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Leyla Shams

Founder, Chai and Conversation

Originally trained as an architect at the University of Texas at Austin, Leyla Shams started Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation a little over ten years ago as a side project. She saw it as a chance to introduce people to the Persian language and culture in a fun way to counter the negative news about Iran in the years following 9/11. Since then, Chai and Conversation has grown into a full time endeavor — along with her teammate Chadwick Wood, they now produce cultural videos, conversational Persian lessons, Persian reading and writing lessons, as well as lessons covering Persian poetry. In addition, Chai and Conversation produces the series ‘Raising Neem-Roonis’- about how to pass on the Persian language and culture to the next generation of the Iranian diaspora, and ‘Growing Up Irooni’, about the challenges and opportunities that comes with growing up in the diaspora.

Website: Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation