Blue and White Saffron Award

ISA is proud to announce its first annual Blue and White Saffron Award. Since its inception in 1996, the Iranian Student Association at Penn State (ISA) has been steadily growing thanks to its members’ involvement and support. The strength and livelihood of ISA depends on volunteers who devote their time, energy, creativity and enthusiasm to this organization. The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor individuals with outstanding service contributions to ISA.

Nomination and Selection Criteria

We invite our members to go to this link and nominate person(s) whom they believe have had positive and significant impact on ISA. The ISA board will review all candidates and select the award recipient based on the following criteria:

  • Significance of service to ISA and Iranian community
  • Service ‘above and beyond’ the norm, through effort and/or impact
  • Generally over a significant period of time
  • The approximate number of persons benefitted by the contribution(s) and how
  • The novelty of ideas/contributions to ISA
  • Credibility with ISA members and community
  • Highest ethical standards; sets an example

Award Announcement and Prize

The Blue and White Saffron Award winner will be announced during ISA Norooz Gala and receive $300 monetary prize and the engraved memento of recognition.

Deadline and Eligibility

Members can make nominations until 11:59 PM Sunday February 18th, 2018.

We welcome everyone to nominate or be nominated for the award. This includes (but not limited to) past and present Penn State students, faculty, staff, their dependents, State College community of Iranian or non-Iranian descendent. Current ISA officers, creator of the award, sponsors and their immediate family members are allowed to nominate candidates but are not eligible to be nominated for the award.

Yalda Night

Location: Heritage Hall at HUB-Robeson Center
Date & time: Sunday, Jan 14, 2018, 7:30PM to 11:00PM
RSVP here


By Mahyar Hadighi

Come celebrate Yalda night (the longest night of the year) with friends and family at the Hub Heritage Hall on Sunday, Jan 14.

****Monday, Jan 15 is a public holiday (Martin Luther King Day)

****We need volunteers for the event preparation, so please go to this spreadsheet below and enlist your name in one of the groups in the list to help us better holding this event.

****We will serve dinner from Doan’s Bones Barbecue (vegetarian options also available).

****We will inform you on how to buy tickets very soon.

****We highly encourage you to become an ISA active member by paying a $20 fee and get free admission to this event and get discounts and privileges for our future events (like Nowruz, picnics, ice skating, and …) too. If you are interested to do so, please message the ISA treasurer Shirin Bouzari.

ISA active members: free
Children under 12: free
Penn State Students (and their dependents): $15
Faculty & Staff: $20
General Public: $20

Let us, through an evening of dance, music, poetry, treats (pomegranates, nuts, sweets and watermelon) and delicious food, share our deepest yearnings for what is good in the world.

Invite your friends and family, and if you have any talents you want to share that night send us a message.

We look forward to seeing you!
ISA Officers

Skate Night

Location: Pegula Ice Arena
Date & Time : Friday, December 15, 2017, 8 PM

Dear friends,

As we sprint to the end of the semester, it is time to relax and have some fun with our friends. To that end, Iranian Student Association (ISA) would like to invite all of you to join us in a group skate night at Pegula Ice Arena.

The skate rental and gate fee are on us. we will be there at 8 PM on Friday. Please be there on time so we can buy your tickets.

Parking is available there.

See you there!

Yalda Night General Meeting

Date/time: Saturday, December 2 at 4 PM – 5 PM EDT
Location: 102 Leonhard Building

Dear all,

We are going to have our second general meeting this coming Saturday. We will discuss our plans for Yalda night event. Also, we might have 2 positions for ISA’s officers available to fill in. So we would have a small election in the meeting. We would appreciate your suggestions and participation in the election and Yalda’s night event. There would be free pizza and refreshments as well.

Available positions:
– Vice President II
– Treasurer

Thanks and see you on Saturday,

ISA officers

Thanksgiving Potluck

Where: The Villas at Happy Valley
When: Sunday, November 19, 2017, 6PM

Dear friends,

We are approaching the end of this semester with Thanksgiving holidays around the corner. Although Thanksgiving is an American tradition; yet, every year we have had a part in tasting the delicious turkey in our potlucks! Thus, we are planning to have a potluck on the evening of Sunday, Nov the 19th. Please RSVP if you plan to attend so that we may know how many turkeys to prepare. Join us with your delicious side dishes, desserts, or main dishes. Even if you do not plan to cook for the night, you can join us with only paying a 10$ entree fee.
Hope to see you all,

ISA Officers

Docunight #43 [Penn State]: Boys With Broken Ears

Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Location: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, State College, Pennsylvania 16802

Boys With Broken Ears

Directed by: Nima Shayeghi
2013 / 78 mins
Persian with English Subtitles
we will contact the director at the end of the documentary via Skype.

BOYS WITH BROKEN EARS is an intimate look at the hopes and struggles of a handful of young Iranian wrestlers as they prepare for the biggest event of their lives; the world championship in Europe. It’s a social tale set against the qualms of committing one’s life to a dream at a young age.

With unprecedented access to the national youth team, the film follows five characters from impoverished background as they journey through the most challenging year of the lives, examining their beliefs and aspirations along the way.

Wrestling is a very popular sport in Iran with historical roots in the country’s religion and mythology. It is like football for the Brazilians or boxing for the Cubans. Iran has consistently produced outstanding world champions that have gone on to win gold and silver at the Olympics despite very little financial support from the government. However, almost all wrestlers come from the slums and poverty-stricken districts and wrestling have provided a very slim chance to make something of their lives. As a result two million youngsters try to make it to the national youth team every year, but only a handful do, most of whom find themselves in an uncompromising situation of having to hold down jobs to help their families survive while also spending all their time training to keep their dreams alive.

Caught in this crossroads between a sport they love and the realities of their harsh circumstances they soon realise that even with a gold medal their lives will hardly change, and this dream is a luxury that they cannot afford.

The film at its core is a human story, but it is loaded with themes of social identity in Iran and the confrontation of traditional and modern values. All this is set against each character’s decision whether to continue pursuing this love or not.


Mohsen Namjoo & Ensemble: Live in State College

Location: Pasquerilla Spiritual Center Penn State University 
Data & Time: Saturday, November 11 at 7 PM – 9:15 PM

Iranian Student Association proudly announces the great concert starring Mohsen Namjoo in State College. This concert will be held at Worship Hall in Spiritual Center at Penn State University on Saturday, November 11 from 7pm to 9:15pm. Let’s enjoy his stunning performance here in State College.

***Important Notice***
we will be selling tickets at the Hub-Robeson Center, information table #3 (next to Starbucks) at Penn State University during the following dates and times:

Monday, October 30, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Three types of tickets are available for purchase:

Penn State Students: $15
Penn State Faculty/Staff: $20
General Public (and other universities’ students): $25

If you do not live in State College and you do not have a friend to buy a ticket for you, please contact us via email:, title: Ticket for Namjoo Concert

Mohsen Namjoo is an Iranian artist, songwriter, singer, music scholar and setar (traditional Persian lute) player based in New York City. Hailed as “the Bob Dylan of Iran” by the New York Times, Namjoo is a visionary artist. He seamlessly blends the Classical Persian setar with electric guitar, rock, and blues vocal techniques with Persian Avaz (singing), he fuses the ancient with the current.

Kaveh Karandish, Live in Concert

Date/Time: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017, 6-8 PM

Location: Grace Lutheran Church, 205 S Garner St.

Dear all,

Iranian Students Association (ISA) at Penn State proudly presents Kaveh Karandish’s live concert in State College. Iranian pianist, composer and recording artist Kaveh Karandish will be performing for the first time in PA. He will be accompanied by vocalist and Oud player Mazy Karandish and world music master Eric Zang from Arizona. Kaveh’s music is a unique blend of Persian, Jazz, Sewage & World music and he is excited to share some of his brand new music from his new CD “Silent Whispers” in State College on November 2nd, 2017.

This is a free concert. There will be a light reception as well. To read more about Kaveh please visit

Hope to see you all there,

ISA Officers

Docunight #42 [Penn State]: Iran’s Arrow

Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Location: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, State College, Pennsylvania 16802

The Rise and Fall of Paykan

Directed by: Shahin Armin, Sohrab Daryabandari
2016 / 78 min
Persian with English subtitles

On the spring of 1967, when the first Paykan rolled off the assembly line on an outskirt of Tehran, no one thought this car would be produced for 38 years, or that it could have such an impact on a whole nation.

Iran’s Arrow features numerous talking heads who share a common interest for the country’s emblematic car, ranging from historical to sociological analyses, from technical to artistic expertise and from sheer passion to a complicated love-hate relationship. The film uses rare archival footage, as well as a large collection of vintage photos and imagery, to document the history of Paykan, the way it’s been perceived throughout the years, and its links with Iran’s major historical and sociological landmarks, such as the White Revolution (1963), the industrialization, the rise of the middle class, the Islamic Revolution (1979), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), and social economic mutations of the post-war era.

Older Paykan owners – including official and unofficial taxi drivers- testify of the fundamental role it played and still plays in their everyday life, as a means of transport, a source of income, and sometimes an achievement in itself. A number of Paykan enthusiasts, most of them from the younger generation, are being interviewed about their very special relationship with the car they grew up with. The film also documents the decline of the Paykan, while showing how it is still very much alive in the culture and memory of the country. Interviews are also conducted with artists who use Paykan as a medium or the subject of their art.

Shahin Armin is an automotive design-engineer and a lifelong Paykan expert. Born in Tehran and a car enthusiast before he could even talk or walk, he moved to the US in his twenties and worked in the US car industry for 13 years (Chrysler, Michigan and Honda America, Ohio).
Although he worked on the design of modern and sophisticated cars, he could never get the Paykan out of his head. In 2009 he started blog, thus initiating an extensive research about Iran’s emblematic car. Upon returning to Tehran in 2012, he co-curated two Paykan themed art exhibitions exhibiting work from prominent Iranian artists.
Iran’s Arrow is a result of his many years of extensive research into the history of this car, his experiences interacting with his fellow Paykan enthusiasts, and his comprehensive understanding of the car’s impact on Iranian society.

Sohrab Daryabandari is a Tehran based professional photographer and filmmaker whose 25 year-long careers has been stretching between almost all areas of expertise in analog and digital photography. His work has ranged from journalistic, commercial, and artistic to architectural and industrial photography, which later lead him to edit as well as industrial, artistic and documentary filmmaking.
His photographic work, which was regularly exhibited and published in Iran and Europe, has later been influencing his filmmaking, notably in Dammam (Iran, 2003) and Sharveh (Iran, 2005), his two documentaries on ethnic Iranian music.
Iran’s Arrow owes him its remarkable photography, the minute treatment of archive material, and its overall filmmaking and editing quality, considering the conditions of production and the limited resources.

ISA General Meeting

Date/time: Saturday, September 30 at 4 PM – 5 PM EDT
Location: 102 Leonhard Building

Dear all,

We will have our first general meeting on this coming Saturday. Please mark your calendar and try your best to attend the meeting, as we want to discuss our near future events including Yalda’s concert and Yalda night’s event. We would appreciate your valuable suggestions and feedbacks in the meeting. There will be free Pizza and refreshments as well!

Thanks and see you on Saturday,

ISA officers

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