I met Avideh Shashaani in the mid 1980's when she was translating poetry from Perisan to English. She was a poet herself and able to transform ancient work into silky language. But she had other Persian documents that had been rendered to flat (literal) translations. She was looking for some DC poets to turn them to "poetry." I was a program officer at National Endowment for the Humanities; producing radio or WPFW; and running a small press, with daily appearances at home as wife and mother. I said No. But I would provide her with others: Robert Sargent, Ann Darr, etc. Avideh had been listening to "The Poet and the Poem" on-air and decided I was the one for her. I said NO thank you again. One day I came down the steps in "The Pavilion at The Old Post Office" for lunch and there at the bottom of the steps was AVIDEH with a sheaf of papers under her arms. My life has been blessed with goodness and love ever since. -Grace Cavalieri
Avideh Shashaani, founder and president of the Washington, D.C. nonprofit Fund for the Future of our Children, works through the Fund to develop multicultural programs that encourage young people to be agents of peace in local and global environments. She brings to this undertaking her vast experience and leadership in working to empower uprooted women, to promote the rights of children and women with disabilities, and to achieve social justice and tolerance, by serving on the boards of such organizations as Refugee Women in Development, MOSAICA: The Center for Nonprofit Development and Pluralism and as the first Co-Director of the United Nations’ International Institute for Rehabilitation in Developing Countries.
Avideh was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on the "Socio-Economic Implications of Investments in Rehabilitation of the Disabled". She promotes intercultural and interfaith understanding through lectures, workshops and publications, including her books, Promised Paradise, Remember Me and Tell Me Where To Be Born, and her translations into English of Persian mystical texts. She received her Ph.D. in Sufi Studies. Her literary endeavors have also extended to a five year term as Vice President of the Literary Friends of the D.C. Public Library.
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