The Aftab Committee is a Washington, D.C.-based 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports Iranian-American artists and their works. By raising awareness, advocating education, and facilitating various events and exhibits, we aim to increase public consciousness and appreciation of Iranian-American artists and art.
Our Vision & Philosophy
When Shahrooz Shekaraubi founded the Aftab Committee in May of 2014, he saw endless possibilities for supprting Iranian-American artists and promoting their works. He wanted to create an organization that could serve, support, and inspire Iranian-American artists by bridging the gap between these artists and the general public. Iranian- American artists are a driving force in building-bridges and creating communities across divides. By disseminating the works of contemporary Iranian-American artists to diverse audiences, Aftab believes that they can help artists to grow, thrive and connect. Since Aftab's founding, the organization has been successful in its goal of enhancing public awareness of Iranian-American artists and art through exhibitions, film screenings, and other art events in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
The Aftab Committee’s vision is to create a platform that will support and celebrate all artists through a polycultural lens. What fuels our success and challenges us? Passion. It’s our engine for growth. It’s what our staff, volunteers, donors, and the universe expects of us. It’s what we expect of ourselves. It enables new heights in serving, promoting and inspiring artists.
Shahrooz Shekaraubi is the founder of the Aftab Committee. Born in Tehran, Iran, Shahrooz was raised in the metropolitan Washington DC area. His academic and leadership experiences in the United States, Europe and Iran have led him toward pursuing his doctoral degree in Iranian studies. He has authored several articles in English and Persian on the Iranian-American community. Outside of Aftab, Shahrooz spends his time curating art projects with artists and is a poet. Shahrooz holds a B.A. in Persian Studies from the University of Maryland and a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Lund University, Sweden.
Shirin Jafarinasab Kermani recently graduated from San Francisco State University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a minor in Economics. In addition to working with the Aftab Committee as the Development Coordinator, she is also senior assistant to the editor-in-chief of the International Studies Journal, editor for the Everyday Iran Project, and a piano teacher. Prior to immigrating from Iran to the United States in 2014, she studied Piano Performance at the University of Tehran, ranked 2nd out of 34,000 students in the National University Entrance Exam, and became a member of Iran’s National Elites Foundation. Besides her studies, she registered a patent in Iran, published articles alongside her professors at SFSU, interned in several non- and for-profit organizations, and gained the honor of becoming a Phi Beta Kappa member. Shirin is currently pursuing an MBA in Tourism with a concentration in Sustainable Tourism Management at the George Washington University.
Yekta Karimi is an Iranian-American based in Washington, DC. Yekta was born in Tehran and grew up in the Netherlands before moving to the United States where she pursued her early career in nonprofit management and governance. After working for years with community benefit organization in California, Yekta obtained her Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University. She currently works as a management consultant and spends her free time playing music, reading, and traveling.
Kamyar Arsani is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Kamyar's musical mission is to spread cultural awareness and unity by mixing contemporary musical trends with traditional Persian folk music. Kamyar began learning Daf from Master Bijan Kamkar and Kamancheh from Master Ardeshir Kamkar and Master Sohrab Pournazari. Kamyar is the lead singer of Time is Fire.
Kimia Arsani is a Iranian-American musician living in Washington DC. Recently, Kimia graduated from University of Delaware with a major in Cello Performance. Some of Kimia’s professional experiences include; performing at the White House and Vice President’s House, Performaning at Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ Legends Series Concert with artists such as Sting, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Patti Labelle and performing with Shams Ensemble in the US and Iran.
Kimia Hesabi is a Washington DC Tombak and Violin musician. Kimia is the Recipient of the 2015-2016 Thomas Fellowship, from department of art and sciences at The University of Tennesee Knoxville for Best Artistic Project. Kimia is also the founder of "Mehr string quartet" was a Viola player in Tehran Chamber Orchestra, Parsian Orchestra.
Shadi wears several hats and spends most of her time questioning them. Her passion falls in creating spaces for individuals to authentically connect to themselves and their community. She spends her time organizing events with that purpose at her home, the Bodhi House. She is also the Mentorship Program Director at the Iranian American Women’s Foundation. In this capacity, Shadi has built a bridge of co-learning, growth, and mutual support between the diverse generations of Iranian American women. Shadi received a M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and a M.A. in Conflict Analysis and Mediterranean Security from the University of Malta. She sits on the Board of her family foundation, the One Foundation, where she has had the opportunity to learn from leaders and activists engaged in community-driven grassroots efforts across the nation. In her free time Shadi enjoys meditating, playing soccer, and dabbling with art supplies.
Yosi Badie graduated from the University of Maryland with a double major in Economics and Government & Politics focusing in international relations while serving as President of the Iranian Students' Foundation. After spending her initial years out of school working in business development at Bloomberg, Yosi moved to Northern Greece to manage a refugee camp for Syrians and Iraqis escaping from war. Currently, she is working as the division manager of the Petey Greene Program's DC region, improving the quality of education for incarcerated individuals. Yosi is passionate about social justice and building community.
Natalie Bahmanyar joined the Aftab Committee in the fall of 2017. Natalie studied at the University of Maryland, where she was also actively involved with several Iranian-American organizations, including the Iranian Students' Foundation, for which she served as VP of Membership from 2011 to 2012. During her time as an undergrad, Natalie was also involved with various diversity and community service based groups, including the CIVICUS Living and Learning Program and the Common Ground Multicultural Dialogue Campaign. After graduating, Natalie went on to serve as Interim Coordinator for both the Common Ground Multicultural Dialogue Campaign and the Inclusive Language Campaign at UMD. Natalie brings to the Committee experience in diversity works and community service and outreach, as well as strong ties to and passion for the Iranian-American community. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Natalie currently worked as a Research Associate for Exiger Diligence, a regulatory compliance and due diligence firm. Natalie received her B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, and her M.A. in Media and Communications from City, University of London.
Reza H. Akbari is a Senior Program Officer at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Reza conducts research on Iranian domestic politics, U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, Shia politics, political transition, and democracy. He has previously served as a Research Associate for the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute and a Research Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Reza has written for a number of international publications such as Foreign Policy, CNN’s Global Public Square, PBS – Tehran Bureau, Jadaliyya, Gulf News, and Al Monitor. Reza holds an M.A. in Middle East Studies from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Shahrooz Shekaraubi is the founder of the Aftab Committee and owner of White Lily Arts. Born in Tehran, Iran, Shahrooz was raised in the metropolitan Washington DC area. His academic and leadership experiences in the United States, Europe and Iran have led him toward pursuing his doctoral degree in Iranian studies. He has authored several articles in English and Persian on the Iranian-American community and is a poet. He holds a B.A. in Persian Studies from the University of Maryland and a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Lund University, Sweden