Peyvand Board Members

Shahrzad Shams, President

Shahrzad Shams is the full-time Assistant Teaching Professor in Persian in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, where she anchors the Program’s courses in First- and Second-Year Persian. Trained in Applied Linguistics (M.A. California State University, Fullerton, 1985), Ms. Shams has won acclaim and gratitude from students and colleagues since joining the faculty in 2009. She has also been nominated for the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Ms. Shams is an active organizer and promoter of Persian cultural events in the community. She serves as the liaison between the University of Washington Persian & Iranian Studies and the Iranian American community. She also serves as the chair of the Iranian Film Initiative Committee which helps showcase Iranian films and film delegates every year at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Keyhan Rouhani

Keyhan Rohani is an expert planner/project manager. In the past nine years since Keyhan moved to the United States, he has been dedicated to the growth and betterment of Iranian American communities. He has directly been connected to groups such as IACA, the poetry workshop and others. Keyhan is an artist at heart and has a background in producing effective theatrical works. He was born and raised in Esfahan where he owned and operated a theater production company. Keyhan has successfully launched several other businesses across a range of industries, among which were, a 2,000-person capacity theme park, a commercial bag manufacturing company, and three radiology labs. For the third year in a row, Keyhan has turned his focus to supporting Peyvand with its Nowruz celebration event benefiting the University of Washington. When Keyhan is not working on his passion projects, he is either helping clients with their events or enjoying his days to the fullest with his family and friends. ​

Darya Farivar

Darya is a first generation Iranian-American who is serious about grassroots advocacy, civic engagement, community development, and holds her heritage close to heart. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Communicative Disorders and minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Redlands. There she learned about community organizing and established the school's first Middle Eastern Student Association which continues to thrive. Darya is deeply passionate about intersectionality, decarceration, and decriminalization of disability through state legislative advocacy and serves as the Public Policy Director at Disability Rights Washington. Before joining Peyvand, she served her community as Policy Chair of the State Special Education Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Seattle Women’s Commission.

Niloofar Hashemian

Niloofar was born in Tehran- Iran. She earned her bachelor degree in Graphic Design and master degree in Social Psychology from Tehran-Azad university. Niloofar has years of experience as a graphic designer, teacher, coach, and leader in Iran. Since her move to the U.S. she has volunteered and supported IACA, Peyvand, and Alefba. Recently Niloofar has joined the Peyvand board. She is currently focusing on Digital arts, web design, and is developing her own business.

Homa Hayatyfar, Secretary

Detection Analytics Lead at Microsoft | Digital Security & Resilience

Keiana. Hadjireza, Treasurer

RTL Engineer at MicroVision

Leyla Salmassi

Leyla Salmassi is a double Husky with 2 B.A.s and an M.A. from the University of Washington. She is an experienced project and program manager in higher education with a commitment to excellence, diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. She is dedicated to building strong communities and developing leaders for the next generation. Leyla is passionate about creating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community on campus and beyond. As an Iranian immigrant, who has benefited from advocacy programs for all minorities, she is thrilled to be making a full circle to serve those in similar situations. She serves as the President of the UW Professional Staff Organization and as a board member at WithinReach. Leyla is an art enthusiast, social justice warrior, chef extraordinaire, a mother of two kids, and two very spoiled cats! Lelya can be reached by email at leyla_salmassi@