Shayan faithfully showed up at the AI Toronto Iran Action Circle meetings from the beginning in 2010. In July 2010 he volunteered to be secretary for the group. It was great. I’m always delighted when someone willingly volunteers to take on a leadership role, and no arm twisting is involved. For the next two years the group always had a reminder and agenda for upcoming meetings; and minutes posted promptly after the meeting. It may not seem like a big deal, but the regular communication to all members of the group was one of the things that helped the group stay on track. Everyone was included and informed. In 2012 Shayan agreed to be chairperson of the group; no arm twisting necessary. While Shayan came to Amnesty in order to help promote human rights in Iran, he has shown a passion for human rights across the board. He has taken advantage of opportunities to learn and contribute to activities within AITO, eventually leading to the position of director at large for AITO. Shayan brings good common sense, reliability, warmth and a passion for human rights to Amnesty International. I know he will help us keep the candle burning for many years to come!
Shayan is the kind of person you want to have in your team. He is dependable and through. He faces challenges with a positive attitude and accomplishes task after task while making it all look so easy. It is great pleasure to work with him.
In Shayan’s words:
“I became involved with Amnesty in 2010. In March of that year I attended a celebration for the Iranian New Year (Nowruz) hosted by AITO and the Iran Action Circle. The event combined human rights actions with entertainment and cultural presentations. I was very impressed by it and when presented with the opportunity of joining the Iran Action Circle’s membership list, I immediately signed up and began to attend their monthly meetings. Soon after joining, an opening became available in the Iran Action Circle’s executive and I became the secretary of the group. Two years, and many group events and actions later, I became the chair.
However, my path to joining Amnesty began much earlier and stems from my childhood experiences. I emigrated from Iran with my family when I was three. Though I left that country at a young age, the thought of Iran was never far from the minds of my family and I. Our exile from Iran was not an easy decision for my parents and was the result of various social and political conditions that made that country inhospitable for us. We left Iran without any real desire of leaving; we departed with the ardent hope of returning. Therefore, talk of Iran and its politics, its upheavals, and its human rights abuses were quite common in our household. shayan2As a result of this, I began to realize what violations of human rights were at a young age. Yet more importantly, I began to understand their positive manifestation– the ideals of inalienable human rights.
But with my newfound understanding came another realization¬– that these atrocities are not confined to Iran. They are present in Canada and around the world. Because of this realization I began to learn more about global human rights abuses. Through this I became aware of organizations such as Amnesty International. I came to admire the work of Amnesty, its global presence, and the grassroots campaigning of its members. If we are to overcome global human rights abuses we need organizations that are international in scope and inclusive in membership. Amnesty International is built on these principles. It is because of this that I am active in Amnesty.
With all of this in mind, my impulsive decision to join Amnesty in 2010 makes logical sense. Fate brought me to this organization but the support of its activists compels me to be active. The volunteers and staff of Amnesty are supportive, attentive, and accommodating. The organization is run in such a democratic fashion that allows even the newest of volunteers to get involved and coordinate actions. Today I am very glad that I took the decision to join Amnesty International. By becoming involved not only have I taken part in great campaigns, but I have also met many dedicated and enthusiastic activists who I consider my friends.
Being chair of the Iran Action Circle hasn’t been easy. As a relative novice to Amnesty, there are many things that I have had to learn and do for the first time. Nevertheless, I never doubt my decision to take on this role, as the challenges it has brought have been rewarding and satisfying. I have gained valuable experience and most importantly, done great work. In July of this year I joined the AITO Board of Directors as a Director at large. I look forward to contributing to the organization and meeting more volunteers from throughout Toronto.”
Shayan is a passionate young man whom I came to know a few years ago. Since he joined our AI Toronto Iran Action Circle he proved to be a great asset for our group and a wonderful promoter of human rights in Iran.
His passion for human rights inspired him to also join the AI Toronto Indigenous Peoples Rights Team. He is an inspiring leader, hard working and an incredible human rights activist. It is a pleasure to know him and to work with him.