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Rohani discusses Iran trip at next Food for Thought


Originally from Iran, Parivash Rohani of Auburn will share photos and impressions of her recent trip there to visit her ailing mother on Friday, March 13.

Parivash Rohani of Auburn will be the featured speaker at the USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College’s “Food for Thought” luncheon on Friday, March 13 at 11:30 a.m. In her presentation, called “Glimpses of Iran,” she will narrate a PowerPoint presentation of photos of the country and its art, taken on her recent journey there.

Rohani was born in Ardestan, Iran during the Shah’s reign to a family of the Baha’i Religious Community. Due to religious persecution by the fundamentalist Iranian government after the Shah’s overthrow, her family felt it was safer for her to go to India at the age of 18 to pursue her education. She stayed in India for six years, studying economics and business. While there, she met, Nassar Rohani, also a native of Iran, and married him soon after.

In 1985, the couple and their young daughter immigrated to the United States, where they were directed to move to Auburn. They have made their home here ever since. Three more children eventually came along. All have actively pursued higher education.

Rohani herself has adapted well to Maine. She attended the nursing program at Central Maine Community College, eventually achieving the status of Registered Nurse and working in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. She enjoys snowshoeing, skiing and hiking and belongs to Welcoming Maine, Maine Interfaith Power & Light and the Wellspring Interfaith Group.

The Rohani Family has remained true to their religious beliefs and committed to the Baha’i community in this area. Rohani says there are many Baha’i communities in Maine and throughout the country and the local Baha’i community maintains a warm and supportive rapport with them.

After many years living in Auburn, Rohani learned of her mother’s serious illness and felt an urgent need to visit her in Iran, despite the risks of traveling there. She made the trip this past year. In her few months there, she found that the Iran of her youth had changed drastically. During her presentation, she will share her impressions and feelings about how today’s Iran is different from the Iran of her childhood.

Rohani will also discuss the larger issue of human rights and the ongoing persecution in Iran of those who practice the Baha’i religion, focusing on how Baha’i youth there are prevented from attending colleges and universities. She will describe how the Baha’i young people are coping with the lack of access to higher education.

Rohani is now an active member of “Education Is Not a Crime.” Launched in November of 2014, this global movement to shed light on the denial of higher education to the Baha’i community in Iran is gaining tremendous momentum. On February 27, the documentary film “To Light a Candle,” produced by Maziar Bahari of England, will be shown at venues across the globe, including at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The film was screened at Guthrie’s in Lewiston and at Bowdoin College earlier this week.

L-A Senior College presents its monthly Food for Thought luncheon in Function Room 170 at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College. The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with advance reservation or $8 at the door. Reservations must be made by noon on Wednesday (please note the new day), March 11, by calling 753-6510. Late callers will be charged the at-the-door price.

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