The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, PAAIA, Inc., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonreligious 501(c)(4) membership organization that serves the domestic interests of Iranian Americans and represents the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large. PAAIA works to foster greater understanding of our community and its cultural heritage and to expand opportunities for the active participation of Iranian Americans in the democratic process at all levels of government.
PAAIA Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization, is a PAAIA affiliate dedicated to philanthropy, education, and public service. PAAIA Fund conducts a variety of initiatives that benefit the Iranian American community and the U.S. society at large, including community building, youth programs, academic and professional development, information collection and dissemination, and public education and awareness.
PAAIA, Inc. and PAAIA Fund are governed by separate boards of directors but submit to the same vision and mission and share trustees, board members, and staff.
For all general purposes, the term PAAIA is used to refer to both entities without distinction.
PAAIA Fund Bylaws
PAAIA has a connected Political Action Committee, IAPAC, that promotes and contributes to the election of Iranian American and American candidates for political office. For more information, please visit IAPAC.
We envision a world in which Iranian Americans actively come together as a collaborative community in service to each other and to the society at large, to change our world, and particularly the world of our children, for the better.
PAAIA's mission is to:
Unite the Iranian American community and have its voice heard.
Celebrate who we are and pass our heritage to future generations.
Give back to America as it has given to us.
PAAIA also strives to be the credible voice of the Iranian American community in the U.S. By aggregating and using scientific, statistically accurate, and well researched data, we provide outreach and education to law makers, policy makers, legislatures, and the general public regarding the views of the Iranian American community, our needs and issues. In tandem, we provide education to our community about the ways they can impact the policy decisions that are made. Collaboratively, through the use of various media, resources, and tools, we aim to be the non-agenda driven and objective voice of our community in the U.S.
Our Youth. Our Community. Our Voice.
In the late 1990's and early 2000's, as Iranian Americans continued to integrate and assimilate further into American society, they also became increasingly active in domestic political affairs. Many Iranian Americans individually began supporting political campaigns, and a few even began running for political office, at both the national and local levels.
As these civic activities continued to mature, in November, 2006, approximately 70 Iranian Americans gathered in New York City to participate in a gathering, the purpose of which was to examine and discuss issues confronting Iranian Americans in the United States. Few of the participants knew more than a handful of the others. Nobody knew what the participants had in common other than their heritage, their interest in and commitment to civic affairs, and general bewilderment as to what would be achieved by the gathering.
The group spent a weekend discussing their experiences, thoughts and aspirations. What became increasingly clear was that the group's assessment of the Iranian American community's hopes and needs were remarkably convergent. The group believed that Iranian Americans needed to promote their image, support their advancement in public affairs, and bring their community together.
With these goals in mind, the New York group appointed a task force of approximately ten persons to work on a concrete proposal on how these goals might be achieved. The task force worked over the next few months to develop a plan in accordance with the direction set in New York. The task force's report was presented in Northern, California in April, 2007.
The task force's main recommendation was the formation of a national organization dedicated to promoting the goals of community building, image building, and influence building. The recommendation was detailed in a prospectus and presented to the participants in the Northern California gathering. The participants overwhelmingly endorsed the task force's recommendations. Thus, PAAIA was born in August 2007 as a 501(c)4 nonprofit bipartisan, non-sectarian, national membership organization together with an affiliated 501(c)3, PAAIA Fund, to represent and advance the interests of the Iranian American community. PAAIA publicly launched in April 2008.
PAAIA's logo was designed by Mojgan Zare. It is the stylized name of PAAIA in the shape of an eternal flame that represents the ancient Persian culture. It is also a depiction of the word "paya" "or everlasting" in Persian script. The two curving lines of the flame are symbols of the two intertwining cultures and their coming together to form a unified Iranian American community. The three dots below the flame represent PAAIA's original three pillars of influence building, image building, and community building. Today, they represent PAAIA's three areas of focus - our youth, our community, and our voice.
PAAIA Original Prospectus (2008)