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Iranica gala 2001, Washongton

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A benefit gala for the Encyclopaedia Iranica is to be held in Washington, D.C. at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel on Friday, March 2, 2001.

The theme of the event is "East and West: A Cultural Celebration." There will be both a live and silent auction run by the Christi's auction house. The Persian New Year menu will be designed by Najmieh Batmanglij, author of New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, and prepared by the famous Four Seasons chef, Doug McNeil.

Seven distinguished individuals will be presented with the following awards:

­ Corporate Award: Anousheh Ansari, CEO of Telecom Technologies;
­ East and West Award: Elaine Sciolino, New York Times correspondent and author of Persian Mirrors;
­ International Filmmaker Award: Jafar Panahi, Director of The White Balloon and The Circle;
­ Ferdowsi Award: Dick Davis, Poet and Shahnameh scholar and translator;
­ Heritage Award: Massumeh Farhad, Curator, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution;
­ Visual Arts Award: Firooz Zahedi, Photographer of the Stars; and Rumi Award,
­ Franklin Lewis, Author of Rumi: Past and Present, East and West.

The Iranica project began at Columbia University in 1974 and since 1979, it has received financial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Encyclopaedia Iranica is a detailed record of the Iranian heritage and a true reflection of the history, life, culture and national identity of the Iranian people and their contributions to the broader history and culture of the world.

From the biographies of notable men and women in every field of endeavor to descriptions of all Iranian cities and monuments, from oil installations to major banks, from Zoroastrian scriptures to Jewish shrines to Islamic rituals, from Persian classics to modern novels, from Iranian flora and fauna to Persian music and folklore, from philosophy and mysticism, and Persian calligraphy to Persian and Afghan architecture, no aspect of life in Iranian and related cultural areas is neglected in the Encyclopaedia Iranica.

According to Professor Richard Frye of Harvard University, "There is no project in the entire Middle Eastern field more worthy of support than the Encyclopedia Iranica."

Nine volumes of the Encyclopaedia Iranica have been published, the tenth is in the press but there remain fifteen additional volumes before the project is completed. This gala event will culminate the organization's fundraising campaign and the funds raised will go towards publishing the remaining Encyclopaedia Iranica series.

Funds raised at this gala event will be matched by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This gala is an opportunity for Encyclopaedia Iranica to call to action members of the Iranian community and their friends to preserve the Iranian legacy.

For more information on this event or to schedule interviews with Encyclopaedia Iranica editors or event organizers, please contact Farinaz Akhavan (at 202-637-6576 or by e-mail at, Bahareh Amidi Sharghi (at 202-237-8603 or by e-mail at or Mojdeh Bahar (at (703) 305-1007 or by e-mail at


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