can be good if panelist could give a clear definition of these two and its correlations. Lack of that made the audience a little confused. Again, the topic that you chose was great, the panelist were informative, I know that these two topics, business and democracy, have major impact on each other, but it should have been a little more separated to guide the question.
H. Gh.

* Thanks so much for your gracious follow-up on a very interesting and thought-provoking evening.

* Thank you so much for your humanity and activism. Please keep going. We need more of these educational programs. Our country will benefit from similar events..
H. Al-N.

* I am so inspired by your hard work and concern for ordinary people who are suffering from these sanctions. The event was a smashing success.

News Update Senses Cultural – UC Davis June 2 Panel discussion

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of individuals and organizations, the SensesCultural is pleased to announce that the panel on “Iranian Sanctions” is now free of admission tickets. Due to limited seats, registration is still required. For further information on registration, please visit the SensesCultural Facebook page or contact Tata Monfared at info@sensescultural.org.
Your continuous willingness to sponsor SensesCultural through your tax-deductible donations is always appreciated. We sincerely hope that this association will continue to be supported through your generous donations in our future endeavors.

Tata Monfared
Founder & Executive Director
Senses Cultural


heART of IRAN in the State Capitol of California

The month of festivities will feature an exhibition of works by Iranian artists on the first floor of the capital between June 17th and June 23rd, 2012. The exhibit will focus on interpretations of the meaning of peace and human rights for artists in the Iranian-American community. The exhibition looks to break through stereotypes of Iranians as “extremists” or a nation of “mullahs”, established by the depictions of Iranians contained in the popular press and political cartoons. By focusing on the importance of these universal values to the multifaceted Iranian diasporas and the hundreds of thousands of Americans with Iranian heritage, the exhibit intends to educate and share the richness and diversity of the Persian culture with all Californians.


Notes & reviews about Reza Aslan London talk and Book presentation in SOAS

We believe that the speaker series of such is a vital program that will prove to promote peace and understanding for generations to come. Thus, we would like to invite the organizations and students to help us promote such programs and to allow us to reduce conflict through understanding.

Reza Aslan: Literature and Revolution in Middle East
A lecture by Dr Reza Aslan, an international acclaimed writer and scholar of religion. Most recently, Dr Aslan edited Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, published by W.W. Norton (a Words without Borders book). His first book is the international bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, was translated into 13 languages and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religion Extremism in a Globalized Age.


“Dr Reza Aslan is amazing, I feel I have know him and his words a long time.

I would love to accompany you at the next SOAS event. I hope to be of good use.

We are all on the same page, with many more pages to turn.

Because of the work you, and others like you do, we rise to sun in the morning.”

Holly B.





Reza Aslan London talk and Book presentation in SOAS

We are thrilled to be part of the efforts to recognize, support and promote the value of Iranian & Middle Eastern culture through this new engagement with SOAS & the London Middle East Institute.

We are convinced that such cultural exchange is vital to promote peace and understanding for generations to come. We believe that through education, we can contribute to diminishing and someday eliminating discrimination and prejudice around the world.

In pursuit of our theme of seeking a Healthier and a more Peaceful environment, we are eager to explore possibilities for collaboration with communities and institutions that support a peaceful and professional dialog among people, and provide opportunities to bring the world together.

As our first such international collaboration, we are proud to bring you the inspiring speaker, writer and scholar, Dr. Reza Aslan.

Dr. Aslan’s recent book, “Tablet & Pen”, brings a collection of classic and modern examples of the best Middle Eastern writing to the English speaking world, many translated for the first time. The Los Angeles Times stated, This is the triumph of “Tablet & Pen” to connect us at the level of our humanity, no matter where we may be from.

See related brochure here.

See Reza Aslan talk. Part 1, Part 2, Part3.