Feature > Press Release > PERSIAN CULTURE & NON-PERSIAN CONTRIBUTORS BY MARJAN ABDI
a Persian living in Diaspora, I have always felt responsible to show a fair
portrait of my land, history and culture. For this very reason, with the help
of friends and family, I managed to gather some books and documents as well as
website addresses all equipping me with enough sources to play my part in this
very corner of the world.
I have the privilege of sharing my life with a man
with same vision, a man whose passion is nothing but preserving culture and
helping all true contributors to Persian art and culture to be recognized and
valued internationally. The result of this marriage of passions is the creation
of WAALM – Persian Golden Lioness Awards® to not only acknowledge the
efforts of Persians, but also non-Persians whose hearts are also beating for
the same purpose, who have played a role in making people of other nations
acquainted with our cultural foundation.
One of those recent non-Persians who has been
inspired by visiting Takht-e-Jamshid and has eventually written his first
children’s book is Howard Lee, the Award Winner Author of Jamshid and
the Lost Mountain of Light©.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Lee and his
lovely wife Dr. Mozhgan Hossieni-Nia at the 2nd Annual Persian
Golden Lioness Awards® where
he was awarded for his book in Budapest in October 2006. Both Dr. Dorbayani and
I found him a true gentleman, a keen observer, and a genuine admirer of our
very Persian Foundation.
Mr. Lee, was the first to receive the award at the
2nd Annual Persian Golden Lioness Awards® who delivered a beautiful
message to the Academy and his audience. Here is part of his speech:
am so pleased that my book was well received by Persians - it is perhaps risky
for someone from one culture to create within the heritage of another, but I do
believe that there is so much in Persian culture, both old and new, to inspire
When I first saw ‘Takht-e-Jamshid’ I was completely
overwhelmed by the size of the buildings, their scale, their sophistication,
and I’m marveled at the civilization that produced such splendor two and a half
millennia ago. But as I did the research for my book, I came to realize that
the palaces, the sculptures, the roads, the canals, even the armies were not
what made the Achaemenid Persians great. Those were just by-products. What
really made them great were their core values. They up-held truth, they lived
by the rule of law, and they promoted tolerance. It seems to me that those
Persian values are universal civilized values that are expressed in the ideals
of secular democracy and also in the Islamic ideals of compassion, mercy, and
justice. For where is compassion without tolerance? Where is justice without
Looking at this beautiful statuette, it’s seems
ironic that this beast, a mythical beast of that, represents human creativity so
well. To me this award stands for the triumph of individual expression over
politics, over background, over history, over geography, over prejudice. To me,
it expresses just how heritage enriches us, every single one of us, and that’s
why I am humbled to receive this award.'
We shall all recognise the effort of non-Persian
contributors to our culture more than ever, and treasure people like Howard Lee
for their outstanding dedication.
His book is a great addition to every library,
especially ours, and we take pride in the fabulous story he has created: the
story of ‘Jamshid’, a brave boy who helps to save an Empire with the help of
‘Ghoreed’ a legendary griffin. A must-read for every Persian.
WAALM – Persian Golden Lioness Awards®:
Jamshid and the Lost Mountain of Light©
View Mr. Lees' Biography