Candidates for the academic year 2006-2007

Dear friends,

The PSA board election period is officially over now. I am glad to let you know that I have collected a total of 90 votes. Let me, once again, thank you all for voting for this election.

Please find the election results below.

Congratulations to our next year board. I wish them a very successful year.

Sina Sohangir
Ombudsperson 2005-2006

President (1 position) Votes
Narges Bani-Asadi 44
Shahriar Azizpour 40
Board Member (4 positions) Votes
Narges Bani-Asadi 60
Bita Nezamfar 53
Shahriar Azizpour 45
Pedram Lajevardi 42
Amir Ali Kia 41
Naeim Semsarilar 40
Mahnoosh Nik-Ahd 32
Seyed Ali Madanizadeh 30
Mohammad Moravvej Farshi 24
Mohammad Hekmat 21
Ombudsperson (1 position) Votes
Ali Faghfuri --

Please submit your votes to Sina Sohangir (please put "PSA elections 2006" in the subject line).
Select one candidate for president, four candidates for board members, and one candidate for ombudsperson.

Board Member/President
Graduate, Management Science and Engineering
Email: azizpour AT stanford DOT edu

Dear fellow PSA members,
My name is Shahriar Azizpour Shirsavar. I'm a 4th year graduate student working on my phd in Management Science & Engineering. Before coming to Stanford I finished my BS in Civil Engineering at Sharif University of Technology.

I'd like to get straight to the point, and declare my goals directly from the very beginning. I'm not going to write a list of a million different activities and events, and make a bunch of promises to the people, and then end up not fulfilling most of them. We need to be practical.

I want to become president of the PSA for one very simple reason. My goal is to reform the structure of the PSA. The current way in which the board operates is inefficient and is the main factor limiting the increase in the number of PSA activities. Although it's unintentional, due to the current structure of the PSA board, usually the end result is that the current board of five members ends up being required to make all of the decisions and do all of the work alone. Unfortunately this sort of structure has resulted in limiting the scope of the organization, and has resulted in conflict between members. Since the five board members must make every single decision together and all five must work on every single event together, the resources of the organization, both in terms of time, manpower, and funds are limited. Thus it's only natural that conflict will arise between members with different interests because of the need for them to compete against each other to use the PSA's resources.

So I propose the following structural change:

  1. The structure of the PSA needs to become more decentralized like most other student organizations on campus. We need to form subcommittees within the psa board, and form a larger officer core. Although we'll have 5 elected board members, we can appoint non-elected PSA members to preside over the different subcommittees. As an example, we can have separate subcomittees for social events, parties, cultural events, sports activities, discussion group, Iran Awareness, Business and Entrepreneurship, and so on. Each subcommittee will be composed of a director of it's own each appointed by the psa board and each director will recruit a team of people to work with. Each subcommittee will be in charge of planning events and executing them. Of course they will consult with the board in order to get overall approval and endorsement of the PSA. This is all in line with the current PSA constitution.
  2. PSA board meetings should be open to the general psa body in order that members realize that the psa is their organization. If only five people are allowed to make all decisions regarding every event, then it's unreasonable to expect nonelected psa members to help organize and create events.

Although the previous PSA boards have done a great job, I truly believe that the PSA is not operating at it's true potential and is capable of doing much more. I want to become president with this primary goal in mind. If you are satisfied with the status quo, then you shouldn't vote for me. Please vote for me only if you would like to see the PSA take advantage of the large membership and potential it contains, if you would like to work to take advantage of this diversity, and if you are willing to see some reasonable changes. As president of the PSA, I will do my best to work hard so that our organization can reach the true status that it deserves, not only on campus, but hopefully to make it a leading organization in the greater Bay Area Iranian community.

Board Member/President
Graduate, Electrical Engineering
Email: nargesb AT stanford DOT edu

Dear Fellow Persian Students,

I am a second year graduate student at EE Department. I completed my undergraduate studies at the ECE Department of University of Tehran where I was involved in many sorts of student activities, including representing Students' Educational council for three years, editor-in-chief of IEEE student branch magazine for more than a year, and organizing the literature studies group at the ECE Department.

From the very first days of coming to Stanford I was warmly welcomed by the Persian community and have received kindness and support from many of PSA members that helped me through the difficult days and made dealing with "ghorbat" much easier. Like many of you, I have enjoyed the encouraging environment of PSA, and tried to contribute to it by initiating some lecture and discussion sessions and cooperating in the "New Student Support" project. I have also helped in organizing the "Persian Dance" class recently.

I am running for the PSA presidency to uphold the legacy of PSA and contribute to our great community. As Persian students in Stanford, we share many concerns, problems, and interests. More importantly our differences are also a great source of strength, which help us learn from one another. I will try to make PSA an encouraging and welcoming environment where all of the members can take advantage of these opportunities and become engaged and interested to participate.

I would like to continue to organize events that foster our shared interests and support the various groups of members to promote their favorite events. Some of the events that I will try to plan for include:

As a candidate for the presidency, I know that no single event would be useful without participation of PSA members and I am more than happy to hear your ideas and suggestions to make our community stronger and more influential and our lives at Stanford more fruitful and enjoying.

Narges Bani Asadi

Board Member
Graduate, Electrical Engineering
Email: hekmat AT stanford DOT edu

My name is Mohammad Hekmat. I joined Stanford in September 2005 after finishing my M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia in Canada. I did my B.S. at Sharif University of Technology and for those of you who are interested I am 78i. To give you some information on my background in extracurricular activities, my first involvement in social events took place in Sharif as part of IMSEE coordination committee in 1999 right after I entered the university. In 2001 I served as the vice-chair and subsequently the chair of IEEESB in Sharif. In my last year of undergraduate studies I was elected a member of Student Council of EE department focusing on educational issues of the students. There was virtually no interruption in my activities after my graduation from Sharif for as soon as I moved to UBC, I joined ECEGSA (ECE Grad Students Association) as a member of the executive board where I was involved in organizing departmental events such as Persian new year party, Christmas party, mini-concert, etc.

As for my plans for PSA I should emphasize that even though my previous involvements encompass a wide range of activities, specifically for PSA, I would prefer to focus on CULTURAL activities. In fact, to me PSA is a place for people who all have one thing in common: they all share the love of their homeland IRAN and PSA's responsibility is to take advantage of this asset to create an environment in which all our fellow Iranian students can contribute. Of course, the target of such a program should be not only strengthening the cultural bonds we have as Iranians but also to introduce our culture and country to other fellows in Stanford. There are lots of opportunities that can be used as vehicles for cultural development. In particular, having regular programs on Persian art (specifically, Persian music and movies) and organizing events on Persian national occasions can be two of many possibilities that may keep all our Iranian students together and are good reasons to meet once in a while and socialize.

Should I be elected by your vote as a member of PSA board, I will do my best to make PSA a place for all Persian students in Stanford to enjoy, relax and make everlasting friendships."

Mohammad Hekmat

Board Member
Graduate, Mechanical Engineering
Email: akia AT stanford DOT edu

My name is AmirAli Kia and I am a second year graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. It has been almost a year and half that I am here at Stanford. In this very short time, I have been able to make many good friends and I owe this to our glorious Persian community. I believe that PSA board members, as representatives of this community, should firmly work to keep it growing every year. It is an ambition that can be accomplished only by honoring what we share as Persian students.

I think of PSA as a small society that is a token of our beloved Iran. I have always been concerned about the vision that people from other countries have about Iran. I have no doubt that PSA can correct this vision by holding cultural and social events. I think that PSA should hold extended events to bring non-Persian audiences to serve that purpose perfectly.

Besides, it is still not a long time that I have left Iran. Hence, I can still feel new students' experience during their first year here. That is why I cooperated in preparing a booklet for new students last year and I think there is still more to do to provide them with basics to start a life here.

I am looking forward to get the honor of serving as a board member and follow the steps of those who have done it perfectly all these years.

AmirAli Kia

Board Member
Graduate, Electrical Engineering
Email: pdrm AT stanford DOT edu

My name is Pedram Lajevardi. I am a second year master's student in Electrical Engineering. I joined Stanford in September 2004 after receiving my bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia. I love Stanford's PSA because it is the place for all Iranians to meet one another, enjoy each other's company, and celebrate Persian culture.

I believe it is important to recognize that our community consists of students with distinct backgrounds, and that the board can serve them best if it focuses on their similarities rather than differences. Therefore, I will focus on cultural activities, outdoors events, and common traditions such as Norooz.

Stanford's PSA is an invaluable resource to current and new students, and I hope the board can make it even better by bringing the PSA alumni to PSA events. I also believe that PSA has to interact more with other student organizations to learn about their culture and also expose them to our rich and great culture.

I look forward to serving the PSA students.

Board Member
Graduate, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME)
Email: seyedali AT stanford DOT edu

Hello Everybody,

I’m Seyed Ali Madanizadeh, a first year graduate student at ICME. I received my BS from Sharif University of Tech in EE. Through the years in Sharif University I was active in a student group named RESANA, which published a monthly magazine as well organizing research talks for students, organizing different kinds of events, journeys, etc.

What I believe about PSA can be summarized as a group with the following objectives:

My goals in the PSA board with the help of the rest of the board and PSA community is:

Best Regards,
Seyed Ali Madanizadeh

Board Member
Graduate, Petroleum Engineering
Email: moravvej AT stanford DOT edu

My name is Mohammad Moravvej. I am a first year graduate student in the Petroleum Engineering department. I finished my undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering and then Petroleum Engineering in Sharif University in Tehran.

My interest in the PSA actually started last year before I attend Stanford. Last year, I after being admitted to Stanford, I found PSA's web site. I was so delighted to see that there is such an active Iranian group with so many programs such as, a lecture series presenting Iran to the Stanford community, a regular International Movie Series, bimonthly discussions sessions, and joint events with other student organizations.

I have decided to run for the PSA board in order to help fulfill the current vision which I have of the PSA which includes:

  1. Having events in a way that could help our community be united by making strong connections among us.
  2. Introducing Iran as it is to the Stanford community and extinguish the current misunderstandings.
  3. Making lifelong friends.

I believe that we, the PSA board, along with the help of each and every community member can achieve these goals which will lead to a much better and fulfilling experience during our stay in Stanford.

Mohammad Moravvej

Board Member
Undergraduate, Human Biology
Email: mahnoosh AT stanford DOT edu

Salaam, my name is Mahnoosh Nik-Ahd. I am a Human Biology major graduating next year. First of all, I'd like to begin by saying thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your board member this past year. I've learned a lot from PSA and have made a number of great friends in the process. Mersi.

Last year, I made PSA one promise and one promise only--to increase undergrad participation. And this is what I delivered. A number of undergrads (mostly non-Persian) stopped by at the PSA table at I-Fest and learned about Persian culture. Several undergrads came to our dinner at the beginning of the year in the EV Cottage Room. Many of them learned about this dinner and about PSA in general at our table at the undergrad Activities Fair in the beginning of fall quarter. This was the first time in four years that PSA had such a table at the Activities Fair. There's also a small group of undergrads who have become regulars at Thursday lunches. In addition, more than 20 undergrads came to the PSA Fall Party in San Francisco. And as far I know, I don't think there have been this many undergrads at a single PSA event in the past. I also organized a small undergrad dinner at the beginning of this quarter in order to get more Persian undergrads acquainted with one another, so that they, too, will recognize more Persian faces and become active members of our community.

In addition to trying to increase undergrad participation, however, I have tried to address the requests of a number of Iranian women at Stanford by organizing a dance class for them with the help of my friend, Shadi Gholizadeh, who is one of the instructors for the class. If chosen as your board member, I would love to hear more such suggestions that PSA members would enjoy. One of our friends in PSA has also recently told me about a tradition called "Coffee Hour" among Persian students at a university in Washington D.C. I would like to modify this idea and create a "Chai Hour" for our community, to be held weekly in either the CoHo or a local coffee shop on University Ave. I hope that PSA adopts this as another component of its traditions, just like Thursday lunches.

Finally, I'd just like to say that I'm really glad to have learned about PSA and I'm thankful to have been welcomed so warmly into the community. Although I was raised in the Bay Area, I consider myself first and foremost Iranian, and our culture is a large part of who I am. It doesn't make a difference to me that most of the members of our community are graduate students. I truly enjoy being around Iroonis, regardless of age, background, religious, or political ideology. I feel that there is a lot that both undergrads and grads can learn from one another, and if chosen as your board member, I would like to continue to facilitate this interaction and strengthen our community.

Board Member
Graduate, Electrical Engineering
Email: nazamfar AT stanford DOT edu

My Name is Bita Nezamfar. I am a PhD student in Electrical Engineering and this is my fourth year at Stanford. I decided to be a candidate for PSA board because of two reasons. When I first came to Stanford, I was happy to learn that a group like PSA exists. I was excited to see so many Iranian people around and I think it is a good student organization. Obviously a student organization will only be good because of the great effort that other people have made. Therefore, after being here for four years, I also wanted to have my share. The second motivation for me is the personal experience of working with other people and taking responsibility for some group activities.

Being a PSA member for a few years, there are some activities that I am most interested in. We have a large number of students and I think we should take advantage of the potentials of this group. I like to have cultural activities like poet night or music night; the kind of activities that people miss being far from Iran. I also like to have discussion sessions to talk about different topics that people are interested in. I think it is a great opportunity to exchange ideas with people and try to have logical discussions. After graduation, all of us will be going to bigger societies and I think it is good to have the experience of working with others with some educated people at school first. This is of course besides the fact that we can learn a lot from each other and we can have closer friendship. As a student organization, we also have a great opportunity to take advantage of the sources available for us. We know many people that are really successful in specific areas. We can have events and invite these people to come to Stanford. Fortunately, there are people in different areas so we can have different tastes! As examples, we can invite a researcher like Dr. Soroush or some people that have business and industry experiences. These are the kind of activities that benefit the inside of the community. Another aspect of a Persian Student Organization should be the relation with the outside of the community. Given that Stanford is a high rank school and most of the students graduating from here will probably be important people in future, I think it is really important that we make a correct image of Iran and Iranian people for the others. Therefore, to me one valuable goal would be trying to have events to better introduce Iran to others.

Bita Nezamfar

Board Member
Graduate, Computer Science
Email: naeim AT stanford DOT edu

My name is Naeim Semsarilar and I am running for the position of PSA board member.

Since I started my studies at Stanford, I have participated in almost every PSA event and greatly enjoy the company of fellow PSA members. I am passionate about PSA as an organization because it provides many opportunities for Iranians to feel at home and continue experiencing the Iranian lifestyle abroad. It also plays an important role in fostering new relationships between Iranians, both within Stanford and with other Iranian groups in the area.

My main goal as your representative is to ensure that our community stays active and healthy by operating within the framework of the PSA constitution, whereby every single member's opinions and beliefs are respected. In this regard, it is important for PSA to focus on and foster our commonalities rather than our differences:

  1. First and foremost, we are all human beings, and it is in our nature to want to be around people and socialize.
    • I will help organize social events, such as quarterly parties, BBQs, tours, sports events, etc.
    • I will ensure that PSA is there for new students coming from Iran to make their transition as painless as possible, and make them interested in joining the community and participating in our events.
  2. We are all Iranians and share a rich culture.
    • I will keep our traditions alive by organizing Norouz, Charshanbe Soori, Yalda, etc. events
    • I will ensure that the Iranian culture is represented properly to others by participating in multicultural events
    • I will help revive traditional PSA events such as Poetry night, Music night, etc.
    • I will push for the regular screening of Iranian movies
  3. We all, in one way or another, are scholars.
    • I will push for organizing talks by Iranian students, researchers, and people from the industry in different fields. This will help us broaden our perspectives on what is happening around us and will open many doors for collaboration between Iranians.

I am going to finish on the note that we are a community of Iranians, in a much larger community of non-Iranians. We need to be united as a group and supportive of one another. I am confident that I can help in bringing our community together through organizing events and creating networking opportunities.

A little about me:
I was born in Iran and after finishing high school, I moved to Canada. I got my Bachelors degree in computer engineering at Memorial University in 2005. Currently I am a Masters student in computer science at Stanford University.

Graduate, Electrical Engineering
Email: faghfuri AT stanford DOT edu

Dear Friends,

I am Ali Faghfuri, a PhD student in Electrical Engineering, and a candidate for the position of Ombudsperson.

I have been involved and active in the PSA since I joined Stanford. Last year I was among the organizers of events like "Iran: Past and Present", (a 5 week lectures series with an audience of more than 80 for each event), help for new students (we created a handbook for new students and arranged for their first rides from airport and for the first shopping), and the PSA International Movie Series. I also helped for organizing other events such as "the evening with Iraj Pezeshkzad". This year, I have been involved with other student organizations, mainly CJME (Coalition for Justice in the Middle East) as well as MSAN and ISSU, where we have organized more than 15 events this quarter alone.

I have known and worked with many of the board candidates, so I believe I can act as an active bridge between the community members and the board. I’ll try my best to keep the board aware about the concerns, comments and criticisms of the student body, providing a feedback loop which is very important to the operation of any student group. I believe this also leads to a much more close relation between the board and the student body; which will help PSA organize more successful events with less pressure on the board.

I am looking forward to working and criticizing (!) the next PSA board and hearing from each and every member of PSA.

~ Ali Faghfuri

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