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Azadeh Moaveni  

Author & Journalist

As far back as she can remember, author and journalist Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, she lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna. For years, she ignored the tense standoff between her two cultures. But college magnified the clash between Iran and America, and after graduating, she moved to Iran as a journalist.

Moaveni explored the psychologies of young people in Iran and wrote Lipstick Jihad, an intimate exploration of Iran’s dynamic and overwhelmingly young population. She wanted to accurately reflect the kitsch, hedonism, and despair that underpinned their rebellion against the Islamic system. In 2006, she co-authored Iran Awakening, the memoir of Shirin Ebadi. Recently, Moaveni released Honeymoon in Tehran, an account of the several unexpected turns her life took - love, pregnancy, and marriage - when she returned to Tehran to cover a story for Time magazine.

Moaveni, who grew up in San Jose, writes about Arab and Iranian youth culture, Islam, Iran's reform struggle, and Middle East politics, with a special emphasis on demographics and young people's attitudes toward the West. She studied politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, won a Fulbright fellowship to Egypt, and studied Arab at the American University in Cairo. Moaveni began her career in 2000, when she joined Time magazine as a Tehran and then New York-based reporter, covering society and political stories across the Middle East. In 2003, Moaveni became a correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, where she reported on the Iraq war, political Shiism, and Iran's pro-democracy student movement.

After becoming frustrated that her articles for the American media could not capture how Iranians were experiencing the transformations in their society, Moaveni decided to create something that would spill outside the frame of news—something that would effectively relay the rich panorama of Iranian life, its edgy underground, and stormy, shifting moods.

Currently, Moaveni lives in London with her family.


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Speech Topics

To Think I Saw It Tehran: Iranian Youth between Theocracy and the West

Pink Veil, Black Veil: Being Young, Muslim, and Modern in Today's Middle East

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