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DREAMER, DOER, GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: A PROFILE OF DELAINE EASTIN

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The value of education has been a persistent theme in the life of Delaine Eastin. It has served not only as a moral and spiritual touchstone for her vision of a good life well-lived, but also as a highly practical ticket to increased opportunity and effectiveness in a rough-and-tumble political world that has not been historically noted for its hospitality to women.

Now, 14 years after she was termed out of office as the first (and still only) female California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, she has another educational objective on her mind: to convince the state’s voters she is their best option to advance their interests as governor come 2018.

Eastin will head into the Democratic Party primary campaign as a likely underdog against better known and well financed opponents. But she holds a prominent ace in the hole: She has run for office eight times in her career, and her scorecard as she commences her ninth reads: 8-0.

That’s right: eight elections, and victory speeches to cap each one. About her ninth she offers this: “We are in this to win. People dismiss me at their peril.”

***

At 69 years old, Eastin could easily enough be lauded for her great past contributions to Californians and their schoolchildren while beginning to retreat from the hurly burly of public life. She could sit on a board or two, plant tulips in her garden and perhaps write a memoir chronicling her rise to power and influence in the male-dominated halls of the state capital.

Instead, she is already keeping a relentless schedule that sees her criss-crossing the state’s highways from one gathering to the next, doing the kind of retail politicking that, even in a state the size of California, is fundamental to building a base of support. It is an effort she hopes will serve her well when the more intensively focused media glare begins to light up the race in 2018.

Having visited all 58 counties during her tenure as the state’s education boss from 1995-2003, Eastin well remembers what it means to voters when politicians take leave of the television screen and mass mailers to mingle with voters in real time. “I heard from a principal in the far end of the state recently who told me, ‘You showed up at my school! It meant the world to me. But you also talked to the kids, and even the custodian!’”

 

“The teacher had me leading a reading group. It was good for my leadership skills, but I wasn’t getting the attention I needed. So my dad had us move to San Carlos, where there were 20 kids to a class. It was a life-changing experience.”

 

That willingness to rub elbows across every strata of class, race, and culture likely has many roots, not the least of them Eastin’s modest upbringing as the daughter of a Naval chief petty officer father and sales clerk mother.

Hank Eastin moved his family around the country on various assignments before retiring to become a blue collar machinist and shop steward in northern California. Deprived of his own education by the travails of The Great Depression, he harbored an intense drive to make sure his own children would obtain all its benefits.

The love of learning actually started with him, as when he offered Delaine and her older brother Danny 50 cents a week for basic allowance but a dollar for every poem they would commit to memory.

“My father could recite the entire Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” Eastin remembers, referring to the epic poem from ancient Persia that runs to thousands of lines. He was a natural born teacher who always preached to us that you have to do things right.”

The Eastins had settled and figured to stay in San Francisco by the time Delaine turned 7 years old,  but another move soon became imminent. “There were 44 kids in the class,” she recalls. “I was one of the better readers, so the teacher had me leading a reading group. It was good for my leadership skills, but I wasn’t getting the attention I needed. So my dad had us move to San Carlos, where there were 20 kids to a class. It was a life-changing experience.”

It was the first of two such dramatic events in Eastin’s early education, the second being her acceptance to UC Davis as a college student.

***

With the family short of money and Eastin unable to take out a student loan on her own as a female even though males her age were granted that privilege, her parents had to apply for a conventional loan at a much higher interest rate. When her mother wondered whether they could afford the financial burden, her father replied, “We’ll sell the house if we have to.”

Years later, when she was sworn in as Superintendent of Public Instruction, Eastin held the ceremony at Britain Acres Elementary School in San Carlos, then repeated the gesture with her second term swearing-in held at UC Davis.

Two alma maters, honored in the most powerful symbolic way she could muster. It presaged what became a tireless life of advocacy for the great personal and societal good wrought by education.

***

Propelled by her personal experience and data supporting the benefits of less crowded classrooms, Eastin set about her first term trying to convince Republican Governor Pete Wilson to support radically reduced class sizes and help propel a bill to that effect through the legislature. At the beginning of August 1996, he relented, and got a bill passed that limited class sizes to 20 students in the primary grades. School openings were all of six weeks away.

What followed was a plunge into the whirlwind on a project that sensibly should have had a two-year lead time rather than 45 days. The bill gave her no additional staff members to administer a $1 billion fast-track program, but Eastin rode a tidal wave of positive response from the state’s teachers while putting her well-honed skills as a former community organizer and corporate planner to good use. She worked nearly around the clock overseeing thousands of matters big and small. Among the most visible on the highways was her securing of exemptions to allow double-wide tractor trailers to transport the necessary portable classrooms to schools all over the state without being ticketed by the Highway Patrol.

Out of it all came a kind of monumental achievement in California education that is still reverberating these decades later.

***

The class size accomplishment followed by a year Eastin’s  pioneering of a “Net Day” to wire the state’s schools for the Internet, which drew some 30,000 volunteers (initial optimistic hopes were for 500-600). The venture was so successful it was copied nearly nationwide and in 40 countries around the world. Vice President Al Gore was impressed enough that he went on to suggest the “e-tax” that is still on phone bills as a chief financial underpinning for helping the nation’s schools keep pace with the digital era.

“Education made America great, kind and good,” Eastin says. “One time I was debating in a group including (former U.S. Secretary of Education) Lamar Alexander on whether the federal government had a role in education. I just read them the preamble to the Constitution, in which children—our ‘posterity’—is the only interest group mentioned.”

The dreamers who spoke to and acted upon the interests of that posterity in the past continue to animate Eastin today. “Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862, which eventually resulted in colleges in all 50 states,” she says. “He was in a terrible war at the time that was not going well. But he knew how important it was. Franklin Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill and the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1944—we were not winning the war then!

“Both these men had the courage, vision and heart to see beyond their time, and to use public policy to enhance society, which is its proper role. We need to dream in that same way to make California golden again.”

By Andrew Hidas

***

Editor’s Note: See the You Tube video below for Ms. Eastin’s opening remarks at a Senses Cultural- sponsored presentation featuring author, women’s rights activist and Mt. Everest mountaineer Sara Safari. An excerpt from Ms. Eastin:

“My thanks to Tata Monfared for the invitation to join you tonight. I’m the former California Superintendent of Public Instruction and a proud resident of the city of Davis, a community that is working to celebrate the arts and supports the education of its children. We who live here are grateful to this organization, Senses Cultural, and you who are dedicated to keeping the arts and culture in our schools and in our community. Your commitment to creating ‘…a peaceful and healthy environment by fostering understanding through sharing arts and ideas across the globe’ is brilliant and oh so timely. Your additional support for children with autism is also to be celebrated.”

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Location: Virtual Conference
Date: April 20, 2017
Duration: 6 Days
Farideh Niroomand
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community. Through Senses Cultural, she offers training to ensure support and a continually better quality of life to families and individuals dealing with autism. She is skilled in improving communications with autistic people, and offering guidance for self-care. This in turn helps moderate low frustration tolerance, and possible acting out or aggressive behavior. Her work concentrates on offering support, advocacy, referrals, treatment plans, and awareness. At Senses Cultural, she also offers educational webinars.
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Senses Cultural is a nonprofit organization and has received its 501c3 nonprofit approval, which allowing to receive tax-deductable donations, among other benefits. Please make out your tax-deductible contributions to Cultural Media/Senses Cultural or make your donation through our website and Facebook page. We want to hear about your thoughts on what we are presenting to you. Tell us about innovative ideas for promoting our rich Iranian culture. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for everyone. Contact Us Subscribe to our newsletter by completing the form below. We’ll send periodic updates about our work, events and relevant news. We would also love for you to be a part of us by donating, volunteering and partnering with us. You can also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.
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WAYS YOU CAN HELP
MAKE A DONATION
Senses Cultural is a nonprofit organization and has received its 501c3 nonprofit approval, which allowing to receive tax-deductable donations, among other benefits. Please make out your tax-deductible contributions to Cultural Media/Senses Cultural or make your donation through our website and Facebook page. WAYS YOU CAN HELP We want to hear about your thoughts on what we are presenting to you. Tell us about innovative ideas for promoting our rich Iranian culture. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for everyone.
Donate
Marzieh Forghani
Dr. Marzieh Forghani is a clinical psychologist at Kaiser Permanente in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Center at San Jose. She has experience working in community mental health facilities, in early intervention with children on the autism spectrum, and in general outpatient therapy with individual children and families conducting psychological assessments and providing individual psychotherapy. Her specialties include conducting psychological and cognitive assessment, evidence-based individual psychotherapy, as well as group therapy. She believes in early intervention of family and community education. Her practice originates from a strong drive to implement empirically based diagnostics, effective familial support, and tailored recommendations for treatment. She believes that collaborating with caregivers and a specialized team, children on the spectrum can receive an accurate diagnosis, which serves as the first step in establishing treatment for the individual and support for his/her family. Dr. Forghani is passionate about providing psychological services to culturally diverse populations, including refugee and immigrant children. She speaks English, Farsi, Dari, Arabic and French.
Honorary Board Members
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Mesbah Ansari Dogaheh
Senses Cultural is pleased to announce that Dr. Mesbah Ansari Dogaheh is joining the Senses Cultural and Shokraneh MavadatJahani (SHOMA) advisory boards. Dr. Ansari has been a strong advocate for the inclusion persons with disabilities as a counselor in the Iranian Mission in cooperation with CRPD Secretariat and the International Disability Alliance in New York. His main focus has been the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities. He has also been active with the United Nations Social Development Department. His expertise includes treatment of persons with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. He currently is a PhD candidate in International Relations. More importantly, he is the father of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2015 Dr. Ansari was invited to serve as a panelist at the World’s Autism Awareness Day event at the UN in New York. In addition, he was also Iran’s representative at the Parent Skills Training Meetings organized by World Health Organization in Geneva. With more than 10 years of experience in advocacy for the rights of persons with pervasive developmental disorders and intellectual disabilities, he has contributed to the startup of a number of national NGOs and charity foundations. He has also run workshops on the empowerment of families of children living with mental and intellectual disorders. Along with his wife,he has run social networks including a website for empowering families living with disabilities, and the website: includes photos and information about his own son and his son’s treatment. Senses Cultural and Shokraneh MavadatJahani (SHOMA) are honored to have Dr. Ansari as part of our organization and we look forward to his guidance and help with our mission.
Board of Advisors
Mesbah Ansari Dogaheh
Senses Cultural is pleased to announce that Dr. Mesbah Ansari Dogaheh is joining the Senses Cultural and Shokraneh MavadatJahani (SHOMA) advisory boards. Dr. Ansari has been a strong advocate for the inclusion persons with disabilities as a counselor in the Iranian Mission in cooperation with CRPD Secretariat and the International Disability Alliance in New York. His main focus has been the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities. He has also been active with the United Nations Social Development Department. His expertise includes treatment of persons with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. He currently is a PhD candidate in International Relations. More importantly, he is the father of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2015 Dr. Ansari was invited to serve as a panelist at the World’s Autism Awareness Day event at the UN in New York. In addition, he was also Iran’s representative at the Parent Skills Training Meetings organized by World Health Organization in Geneva. With more than 10 years of experience in advocacy for the rights of persons with pervasive developmental disorders and intellectual disabilities, he has contributed to the startup of a number of national NGOs and charity foundations. He has also run workshops on the empowerment of families of children living with mental and intellectual disorders. Along with his wife,he has run social networks including a website for empowering families living with disabilities, and the website: includes photos and information about his own son and his son’s treatment. Senses Cultural and Shokraneh MavadatJahani (SHOMA) are honored to have Dr. Ansari as part of our organization and we look forward to his guidance and help with our mission.
Board of Advisors
Leila Nafarieh
Dr. Leila Nafarieh believes autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. They see, hear & feel the world differently to other people. All of them share certain difficulties, some of them have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions. It means they need different levels of support. As physician, Dr. Nafarieh thinks that with the right sort of support people can live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing. It is her pleasure to join Senses Cultural and Shokraneh Mavedat Jahani as a physician who can help such kind of patients. As an Advisory Board Member, she will participate in team work to help people with this disability. People with Autism Spectrum Disorder need multilateral support, in terms of diagnosis, treatment, education and parental awareness. Dr. Nafarieh is pleased to share her 13 years of experience in multinational pharmaceutical companies, like work with new & high-tech products, positioning the new products for disease, patient educations, physicians awareness about new products. Based on her education and experience, Dr. Nafarieh can be a part of team for medical support, raising awareness of community, help physicians, patients and families.
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Nasser Moeini
Nasser Moeini is a former international civil servant who joined the United Nation Transition Assistance Group to Namibia in 1989. In 1990, he was posted to Afghanistan by the United Nations Children’s Fund as an emergency officer. For the next 22 years he continued to work for Unicef in different capacities and managed program development and implementation for various Unicef field offices. He retired from his UN job in 2012. He joined the advisory board of Senses Cultural after in 2012.
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Mohammad Nami
Mohammad Nami (born in October 30th 1978, Tehran) is an Iranian medical doctor and applied neuroscientist. His medical specialty is on neuroscience and he holds a clinical fellowship in sleep disorders. He is currently the Head of the Department of Neuroscience at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. He is among the university’s top-ranked scholars due to his numerous scientific articles and speeches in international congresses and he has been recognized as a top-rated contributor to numerous international neuroscience events. He is the chief-editor of two international and interdisciplinary journals (JAMSAT, Neuroscience Research Letters) and currently, he is the president of the Iranian Neuroscience Society, Fars Chapter. The Neuroscience Lab (NSL/SUMS) is now a fine place for interdisciplinary studies of brain, thanks to his team and his efforts. Dr. Nami has always been active and interested in traditional Iranian country music, especially in singing. For the past several years, Mohammad gained experience as corporate trainer in the field of professional development skills at Behphar holding in Iran. He has been a Dale Carnegie’s alumnus since 2014 and yearns to gain further expertise in the field of organizational and leadership training. He is also passionate about the concept of “Neuro-leadership” and how our brain potentials drive our behavior as leaders to inspire others. He has led Brain Awareness and Autism Multidisciplinary works as well as Sleep Medicine/Sleep Neuroscience workshop across the country and the region over the past several years.
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Marsha Chinichian
Dr. Chinichian’s passion for clinical psychology and social justice work was reignited in the place she least expected – a corporate banking start-up. As Vice President of Training and Development, she developed one of the first formal national training programs for retail/wholesale and operation channels to span across over 2,000 associates in the retirement planning industry. She spent many days putting out “fires,” managing associates, working long hours, and coping with constant pressure. She was fueled by the excitement of the work and by the primary goal of helping seniors. Although it was gratifying, it also led to taking on positions of leadership that removed her from direct client work that she both craved and enjoyed. After 9 years in the banking and finance arena, she made a career change to reflect the altruistic values she was raised with. Dr. Chinichian is a cognitive-behavioral therapist whose primary areas of interest are child/adolescent development, complex trauma, and minority mental health. Her clinical training and experience have involved working in multiple therapeutic contexts, the use of multidisciplinary resources and efforts, and the management of a diversity of mental health concerns. She has worked with children/adolescents and their families in the contexts of schools, day-treatment programs, hospitals, probation programs, foster care, social and protective services, home-based services, outpatient clinics, and private practice. Dr. Chinichian spent six years of her training working with vulnerable and at-risk youth. This eventually culminated in her dissertation project, “Formative Program Evaluation of a Graduate Training Program Advocating for Youth with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Extended Foster Care.”
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Karen Koning Abuzayd
Karen Koning AbuZayd has been a champion for humanitarian and development causes for over 30 years, serving with the United Nations following a decade of teaching in universities in Uganda and Sudan. She worked for UNHCR for 19 years in Sudan, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, the United States and in Geneva, where she headed the South Africa, Kenya and Somali programmes and was Chef de Cabinet to High Commissioner Ogata. She served Palestine refugees for the first decade of the new millennium from UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza , first as assistant secretary general and deputy commissioner general from 2000-2005 and then as 2005-2010 as under secretary general and commissioner general through 2010. Since 2011, she has been a commissioner on the United Nations Human Rights Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Syria. AbuZayd holds an M.A. degree in Islamic studies from McGill University and was awarded an honorary doctorate and medal for public service from DePauw University, her undergraduate alma mater, which friends and observers have noted translates to a perfect name for her: “nourishing mother.
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Franklin D. Lewis
Franklin D. Lewis grew up in Southern California and attended U.C. Berkeley and the University of Chicago. He previously taught in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Currently, he serves as associate professor of Persian in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and as deputy director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He also served for a decade as president of the American Institute of Iranian Studies. Lewis’s research focuses on Persian and Arabic literature and philology, comparative literature and translation theory, Islamic studies, Sufism, and Baha’i studies. In addition to numerous articles in academic journals and encyclopedias, including the Encyclopaedia Iranica, Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān, and Encyclopedia of Religion, Lewis has published translations of fiction by Iranian writers, including In a Voice of their Own: Stories Written by Iranian Women Since the Revolution of 1979; Zoya Pirzad’s novel, Things We Left Unsaid (2012); and Jamalzadeh’s Masumeh of Shiraz. He has also written on the poet Sanâ’i (1995), and the popular 12th-century Sufi saint, Shaykh Ahmad-e Jâm, The Colossal Elephant and His Spiritual Feats: Shaykh Ahmad-e Jām (co-authored with Heshmat Moayyad; Mazda, 2004). In 2000, Lewis’s Rumi: Past and Present, East and West (Oxford: Oneworld) received the BRISMES British-Kuwaiti Friendship award. The book has thus far been translated into Persian, Turkish and Danish. His translations of Rumi’s poetry appeared in 2008 as Rumi: Swallowing the Sun. Working with Iranian scholar Hassan Lahouti, he has edited and translated the Spiritual Lessons of Borhân al-Din Mohaqqeq of Termez.
Board of Advisors
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Joanna Durkin
Joanna Durkin’s career in education began in her hometown of Taipei, Taiwan in 1980. After moving to the U.S. in 1992, she continued her passionate involvement in education and the health consultation industry. In 1997, she created the American Study Program (ASP), an organization that helped teenage students from Asia study in the U.S., and promoted natural healing with Chinese herbal medicine. Durkin is a member of Kiwanis East Midtown Sacramento, a licensed Life Coach, a DTM in Toastmaster International, president of the American Study Program, and the international education director of Durkin & Chen in Shanghai, China.
Board of directors
Joanna Durkin
Joanna Durkin’s career in education began in her hometown of Taipei, Taiwan in 1980. After moving to the U.S. in 1992, she continued her passionate involvement in education and the health consultation industry. In 1997, she created the American Study Program (ASP), an organization that helped teenage students from Asia study in the U.S., and promoted natural healing with Chinese herbal medicine. Durkin is a member of Kiwanis East Midtown Sacramento, a licensed Life Coach, a DTM in Toastmaster International, president of the American Study Program, and the international education director of Durkin & Chen in Shanghai, China.
Board of directors
Alessandro Prigione
Dr. Alessandro Prigione is a professor of general pediatrics at the Heinrich-Heine-University (HHU) in Germany. Previously at the Max Delbruck Center in Berlin, Dr. Prigione is an expert on various forms of intellectual disability. His team at HHU bridges two different research areas: i) human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-based neuronal disease modeling, and, ii) mitochondrial metabolism.
Board of directors
Alessandro Prigione
Dr. Alessandro Prigione is a professor of general pediatrics at the Heinrich-Heine-University (HHU) in Germany. Previously at the Max Delbruck Center in Berlin, Dr. Prigione is an expert on various forms of intellectual disability. His team at HHU bridges two different research areas: i) human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-based neuronal disease modeling, and, ii) mitochondrial metabolism.
Board of directors
Tata Monfared
Tata Monfared is the founder and president of Senses Cultural, a non-profit organization based in Sacramento, CA, dedicated to promoting the science and treatment of autism in the United States, in Middle Eastern communities, and internationally. She leads Senses Cultural research, education, travel and arts programs designed to promote the science and treatment of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her vision has led to collaborations with a host of countries, universities, and research institutes, and she has personally funded programs to bring together educators in the field of autism. Through her leadership, Senses Cultural has obtained an exemption by the U.S. Department of Treasury to work in sanctioned countries. As a result, Ms. Monfared was able to take a high-ranking U.S. delegation of scientists to Iran, a country where she has held regular workshops, seminars and art exhibits to promote the science of autism and help local communities. In 2018, Senses Cultural signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UC Davis MIND Institute, a research center committed to the awareness, understanding, prevention, care, and cures of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.The MoU facilitates the exchange of academic faculty, students and information with Senses Cultural to promote joint educational, scientific and cultural programs. Together, the two organizations successfully planned the launch of an international stem cell conference in 2021. Ms. Monfared has simultaneously worked with the MIND Institute and with Dr. Alessandro Prigione at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine based in Berlin and now at the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, Germany, to develop a proposal that provides funding for two research positions to carry out genetic studies on autism. The proposal will lead to a larger research grant.
Board of directors, Founder & President of Senses Cultural
Tata Monfared
Tata Monfared is the founder and president of Senses Cultural, a non-profit organization based in Sacramento, CA, dedicated to promoting the science and treatment of autism in the United States, in Middle Eastern communities, and internationally. She leads Senses Cultural research, education, travel and arts programs designed to promote the science and treatment of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her vision has led to collaborations with a host of countries, universities, and research institutes, and she has personally funded programs to bring together educators in the field of autism. Through her leadership, Senses Cultural has obtained an exemption by the U.S. Department of Treasury to work in sanctioned countries. As a result, Ms. Monfared was able to take a high-ranking U.S. delegation of scientists to Iran, a country where she has held regular workshops, seminars and art exhibits to promote the science of autism and help local communities. In 2018, Senses Cultural signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UC Davis MIND Institute, a research center committed to the awareness, understanding, prevention, care, and cures of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.The MoU facilitates the exchange of academic faculty, students and information with Senses Cultural to promote joint educational, scientific and cultural programs. Together, the two organizations successfully planned the launch of an international stem cell conference in 2021. Ms. Monfared has simultaneously worked with the MIND Institute and with Dr. Alessandro Prigione at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine based in Berlin and now at the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, Germany, to develop a proposal that provides funding for two research positions to carry out genetic studies on autism. The proposal will lead to a larger research grant.
Board of directors, Founder & President of Senses Cultural
Randi J.Hagerman
Dr. Hagerman is medical director of the UC Davis MIND Institute and director of the Fragile X Research and Treatment Center. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders and is an internationally respected leader in Fragile X research including fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disشability and the leading single-gene cause of autism.
Board of directors
Randi J.Hagerman
Dr. Hagerman is medical director of the UC Davis MIND Institute and director of the Fragile X Research and Treatment Center. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders and is an internationally respected leader in Fragile X research including fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disشability and the leading single-gene cause of autism.
Board of directors
Setayesh Ganji
Setayesh is a Rome_based visual and multimedia designer who currently got her master in design from Sapienza University. her passion of traveling the world, observing cultures and history, she amalgamated her creativity, passion, and unwavering commitment to excellence which made her a perfect match for senses cultural to communicate messages not only visually striking but also functional.
Visual Designer
Setayesh Ganji
Setayesh is a Rome_based visual and multimedia designer who currently got her master in design from Sapienza University. her passion of traveling the world, observing cultures and history, she amalgamated her creativity, passion, and unwavering commitment to excellence which made her a perfect match for senses cultural to communicate messages not only visually striking but also functional.
Visual Designer
Homeira Azimi
Homeira Azimi, a filmmaker and director, joined the Senses Cultural Foundation and Shokraneh Mavadat Jahani as our Art Ambassador of Autism. Senses Cultural Foundation congratulates this outstanding cinematographer for her achievements to help us attract artists who are passionate about promoting understanding about autism. The presence of artists in our community, and their support for our humanitarian projects, can significantly help reduce the challenges associated with raising a child with autism. Ms. Azimi was born in Tehran. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Literature. She helped produce films such as “Metropolis” and collaborated in the production of “When We All Sleep” produced by the renowned Persian film director Bahram Beyzai. She also worked with Varouzh Karim Masihi in the movie “Doubt” and the exhibition of Nasser Daghahi’s photographs. The movie “Dear Lady and Summer” is about Homeira Azimi’s experiences working on feature films. Ms. Azimi has also played in the movie “In the Mirror” which is a production of the Young Cinema Association.
Filmmaker
Homeira Azimi
Homeira Azimi, a filmmaker and director, joined the Senses Cultural Foundation and Shokraneh Mavadat Jahani as our Art Ambassador of Autism. Senses Cultural Foundation congratulates this outstanding cinematographer for her achievements to help us attract artists who are passionate about promoting understanding about autism. The presence of artists in our community, and their support for our humanitarian projects, can significantly help reduce the challenges associated with raising a child with autism. Ms. Azimi was born in Tehran. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Literature. She helped produce films such as “Metropolis” and collaborated in the production of “When We All Sleep” produced by the renowned Persian film director Bahram Beyzai. She also worked with Varouzh Karim Masihi in the movie “Doubt” and the exhibition of Nasser Daghahi’s photographs. The movie “Dear Lady and Summer” is about Homeira Azimi’s experiences working on feature films. Ms. Azimi has also played in the movie “In the Mirror” which is a production of the Young Cinema Association.
Filmmaker
Shuka Kalantari
Shuka Kalantari was our temporary Director of Communications from April-July 2018. She spearheaded initiatives to further the goals of Senses Cultural and the Academy of Health. Her background is in media strategy, journalism and podcast production. Her work focused on health issues and culture of immigrant communities. Shuka has reported from Turkey, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Thailand, Canada and across the United States. You can follow her on Twitter @skalantari and find out more about her work at shukakalantari.com.
Communications
Shuka Kalantari
Shuka Kalantari was our temporary Director of Communications from April-July 2018. She spearheaded initiatives to further the goals of Senses Cultural and the Academy of Health. Her background is in media strategy, journalism and podcast production. Her work focused on health issues and culture of immigrant communities. Shuka has reported from Turkey, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Thailand, Canada and across the United States. You can follow her on Twitter @skalantari and find out more about her work at shukakalantari.com.
Communications
Ludovic Robert
Ludovic is a London-based documentary photographer who is represented by Wostok Press. He works on environmental and social issues focusing on women and children’s rights. He is currently working on local projects, and supporting Senses Cultural advance the wellbeing of women, children and families suffering from neurological disorders.
Photographer
Ludovic Robert
Ludovic is a London-based documentary photographer who is represented by Wostok Press. He works on environmental and social issues focusing on women and children’s rights. He is currently working on local projects, and supporting Senses Cultural advance the wellbeing of women, children and families suffering from neurological disorders.
Photographer
Azade Mozhdefahbakhsh​
Azadeh is a scholar from Shiraz University and working under the supervision of Dr. Mohamad Nami the brilliant brain specialist from Iran- Shiraz University and Dana Brain Institute.
Scholar
FARIDEH NIROOMAND
Dr. Niroomand believes that autism and the autism spectrum are opportunities to turn individuals into successful members of our community.
Negar Yazdanpanah
Negar is a graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. She has been working with Senses Cultural since 2017.
Graphic designer
Negar Yazdanpanah
Negar is a graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. She has been working with Senses Cultural since 2017.
Graphic designer
Sina Araghi
Sina Araghi is a commercial and documentary photographer based in Los Angeles. Born in Tehran and raised in California, Sina has been photographing everything around him since the age of thirteen. In 2006, Sina completed his studies in Print & Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Sina’s clients have included Giorgio Armani Corp, Elle Décor, Time Inc., La PrensaGrafica, WGSN,SoCiArtsProductions, Vision& Hope, and ChicPeek.com. His work has been exhibited in “Souvenirs From Iran” at Farmani Gallery, the “Flying with the Cage” at Phantom Galleries in LA, and the “heART of Iran” exhibition at the California State Capitol. Sina’s photographs can be found published in the book “Urban Iran” by Mark Batty Publishing and online at www.photobysina.com. Sina supports Senses Cultural mission to advance a peaceful and healthy world through the arts.
Photographer
Sina Araghi
Sina Araghi is a commercial and documentary photographer based in Los Angeles. Born in Tehran and raised in California, Sina has been photographing everything around him since the age of thirteen. In 2006, Sina completed his studies in Print & Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Sina’s clients have included Giorgio Armani Corp, Elle Décor, Time Inc., La PrensaGrafica, WGSN,SoCiArtsProductions, Vision& Hope, and ChicPeek.com. His work has been exhibited in “Souvenirs From Iran” at Farmani Gallery, the “Flying with the Cage” at Phantom Galleries in LA, and the “heART of Iran” exhibition at the California State Capitol. Sina’s photographs can be found published in the book “Urban Iran” by Mark Batty Publishing and online at www.photobysina.com. Sina supports Senses Cultural mission to advance a peaceful and healthy world through the arts.
Photographer
Behrooz Badie
As a young teenage amateur photographer, Behrooz landed the role of shooting and capturing his uncle’s wedding with an old-school Canon in 1984. Nearly three decades later, Behrooz continues to capture people’s powerful moments as a favorite hobby. With two sons away in college, photography has become his life’s focus and that of his wife’s. The couple is often in the midst of chaos on wedding days, though they love every second of it. As a very friendly cast, they share nothing but the utmost respect and love for Senses Cultural’s mission which they help advance through photography.
Photographer
Behrooz Badie
As a young teenage amateur photographer, Behrooz landed the role of shooting and capturing his uncle’s wedding with an old-school Canon in 1984. Nearly three decades later, Behrooz continues to capture people’s powerful moments as a favorite hobby. With two sons away in college, photography has become his life’s focus and that of his wife’s. The couple is often in the midst of chaos on wedding days, though they love every second of it. As a very friendly cast, they share nothing but the utmost respect and love for Senses Cultural’s mission which they help advance through photography.
Photographer
Robert Miller
Robert Miller has over four decades of experience working with families of children with a wide variety of disabilities throughout the world. From 1999 through 2013, he served as Executive Director of the National Fragile X Foundation in the United States. Robert advises the Senses Cultural Academy of Health on matters related to serving families who have children with special needs. He helps organize and coordinate responses to families in need. Robert holds a Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Special Education – Services for Families, from San Francisco State University.
Human Service Consulting
Robert Miller
Robert Miller has over four decades of experience working with families of children with a wide variety of disabilities throughout the world. From 1999 through 2013, he served as Executive Director of the National Fragile X Foundation in the United States. Robert advises the Senses Cultural Academy of Health on matters related to serving families who have children with special needs. He helps organize and coordinate responses to families in need. Robert holds a Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Special Education – Services for Families, from San Francisco State University.
Human Service Consulting
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Derek Wilson
Derek Wilson is a writer and researcher based in Pennsylvania. He received a BS in Biology from Susquehanna University in 2016 and went on to work as a researcher in the biological sciences. During this time, he developed his skills in writing and raising funds for his lab/research. Always passionate about helping others, he now leverages his writing and research skills to raise money for non-profits and other worthy causes.
Content Author
Derek Wilson
Derek Wilson is a writer and researcher based in Pennsylvania. He received a BS in Biology from Susquehanna University in 2016 and went on to work as a researcher in the biological sciences. During this time, he developed his skills in writing and raising funds for his lab/research. Always passionate about helping others, he now leverages his writing and research skills to raise money for non-profits and other worthy causes.
Content Author