About Us

Eclectic Women aims to be the resource, catalyst and advocate for Middle East and North African (MENA) women. We achieve our mission through strategic affiliations and partnerships that enable cross-border, cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaborations.


Our services are open to use by general public but provide services to our members who are journalists, writers, artists, researchers, members of academia, civil society, policymakers, and advocates.

In addition we will provide services to our partner and affiliate organizations such: media organizations, universities, advocacy groups, research organizations, governmental organizations, and international organizations.

Brain Trust Program

Create a comprehensive researchable e-BrainTrust center that identifies and maps out experts on MENA women across the globe;

Library Program

Launch a comprehensive interactive e-library that serves as an information clearing house; § Networking Program: Provide a periodic conference and regular webinars to encourage collaboration, networking and create synergy amongst members and partners

Educational Program

Provide training workshops for members of media to better understand women issues, and for female leaders to better communicate with media

Research Program

Create and support research, media productions and art forms that enhance women images as diverse as text, audio and video using platforms ranging from online, print books/magazines/newspapers, TV, cinema, theatre, exhibitions and events

Media Program

IranDokht is an online media platform that connects the global community to Iranian women. It serves as a kaleidoscope of lifestyles, identities, art, and culture, reflecting the tensions between modernity and tradition. With more than eighty journalists and contributing writers, many of them leading cultural figures and accomplished professionals, IranDokht is recognized as a comprehensive source of information on contemporary Iran. Founded in 2002, Irandokht has been showcased by UNESCO and recognized by New America Media. 

Board of Directors

Pari Esfandiari


Pari is a social entrepreneur and an online media pioneer. She has over 15 years of leadership experiences in US, Europe and the Middle East. The last ten years of which have been focused on Iranian media landscape. She has initiated the idea and led to success several online media and socio-commercial communities. She offers familiarity with all forms of media, broad technical skills and connections with a wide range of organizations and institutions. Pari\'s articles and interviews have appeared in Arte channel, Aljazeera, Playboy, Dante Mag, MS magazine, Voice of America, BlogHer, NPR, and numerous other media outlets and have been translated to many languages. She has been nominated for the US prestigious National Magazine Award and received the Positive Journalism Award. Her work has been showcased by UNESCO and recognized by the New America Media. She is a frequent speaker at universities, research organizations and other forums. Pari has a PhD in sustainability businesses.

Amir Soltani


Harvard graduated with a PhD in Modern Middle Eastern History he is currently a consultant at New America Media (Association of U.S. ethnic media and Pacific News Service) where he supports strategic transition, marketing plan, and editorial team. His prior positions include: Vice President at KBMS - a software company - , U.S. Coordinator for Afghans for Civil Society, Director at BlueInitiative.Com, Consultant/Editor at Caux Round Table (CRT), and a teaching fellowships at Harvard University.

Sohila Kian


Soheila has received her PhD from University of California, Los Angeles UCLA. Her fields of study are French and Francophone Literature, Post-Colonial and Women Studies. Soheila has presented and published many papers in this field. She is tremendously interested in the issues of immigration, multiculturalism and identity crises. Presently Soheila teaches at the University of Irvine, California (UCI) and Chapman University in Orange. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two children. She collaborated with IranDokht since its launch in 2002 and joined Eclectic Woman ANC\'s board in March 2007.

Mahdokht Sanati


Mahdokht's educational background includes Studying Ph.D. Course in early childhood education at Illinois University and M.S. in social and psychological counseling from Tehran University. She was awarded the Best Children's Book of the Year in 1969 for The Bird and the People, an illustrated book for children. In addition, she has published numerous articles, book reviews, short stories for newspapers, and Jomjomak Barg-e Khazoon (a collection of nursery rhymes). Her latest publication is Letters, Writings, and Remembrances, a three -volume work on the life of Sedigheh Dolatabadi. Mahdokht Sanati was the co-founder of the Children's Book Council in Iran 37 years ago and co-founded the Society for the Protecting the Rights of the Child in Iran 8 years ago. She collaborated with IranDokht since its launch in 2002 and joined Eclectic Woman ANC\'s board in March 2007.

Haleh Afshar

Advisory Board

Afshar is a British-Iranian academic and peer in the House of Lords. She teaches politics and women\'s studies at the University of York, England and Comparative Law at Robert Schuman University in Strasbourg, France. Afshar serves on several bodies, notably the British Council and the United Nations Association, of which she is Honorary President of International Services. She was appointed to the board of the Women\'s National Commission in September 2008. She has served as the Chair for the British Association of Middle Eastern Studies. Afshar is a founding member of the Muslims Women\'s Network. She has served on the Home Office\'s working groups, on \"engaging with women\" and \"preventing extremism together\". Afshar holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has written extensively on politics, women, Islam and Iran. Afsane Bassir-Pour Lavollay: Bassir-Pour is Director of the Regional United Nations Information Centre in Brussels, Belgium. She has been the bureau chief and international correspondent for Le Monde in Switzerland since 2002. Prior to this assignment, she was its bureau chief and diplomatic correspondent at UN Headquarters in New York for 13 years, responsible for establishing the newspaper’s first full-time staff bureau there.

Nadereh Chamlou

Senior Advisor

Chamlou is Senior Advisor to the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. In her 28 years with the World Bank, she has worked in technical and managerial positions across the organization in such areas as economic management, private and financial sector development, infrastructure and environment, corporate governance and the knowledge economy. Her experience also extends to Latin America, East Asia and Pacific, and Eastern Europe. She co-authored a World Bank flagship report, \"Corporate Governance: A Framework for Implementation,\" in 1999, and was co-founder of the World Bank/OECD-sponsored Global Corporate Governance Forum, which she headed from 1998 to 2000. She was the principal author of \"Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa Region–Women in the Public Sphere\" in 2003, and of \"The Environment for Women\'s Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa Region\" in 2008. Shahla Haeri: Haeri is the director of Women’s Studies Program and an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at Boston University. She has conducted research in Iran, Pakistan and India, and has written extensively on religion, law and gender dynamics in the Muslim world. She has been awarded several postdoctoral fellowships, including one at the Women’s Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School (2005- 2006), Fulbright (1999-2000, 2002-2003), St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University (1996), Social Science Research Council (1987-88), Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Brown University (1986-87), and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University (1985-86). Simone Susskind: Susskind is an influential activist and peace promoter, President and founder of Actions in the Mediterranean, and former advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister in Belgium. She traveled to Iran in 2004 to form the friendship network between Belgian and Iranian women. Daughter of Jewish immigrants who found refuge in Belgium in the 1930\'s, Susskind has devoted a large part of her social and professional life to promoting the secular, humanistic side of Jewish identity and working for a world that respects difference. Today she is an influential voice in Europe.

Maggy Zanger


Zanger is a University of Arizona Professor of Practice and an affiliated faculty member of the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She specializes in international journalism, Iraq and Kurdistan. She came to UA in 2005 after nearly six years working in the Middle East. From 1999 until 2003, Zanger taught journalism at the American University in Cairo. While there, she researched the development of the Iraqi Kurdish news media and made several research trips into the area prior to the 2003 war. She covered the U.S. invasion of Iraq from Iraqi Kurdistan, working as a regional analyst for NBC News and writing for the Cairo Times. She stayed on to become the Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), starting journalism programs in Baghdad and Sulaimaniyah to train Iraqis to be independent reporters. Zanger has a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in the study of Law from Yale Law School.

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