Washington, DC – Each year, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) connects talented Iranian-American students with Congressional offices and Committees through our Summer Fellowships Program. Having gone through a rigorous selection and interview process, NIAC is proud to welcome our newest round of enthusiastic students.
This program is an important opportunity for motivated Iranian-American students to contribute their talents to Congressional offices as they learn first-hand how government functions while developing the skills and knowledge necessary to become the leaders of tomorrow. It’s due to the support of the Parsa Community Foundation and former NIAC fellow Lily Sarafan that these opportunities are made available.
Our Senior Fellows, Shumita Basu and Lily Emamian, who are preparing to manifest their studies into action, have much to gain by putting their diverse skills into practice on the Hill.
Shumita Basu, a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Major and Modern Middle Eastern Studies Minor at The University of Pennsylvania, was galvanized to action by her experience with “bizarre and often inaccurate caricatures” of Iranian culture during her teenage years. This passion to dispel misconceptions led her on a quest to Iran, armed with a home video camera, to interview young Iranians in an attempt to bridge the gap between the Middle East and West. Inspired by the use of “citizen journalism” found in the Arab Spring revolutions, Shumita found her niche in writing, filming, and editing for The Daily Pennsylvanian newspaper. Her experience and agenda to shed the much-needed light on the Iranian culture and perspectives make her a fantastic fellow to represent the Iranian-American community on Capitol Hill.
Lily Sharzad Emamian studies International Studies at the American University with a focus on Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy. Invigorated by the challenge Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi extended to her generation at a speaking event to “shape a new focus on achieving equality and justice,” Lily’s pursuits were set into motion to realize this future. Raised bi-culturally “with the words of Rumi and Walt Whitman,” Lily developed a unique perspective of the Iranian culture, from both the inside and outside. Through dedication and interest in the interactions of cultures and nations through foreign policy, she was able to conduct research as an intern with The New Yorker Magazine and also worked directly with the first Inspector General of Homeland Security, Clark Kent Ervin, at the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Program. The experience gained through adeptly addressing the ins-and-outs of running a high profile conference, coupled with first-hand experience on Capitol Hill will give her the tools to jumpstart a path into public service.
NIAC strongly believes in the importance of civic engagement and is committed to providing opportunities for Iranian Americans to contribute to the long tradition of American democracy by being active, informed citizens. Capitol Hill is fortunate to receive the addition of these able, passionate, and experienced Iranian-American students. We wish them the best as they prepare to embark on the Summer 2012 Fellowship Program.