Iranian Americans have achieved extraordinary levels of professional and economic success in the United States, consistently ranking among the highest in most surveys of immigrant education and affluence.
A stroll through American life reveals an indelible Iranian-American stamp. Visit any major American university, hospital or investment bank and you will find Iranian-American professors, doctors, and bankers making contributions to the education, health, and economic welfare of our country. Visit any major technology company and you are likely to find Iranian-American programmers, software engineers, and often CEO's playing a key role in America's information revolution.
Of course, it does not end there. Iranian Americans work everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to small, entrepreneurial businesses that hold the promise of becoming the next GE or IBM. Iranian Americans have helped build the telecommunications infrastructure that bring us closer, the sports stadiums that provide us with entertainment, and the real estate developments that provide us with housing. From Wall Street to Main Street, from Silicon Valley to the Shenandoah Valley, the impact of Iranian Americans on American economic life is undisputed.
Despite the Iranian-American contribution to the engine of American economic growth, the community's impact on our civil society - on our politics, our media, our advocacy organizations, our social institutions - is a less impressive story.
Three structural factors have contributed to Iranian Americans' lack of participation in American civil society.
First, organizational life within the Iranian-American community has tended to be scattered with no national organization available to facilitate networking and the utilization of economies of scale.
Second, Iranian Americans have lacked the organizational structure to tell their story in their own words. Instead, the activities of the Iranian regime have tended to color Iranian-Americans' image more than their own actions.
Third, Iranian Americans have shied away from civic and community life for the last two decades, causing a gap in the knowledge about the mechanisms and procedures of American civic life.
These factors have held community members back from excelling in American civic life. As the community grows and a new generation of young Iranian Americans emerges, the need for addressing these structural factors becomes ever more pressing.
That's where we come in: the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) seeks to fill that need.
NIAC believes that Iranian Americans have the ability to play a key role in American civil society with the same levels of success and professionalism that they have played in American economic, academic, technological and scientific life.
In big ways and small, Iranian Americans have woven themselves into the fabric of American life. We at NIAC hope to help tighten the knots already woven and help create new patterns that would forever solidify the Iranian-American patch of the great American quiltwork.