Candidates for the academic year 2003-2004

Dear PSA members,

Thanks for all your votes and it is the time to announce the election results for the next year PSA board.

I wish the new board and rest of the members a great year, full of accomplishments.

Best regards,
Arash Altoontash

President (1 position) Votes
Abtin Keshavarzian --
Mona Jarrahi --
Alireza Kashef --
Pooya Sarabandi --
Board Member (4 positions) Votes
Abtin Keshavarzian --
Mona Jarrahi --
Hesameddin Aslani --
Mahan Esfahani --
Mehdi Mohseni --
Ali Faghfuri --
Pooya Sarabandi --
Alireza Kashef --
Ombudsperson (1 position) Votes
Sina Zahedi --
Board Member

As a candidate for PSA 2003 election, I will do my best to contribute to the PSA in the following ways:

I hope to take and implement your ideas for making this a remarkable year for the Stanford Persian community.
Board Member

Looking back on the past year as a board member, I have realized that we have achieved some innovations, have met some challenges, and still have a great deal of work ahead of us. In the sense that one of our missions is to provide support for Iranians at Stanford, I feel that we have been doing our job, but specifically in terms of providing a positive forum for undergraduates, I am the first to say that work in that respect is still to be done. If I am elected, I promise to make the involvement of undergraduates one of my main priorities. I feel that as a Persian students' association, we are confident in being an organization for relatively recent arrivals from abroad, but we have fallen short in understanding how and why undergraduates, most of whom have been in this country for all their lives, and many of whom are indeed torn between two cultures, would or would not be involved in the PSA.

Furthermore, I feel that I can provide a good balance not only as an undergraduate myself but as a person who has had experience on the board. As I enumerated in my short speech during the election dinner, there are so many hours in a day and we have only so much money, and so I feel that we need to pace ourselves in coming to terms with what we can and cannot provide for our members. We need to keep in mind that PSA is for students first, and it is our responsibility that we keep it that way by always making all students comfortable as members of the organization. To be frank, while I support the efforts we make to reach to the greater community of Stanford affiliates and friends, I regret that sometimes there are more of them than actual students in our events, and this is a shortcoming on our part which becomes painfully apparent when "associates" take advantage of our provision of a solid community but do not know any of the members and do not know who the board members are.

Lastly, I hope that another priority for the following year will be to organize more informal events which still possess the intellectual, recreational, and/or communal aspects of some of our more "thought-out" activities.

Thank you,
Mahan Esfahani, Class of 2005.

Board Member

My name is 'Ali Faghfuri' a second year PhD Candidate in EE Dept. I'm running for a position on the board of PSA.

The Persian community of Stanford University, not so large, is very diverse. We came from very different backgrounds; some of us may not been in Iran for several years or at all, while the others just entered the United Sates. But the fact remains unchanged, we are all joined this community, PSA, to show our respect if not love for our culture and heritage. I believe that our community has much more resources and is much more powerful than what it seems to be. But sadly, I can see that our small group is divided to even smaller and completely separated sub-groups. I feel the need to strengthen our relationship inside the Persian community, based on our very important bond, our 2500 years of civilization and culture.

My plan is to help uniting our community as much as possible. To be more specific:

Of course the future board also need to continue the great work of current and previous PSA boards of trying to introduce the Persian culture to other members of Stanford University through participating in multi-cultural events and organizing of gatherings and events.

Board Member/President

I see Persian Student Association as a great platform to provide a friendly environment for Persian community at Stanford via organizing different events. I really enjoyed different events organized by PSA during the last years.

I think I have the opportunity and motivation to improve PSA activities in different aspects. First, the same as pervious years I want to continue to organize different fun events, such as movie series, BBQs, etc. These events will give us the chance to take a few hours out of our intense study/ research program to relax and communicate with others. I would also like to increase PSA contribution to different international activities, such as International festivals and International Gala sponsored by different student organizations at Stanford. Finally, I will try to incorporate other members' opinions in organizing different events.

I look forward to serving the PSA with your support for the coming school year and will do my best to make this year a unique year in the history of PSA activities.

Board Member/President

As a member of PSA I am very proud that we have such a strong organization here in Stanford. Over the course of time, many valuable accomplishments have been made due to the efforts of the previous boards; yet it is the responsibility of the future boards to address some shortcomings that are still perceived.

In general, the activities in PSA can be categorized into two different groups: efforts made to improve our reputation among people non-affiliated with our country and those made to make life most exciting to all our Persian folks here in Stanford, regardless of where they've been raised and whether they use Farsi as their first language or not.

As an Iranian, I always talk to people here and there and try to disabuse them of their incorrect visions of our country. It is sad to talk to people and soon realize that they know almost nothing about our country; so let us not try too hard to familiarize people with each and every aspect of our traditions but try to at least familiarize them with the very basics. We are a great nation and deserve to be respected and this will not be truly achieved unless we try to educate people ourselves.

There are many other issues that could have better solutions than current ones. Our annual parties do not still receive as much attention and appreciation as they should and certain measures could be taken to improve them. Our official website, though good enough, could still be much improved and more organized help could be provided to the newcomers in settling at Stanford as well as hunting for financial support, summer internships, or even permanent jobs. We have a lot of fun programs during the year but unfortunately the focus is mostly on old traditional interests. Why not try to include new things as well? I, personally, enjoyed my first pool, golf, and bowling experiences here in Palo Alto and would like to share the fun with others.

I would also like to improve our relationships with other universities and be more in touch with the Persians over there. Having lived a couple of months in Berkeley together with the friends and other contacts I have there, brings UC Berkeley to the top of my list but there are other universities as well that we could start building new relations with. We have a popular annual ski trip to Tahoe and wouldn't it be great if we used this opportunity to broaden the scope of our friendships by co-organizing the event with Persian associations in other universities?!

I am very excited to serve in the next board and try to bring the dreams we all have for our dear organization into reality and I would thus highly appreciate any kind of supports from PSA members to achieve this goal.

Board Member/President

Be naame daanaay-e bozorg-e hasti bakhsh

My name is Abtin Keshavarzian, and I am currently a second year PhD candidate at Electrical Engineering Department. I came to Stanford two years ago; however, I do recall the first PSA event that I participated in, where I was astonished by the huge number of Persian students here on campus. Later I found out that PSA was founded by small group of Iranian students but has grown to be one of the largest cultural student organizations in Stanford University. In my opinion, this is a genuine accomplishment, and what makes our community special is the fact that we are together,we help each other and do care about one another.

Even though, we individually might have different beliefs, religions, and opinions. we all share one common trait, which is the love for our amazing country. The country which has more than 4000 years of civilization, remarkable culture, outstanding literature and great people full of passion and wisdom.

As a candidate for the Persian student association board, my main ambition is to help build a positive and welcoming atmosphere in our small community such that every member, independent of his or her background, feels a sense of belonging to the PSA. I am well aware of the fact that while this goal may seem trivial, achieving it,in real life, requires lots of hard workand tolerance. We should all try to create a sense of unity within the Iranian community at Stanford, learn to respect one another values and understand that we all have our differences. In my opinion this task can be achieved by:

  1. Planning events that are related to our common traditions so that everybody can be part of, like Persian new year (Norooz), and Yalda, or general social gatherings like Persian movie series, and weekly lunch.
  2. Having dissimilar types of events for different groups within our community. It is important for all of us to understand that quarterly parties, concerts may be appealing for some when other members might prefer poetry nights, or eftar dinners.

At the end I want to thank the previous board members, especially the board members of this year which I honestly believe were the best representatives of our group. You have my word that if I get the honor of serving Persian students at Stanford as a board member or PSA president, I do my best to follow their footsteps and expand the excellent reputation they created for our PSA.

Board Member

What I have in my mind to do:

Following up on the visa issues and looking for solutions Inviting Iranians in the area for talks about their professions or any other useful subject.

and make next year as eventful and exciting as the last one we had (thanks to the cool and energetic PSA board)

Board Member/Presidnet

In the very beginning of PSA's constitution, it is indicated that PSA is a non-political volunteer student organization. I think staying in this framework does not mean that there should not be any political activity involved in PSA's agenda. As an Iranian (Persian), each of us has his/her own opinion and orientation about what is going around the world and if it is right or wrong. This is simply a part of culture in which we have grown up. No matter where we born (in Iran, US or any other country), we all have something to say when we are being asked.

Each year in PSA, we have several events we name them cultural events. Do you really think the only meaning of cultural event is to introduce Persian music, dance, or poetry to others or exhibit our beautiful art crafts? Don't you think beside all these, we have to show how beautiful we think and act? I do not mean to cross the lines and insult others, I do not mean to have rallies under PSA names. What I mean is to be more involved in activities whereby we can rehabilitate our dignity, our glory, and our refulgence. I do not want to fantasize; but I do believe, as PSA members, we should show our true Iranian characters and be what we are, when we gather together in small friendly groups and express our ideas, dreams and thoughts.

Last year, our friends tried to keep an eye on visa problems that influenced many of our lives. That was a beautiful example of political activities consistent with PSA's manner. I strongly want to continue their work and I am truly open to any idea that we can persuade it without crossing the lines. As the last word, while I am quite keen to continue with our current cultural events and social activities,I hope to be able to increase our contribution to activities that we have not been challenged yet.


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