Sanam Akhlagh is the founder, Executive Director and President of the Board of Pardis for Children. A member of the Iranian diaspora, Sanam was inspired to create Pardis in 2011, following the birth of her first child, to both build a community for the children of Iranian heritage and to a provide a space for both Iranian and non-Iranian children to gain a richer understanding of the Persian language and Iranian culture.
In her role as the Executive Director at Pardis for Children, Sanam oversees all strategic and operational duties. She has led her team in the development of both in-person and virtual educational programming, catering to children of all ages around the world. By creating and publishing original content, including music albums, podcasts, audiobooks, and educational material in both Persian and English, as well as partnering with revered New York institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Asia Society, and NYC Children’s Museums for cultural events, Sanam has ensured that Pardis now reaches well beyond the Iranian community.
Over the years, Sanam has also been involved in countless philanthropic efforts both inside and outside of Iran. From fundraising to help the victims of the 2003 earthquake in Bam, where she flew to Iran to distribute funds to multiple NGOs on the ground, to organizing a documentary film series at NYU, to directing a documentary film herself (The Iron Cradle), Sanam’s mission has been to build a strong community of Iranians living outside the country and to promote the beauty of her culture to the rest of the world.
Sanam earned her BA, Cum Laude, in Operations Research and her MA in Engineering and Management Systems, both from Columbia University. She has served as a consultant for multiple for profit, nonprofit and governmental agencies, including overseeing the Community Partners program for New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunities.
She also serves on the board of trustees at Brooklyn Children’s Museum as well as Khōréō, a quarterly magazine of speculative fiction and migration. Sanam, her husband, Morad Masjedi and their two sons reside in Brooklyn, New York.