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Aptil 19, 2005

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Nowruz at Hewlett-Packard in San Diego
By: Ali Khorsandian

On Friday April 8th, there was a "first ever" event at Hewlett-Packard (HP) in San Diego. A small group of Iranian-American employees recommended a Persian New Year celebration to the company, which was warmly received through the Diversity program. Company sent 2 separate site-wide invitations to over 2000 employees in San Diego, inviting all to visit the exhibits, become familiar with how Nowruz is celebrated, and enjoy Iranian cookies, treats & tea.

Our goal was to share Nowruz celebration, explain the origins of Nowruz on the 1st day of Spring, a time when Winter cold ends & pleasant Spring air starts, trees blossom, flowers bloom, which symbolizes the rebirth of earth.

Roughly 500 employees participated in the event and we received numerous positive feedback and praises. (Note that there are only about 25 employees of Iranian origin at this location)

At the event, there were the following to see, hear & taste(!):

* 7-Seen table, traditional New Year setting, with explanation of each item.

* Exhibits of arts and crafts including, paintings, hand crafted “khatam kari”, copper works, replica of ancient tea set, rugs, spices from Iran, all with descriptions.

* History of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, Persepolis, the ancient Persian Empire capital & explanations of how it was made by paid labor & not slaves, and that there were woman supervisors at construction with paid maternity leave, plus symbols of peace and friendship at Persepolis.

* Historical and current buildings and structures of Iran, including Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Abadan, Yazd, Azarbaijan,..

* Pictures of nature, from four corners of the country, in all seasons,

* Pictures and articles on people, highlighting things that are rarely seen on media here, like women skiers and mountain climbers, and woman car racers, Iranian historical scientists, mathematicians & poets, current famous Iranian celebrities and successful Iranians in fields of science, media, and entrepreneurial.

* Statistics showing high level of education, income and economic participation in the U.S by Iranian-American community.

* DVD of Iranian folk dances from various regions of Iran, performed by Persian Dance Academy.

* Slide show of nature, people, art and history accompanied by samples of Iranian music.

Overall, it was a great experience to introduce our culture and heritage to such a large group of colleagues and friends, and to be so warmly received.

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