“For the sake of our kids, we need to promote and protect our Iranian identity,” declared Marjan Seirafi-Pour who has been inducted into the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee to improve the understanding of the Middle East today in Oklahoma schools.
Despite her busy life as a parent, full time PhD student, respitory therapist and Chair of the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council, Seirafi-Pour has made time to be “an advocate for expanding an accurate perspective of Iranian culture in American schools.”
Mrs. Seirafi-Pour has been living in the United States for 24 years after leaving Iran in 1984, during the Iran-Iraq War. She has two daughters who have motivated her to work towards creating an accurate and positive view of Iranians in American classrooms.
Her involvement began after her youngest daughter came home from school asking why, an old video her teacher showed in class differed so greatly from the Iran she traveled to. The video, with images of goat herders and dirt roads, is obviously a narrow view of a country that also boasts skyscrapers and marble condominiums. This lack of accurate representation in American schools was disturbing to Seirafi-Pour. She began her journey to update the school’s media by speaking to teachers, then principles, and eventually to the Governor of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s Governor, Brad Henry, seized upon Mrs. Seirafi-Pour’s passion for improving the value of student education and knowledge of Iranian culture by nominating her to the Oklahoma Textbook Committee. She advised other Iranian-American parents to be persistent and to “not get angry when you see wrong information.” Mrs. Seirafi-Pour emphasized that it is very important to talk to the school officials and teachers to express whatever concerns one has. With “persistent communication, eventually you will be able to make changes.”
NIAC commends her in her efforts and congratulates her in the appointment to the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee!