PSA Elections 1997

As of tonight (Thursday, March 6th), only 35 out of 76 PSA members have participated in the 1997-98 PSA Officers Election. According to the PSA Constitution, since (slightly) less than 50% of PSA members have voted, the period for vote casting is extended by one week. Those members who haven't voted yet can cast their votes by Thursday, March 13th at 9PM.

Ombudsperson
Arash Hassibi (arash@isl.stanford.edu)

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How you can vote

A list of nominees with their statement of purposes and links to their webpages is given below. There are 3 nominations for "President" (1 slot), 8 nominations for "Member of the Board" (4 slots), and 2 nominations for "Ombudsperson" (1 slot).

The 3 candidates for "President" are also candidates for "Member of the Board." If you vote for a candidate for "President," your vote will also be counted as a "Member of the Board" vote for the candidate. Therefore, there is no point in voting for your choice of "President" for "Member of the Board."

The nominees for "Ombudsperson" are also nominees for "Member of the Board." It is OK if you vote for the same person for "Member of the Board" and "Ombudsperson."

You can cast your votes (1 President, 4 Board Members, 1 Ombudsperson) either by email to me (arash@isl.stanford.edu) or by secret ballot. To cast your votes by secret ballot you can stop by at my office (Durand Bldg., Room 110) on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 4PM-6PM. If you do not find these times convenient please send me email to arrange a proper time.

The vote casting officially began today (Thursday, February 27th) at 9PM and will continue over a period of one week, i.e, until Thursday, March 6th at 9PM. I highly encourage you to vote during this week so there would be no need to extend the vote casting period for another week.

Ombudsperson
Arash Hassibi (arash@isl.stanford.edu)

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Nominees for PSA 1997-98 (in alphabetical order)

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Shahram Abdollahi (Member of the board, Ombudsperson) (shahram@damavand.Stanford.EDU )

I think PSA has two major missions:

1- To bring students with different backgrounds, but of Iranian descent, closer together. Closer interaction of Iranian undergraduates and graduates falls into this category. Since most of the Iranian undergraduates have been born in US (or lived for the most part of their lives in US) and Iranian garduate students have mostly been raised in Iran, they can show each other the good and bad aspects of Iranian and American cultures. This interaction can take place through parties, sport events, group dinners, ....

2- To show Stanford Community and to a lesser degree to Bay Area metropolitan area the real Iranian culture. According to current situation that all the media are trying to image Iranians as corrupt people, it'svery important to show people that Iranians in fact inherit a very ancient and rich culture which is unique in many aspects. They should know that Iranians don't speak Arabic (as many people believe!) and it's not just some place in Middle East.

I think so far PSA was successful in these two aspects and year after year its activities are increasing. Since not that much people candidated themselves for PSA board membership, I felt that its my duty to candidate myself in order to be a more active part of the above mentioned activities. If I am elected, then I'll have the opportunity to serve this very IMPORTANT organization and if not, I'll be glad that PSA is going to continue it's growth in the following year.

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Tabassom Ansari (Member of the board) (tabassom@smile.Stanford.EDU )

I would like to nominate myself for the board member position of PSA. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to be helpful to distinguish our rich culture and to introduce it to others. I also believe that PSA shoud be active in various social events such as sports, parties and gathering. Using these activities, PSA can encourage the interaction and provide opportunities to meet other Iranians and get to know each other better.

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Ramin Farjad (President, Member of the board) (farjad@turbo.Stanford.EDU )

I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to present myself, my motivations and my future goals for our association. First to present myself; I am a third year grad student in EE department and I finished my undergrad studies in Iran. I have lived in Iran for a major part of my life before coming to US about 3 years ago.

This year, as a current board-member of PSA who has been involved in most of the club activities, I personally enjoyed helping initiate, taking the responsibility of and sharing in PSA events and activities. I have always tried to show our association as an outstanding and active group especially in the Iranain community of bay-area and I believe I have the motivation and interest to run and represent PSA in furure.

My objectives for future PSA plans will be mostly focused on programs that first of all encourages the iranian community of Stanford, undergrads and grads, to come together, get to know each other and be united as a group with common roots and ethnicity. The next step is to hold some larger events and programs to represent our rich culture to other people from other nationalities. At the same time these programs will attract other iranains in the area to know more about our club and the type of activities that we are doing which will help increase the publicity and credit of PSA which is a big advantage for a growing club like ours.

On the other hand, since during these 3 years I have been able to make good connections with a large group of iranians in the area, including the presidents of other iranian organizations and other important people, I believe I can take advantage of this opportunity to achieve my goals and objectives and serve PSA in a better and more efficient fashion.

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Ali Hajimiri (President, Member of the board) (hajimiri@smile.Stanford.EDU )

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my candidacy for presidency of PSA. I am a third year Ph.D. candidate in the department of electrical engineering at Stanford university. I have received my masters degree from Stanford and I have done my undergraduate work back in Iran at Sharif University of Technology.

Although I have never had the privilege to serve as a PSA officer before, I am well acquainted with PSA and its activities. I have been actively involved in last year Shahram Nazeri concert and I also initiated PSA's homepage.

Should I be chosen as the Authorized Representative (President) of PSA, I will focus my attention on cultural programs that introduce our culture to others. I believe this is the most important objective PSA should have at this time. While I will try to have some recreational activities, such as ski trips, group hiking, biking, rafting trips and dance parties, I will try to put PSA's main objective at proper presentation of Iranian culture to the Stanford community. This includes but is not limited to invitation of guest speakers, Persian traditional music and dance, poem recital nights and Farsi classes.

Considering the fact that graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford comprise two different backgrounds, it has been traditionally difficult for PSA to offers activities that is of interest to both of them. One of my objectives is to narrow the gap between graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford. I believe this will be a fruitful unification of people with different points of view and at the same time common backgrounds.

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Salar Kamangar (President, Member of the board) (salar@leland.Stanford.EDU )

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself, and to describe my motivations and qualifications in running for the PSA presidency. I am a premedical undergraduate, and have been involved with the Persian Student Association for three years. I am deeply grateful to this organization for the positive impact it has made on my undergraduate years. Through PSA-sponsored initiatives, such as last year's Farsi classes, last spring's scholarship recital, and this quarter's ski trip, I have developed a greater appreciation for my Persian heritage. More importantly, I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with an amazing group of Persian undergraduate and graduate students. I have benefited a great deal from my association with the Stanford Persian community, and it is for this reason that I seek to serve the PSA.

I have envisioned serving the PSA as a board member since I first became familiar with the organization three years ago. I never considered serving as president until just this week, upon the advice of several other members. I understand the responsibilities associated with this position, and am motivated and committed to working with the board and the membership in this capacity. I was involved in the organization of last year's Farsi classes, and assisted last year's president, Masoud Zargari, in preparation for the spring scholarship recital. In addition, I have worked closely with the ASSU and the Stanford Daily as a leader in another student organization.

I have been very impressed by the leaders of the club over the last few years, and I have always admired their strong command and understanding of our culture, history, and language. It is precisely because of this admiration that I had been hesitant in running for president. Although I was born in Tehran, I have spent most of my years in the US., without the benefit of a strong Persian community. It had been my concern that I would not be able to serve the PSA properly without a stronger mastery of Farsi and a better understanding of our history and culture. I addressed these concerns to Rasool and Mahmood Reza, and I realize now that I would be part of a very capable board whose contributions I can depend on, and whose combined abilities are the key to a successful term.

I would also like to mention a few unique qualities that I feel I can bring to our association. In the past, a noticeable division has been evident between the undergraduate and graduate populations of the PSA. As an undergraduate with graduate student friends, I feel that I am in a unique position to bridge this gap. I would begin by actively recruiting undergraduates after searching for new names in past freshman picture books. I also hope to work with the board in addressing one of the main constitutional objectives of the PSA: to `promote an understanding of Persian culture,' especially with the rest of the Stanford community. Better publicity and coverage from the Stanford Daily is always helpful, but I propose the following two areas as targets for a longer-lasting solution in meeting this objective: Farsi classes and undergraduate CIV courses.

In comparison to universities of similar size and resource, Stanford is among the few schools with the shameful record of offering no Farsi classes. Through the hard-work of the PSA and Babak Ebrahimian, one Farsi class was maintained for all three quarters of the past year. While this is real progress, it is not enough. The PSA must steadfastly work towards the establishment of a permanent Farsi program with different levels of language and literature instruction. The results from last year's classes suggest that there is interest by non-Persians in learning Farsi, but that a permanent language program is required. Although a permanent Farsi program will likely take several years to establish, I feel it should become the responsibility of the PSA to maintain pressure on the university in establishing these classes.

The CIV courses are another way that I feel we can have a more direct impact in promoting a better understanding of our culture. CIV is a three quarter sequence of literature and history lectures, organized into several different tracks, that must be taken by all entering freshman. One of the main objectives of the CIV program is to provide a multicultural perspective into a wide range of world cultures. Unfortunately, it almost entirely ignores the history and literature of the Persians. For example, although Greek and Roman and Indian histories are discussed at great length, there is almost no mention of the Persian empire. Although books about African and South American cultures are thoroughly studied, there is almost no mention of our amazing literary tradition. This is not acceptable. Again, it is up to the PSA to ensure that the CIV committees know of this concern, and it is up to the PSA to maintain pressure until changes are made.

Finally, I hope to work with the board in planning events to which the entire membership can look forward. I suggest the design of a detailed survey in order to gauge member interest in the different possible kinds of activities. I hope that we can continue to sponsor major events such as the Sufi program and the Shahram Nazeri recital. I am sure that we can work towards many future ski trips that will be as successful as the one organized by Mahmood Reza this year. I look forward to planning more frequent group dinners, and to arranging for more speakers on Iranian issues. In short, I am very excited about the possibility of serving the PSA, and I hope that you share my vision and enthusiasm as well. Thank you for attention!

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Reza Kasnavi (Member of the board) (kasnavi@leland.Stanford.EDU )

You might not want to vote for me if you're not a hiker, biker, skier or swimmer. Because I'm planning a lot of these things for next year. Also, I guarantee a great year for dancers, at least two big parties with DJ and live band. If you like wild parties, as wild as one could imagine, you should definitely vote for me (also come and talk to me after the election regardless of the result).

As for the spiritual/cultural stuff, cool. But, please be aware that I strongly support freedom of speech and religion (agnostics and atheists are well included), and also equality of genders.

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Farid Nemati (Member of the board) (farid@persia.Stanford.EDU )

I haven't had many (if any!) extracurricular activities during my years in school. This is the first time that I have decided to actively join and participate in a student organization. So I don't have much experience! But I have the motive. I believe that PSA, during its course of existence, has had lots of achievements. Introducing Iranian students to each other, demonstrating our rich culture and art to others, having outdoor activities such as the parties and ski trips just to name a few. I look at PSA as an entity through which we can represent our existence as a unique community (the Persian community) at Stanford. I feel it's time for me to participate and help keeping PSA as active and warm as it has been so far.

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Hamid Rategh (Member of the board, Ombudsperson) (hamid@loveboat.Stanford.EDU )

I did not think about becoming part of a PSA board of directory until very recently. This will be my first experience in directing student activities. However, I have some ideas. I plan to help PSA to follow on with its past trend of having fun activities. But I would not limit myself to what we have had so far. We need to be more involved in having athletic activities such as tennis matches, ski trips and so forth . One other thing that I believe we still need to work on is to add a little bit of Iranian spices into our programs. By Iranian spices I mean, having activities to introduce and argue Iran and Iranian musics, culture, history, religion, or any other thing we find people interested to know more about.

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