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Fariba Dadfarmay Nejat

Ms. Nejat is an Iranian-American community leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist, physicist social activist, teacher, and portrait painter. She holds a B.S. degree in physics from the Shahid Beheshti University (formerly Meli University) in Iran and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the National University in San Jose, California. Before getting taking on leadership roles with various non-profit organizations and in her community, she worked as a software engineer/configuration manager in Silicon Valley, California, and also volunteered free time with Santa Clara Valley charities.

Currently, Ms. Nejat is at the helm of several non-profit organizations, including Payvand “Unity” and The Iranian Federated Women’s club (IFWC) which is a branch of the California and General Federated Women’s Club. She is a board member of the Friends of the Human Relations, the Jim McEntee Legacy Foundation of Santa Clara County, she is a De Anza College Commissioner, and she is one of the founding members of the Creating a Hate Free Community Network in Santa Clara County. She helped develop the concept of the Intercultural, Intergenerational, Integrational (3i) Program, and she was a very active member of the Silicon Valley International Martial Arts Committee.

Fariba has over 25 years of leadership experience in executing educational and community projects and developing programs that focus on intercultural and intergenerational community building, such as helping Iranian International students abroad. She works closely with the County of Santa Clara, and the City of Cupertino on various cultural diversity projects, which enabled her to found the Persian studies program at De Anza College. She has received many awards and high honors from the County of Santa Clara, the City of Cupertino, local colleges and universities, the state of California, and more. Additionally, she was featured as “one of the six women who changed the face of Silicon Valley” by the San Jose Mercury News in 2004. She has also produced a number of award-winning artistic paintings and sculptures. For example, one of her paintings, “Beaded Veils from the Gulf,” was prominently displayed in the Capitol Building in Sacramento for 23 months. Her artwork has culminated in a manifestation titled “Faces in the Crowd” which displays her love for art and people. One of her greatest achievements in this regard is her work on the portrait painting of President Obama, which included a message of peace by one of the greatest Iranian poets, Sa'di.

In 1994, Ms. Nejat became deeply interested in developing opportunities for the new generation in social growth while establishing values of respect, trust, and tolerance within the Iranian community. She has helped to develop the social infrastructure to instill, maintain, and adhere to these values. Her leadership in the Iranian community—and the greater community at large—has led to an increased investment in the youth, contributions to their professional life, and the preservation of a rich cultural heritage. She has realized that the obstacles to achieving these goals are often valid and very real. However, they are all surmountable. As an activist for social justice, she is also interested in the welfare and intergenerational needs of women, and seniors. Her talent is that of a bridge-builder; a person who is able to tap into the strengths and weaknesses in people or potential programs, and bring folks creatively together. She believes that education is the golden key to overcoming obstacles faced by new immigrants.

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