Announcing the "Iranian Diaspora Youth Essay Contest" - Deadline October 15, 2019

Event Date: Tuesday, October 15 - 5:00 pm
CIDS logo

Forty years after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iranian in the diaspora find themselves at a critical point in their interaction with and expression of their culture and heritage; even after four decades, many hyphenated Iranians feel both a sense of belonging and a sense of alienation. The growing anti-Iranian rhetoric that contorts the global perception of Iran and its people, has consequences for Iranians who have been living in the diaspora for more than four decades. But we see this as an especially important time for young people who are both redefining their identity, working within the frameworks of people of color, and also engaging with issues of intersectionality.

In partnership with Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University is sponsoring a high school essay contest that showcases narratives from the youth of the Iranian diaspora community. By supporting the second and third generation youth, we hope to recognize and share narratives that reflect diversity that is part of our diaspora community. We at IAAB and the Center believe in the power of every human story to convey a more nuanced, compassionate, and truthful experience about who Iranians in the diaspora are and are becoming. We invite you all to share your story with us as part of the “Iranian Diaspora Youth Essay Contest” for high school students, and to convey your experiences as a hyphenated Iranian. Tell us your story and its evolution. Guide us through the nuances that have shaped your experience with this rich heritage. Tell us about your struggles, challenges, and successes!


  • 1st prize: $300 and a full camp scholarship to IAAB’s Camp Ayandeh 2020
  • 2nd prize: $200 and a partial camp scholarship to IAAB’s Camp Ayandeh 2020
  • 3rd prize: $100 and a partial camp scholarship to IAAB’s Camp Ayandeh 2020
  • 1 Honorable Mention will receive a certificate
  • All winning submissions will be announced and featured on the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies and IAAB websites.
Submissions will be judged by a panel of IAAB staff and Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies faculty. Prizes will be announced by January 15, 2020.


  • The essay can be in any style, but should be a maximum of 5-pages, double spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins, Times New Roman
  • Please include a cover page that includes your age, grade, high school name, and contact information
  • Submission deadline: October 15, 2019
  • To submit an entry, please send your submission as a word document attached in an email with the subject line “Iranian Diaspora Youth Essay Contest” to

We encourage you to use this opportunity to explore the multi-faceted implications of your Iranian diaspora identity. Be creative! We look forward to reading your submissions!