Bita Daryabari

Founder and executive director, Pars Equality Center

Bita Daryabari embodies the spirit of humanist philanthropy. She received her bachelor in Computer Science then Master’s degree in Telecommunication Management at Golden Gate University in California. Upon graduation, she joined GammmaLink, Inc., one of the early pioneers in the field of telecommunications. She later moved to MCI Communications where, more than once, she received distinguished awards and recognition for her work. On a personal level, Ms. Daryabari has had a long-standing passion for increasing knowledge of her native Iranian culture, as well as improving the lives of people from Iran and beyond. She has started Pars Equality Center, a community foundation in 2010 to support the full integration of people of Persian (Iranian) origin in the United States, including refugees, asylees, immigrants and the American-born; and to advocate for their perspectives in American society. She works to create a more just and compassionate community in which Iranians of all cultures and beliefs can participate.

Her work in her field of expertise has always been accompanied by her interest in the world of ideas and literature; particularly, the poetry and prose of her native Iran. In 2008, she created the Bita Daryabari Endowment in Persian Letters at Stanford University, enabling the university to not only hire visiting and full-time professors of Persian literature, but also providing the necessary funds for the Iranian Studies Program to organize conferences, teach more courses in Persian language for all levels of proficiency, and offer the annual Bita Award in Persian Letters.

Her International charitable work, primarily focused through the Unique Zan Foundation (established in 2007) is not limited to Iran and its literature, or Asia and its women. Ms. Daryabari is working with a number of charitable organizations, including The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), founded by Sakeena Yacoobi, an internationally known women’s human rights activist. Their latest collaboration includes the building of an all-girls school in Kabul. In her next project, Ms. Daryabari is enabling the training of Afghan women by providing micro-financing through organizations such as AIL and Creating Hope International.

In 2008, Ms. Daryabari joined forces with Relief International and the Skoll Foundation, to build a women’s center in West Bank Palestinian Territory. Other philanthropic endeavors include: collaboration with Moms Against Poverty (MAP) educating and empowering girls at Shaheed Shojaie Orphanage in south of Tehran, Iran, donation to the British Museum and Iran Heritage Foundation for the Shah Abbas Exhibition; funding Iranian Artists through Venice Biennale to display their work for the first time after 30 years of solitude in 2009; and contributions to the UCSF Mission Bay Neuroscience Research Building, which opened in 2012; Bita Daryabari Scholarship Program For Women of Middle East in Business and Law at Golden Gate University since 2012. Grant to UC Davis for Iranian Studies, Bita Daryabari Endowment in Shahnama Project and Centre at Cambridge, England. The Shahnama endowment occurs just as the Cyrus Cylinder is making its way around the United States for the first time in history. Daryabari co-sponsored the San Francisco exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder at the Asian Arts Museum of San Francisco Ms. Daryabari also serves as a Visionary Circle Member of the X-Prize Foundation.

Her Honors include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2012), the United Nations Appreciation Award for Outstanding Leadership, Commitment and Support of the UN and Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (2011), PAAIA Philanthropist of the Year Award (2010) and Golden Gate University’s Alumni of the Year Award (2008).