Challenges and Prospects for Dynamic Entrepreneurship in Iran’s Transition to Democracy

Faraj Aalaei
Siavash Alamouti
Fay Arjomandi
Afsaneh Beschloss
Hamid Moghadam
Shane Tedjarati
Fri April 21st 2023, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Event Sponsor
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
Experience Type
Zoom webinar

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Join us for a conversation with prominent Iranian-American business leaders Faraj Aalaei, Siavash Alamouti, Fay Arjomandi, Afsaneh Beschloss, Hamid Moghadam, and Shane Tedjarati about the role of dynamic entrepreneurship, the role of women in the future economy, and the impact of the Iranian diaspora on the transition to a future democratic Iran.

Conversation is in English, moderated by Dr. Abbas Milani, and live-streamed via Zoom.


Faraj Aalaei, an Iranian American immigrant and a 40-year veteran of the communications industry, is currently the Founding Managing Partner at Candou Ventures. As an entrepreneur Mr. Aalaei has raised several hundred million dollars for his semiconductor companies from private and public investors, executed several M&A deals and as CEO taken two previous start-ups, Centillium and Aquantia through IPO. His last IPO, Aquantia, was acquired by Marvell Semiconductors where Mr. Aalaei stayed on as Executive VP in charge of Marvell’s Networking and Automotive businesses, a billion dollar revenue segment and the largest business at Marvell. Prior to joining Marvell and Aquantia, Faraj was the co-founder CEO and the force behind Centillium’ s successful track record as a leading innovator of high performance, cost effective semiconductor solutions for broadband access networks. Under his leadership, Centillium went from seed financing to NASDAQ IPO in 3 years, the fastest ever for a semiconductor company. An industry pioneer and holder of multiple patents, Mr. Aalaei has spent the last four decades at the forefront of technology innovations—from helping develop the world’s first optical communication system and the first broadband cable modem at AT&T Bell Laboratories to DSL solutions for broadband connectivity Centillium and most recently communication technologies for Data Centers and Autonomous Driving applications in automobiles at Aquantia. Mr. Aalaei holds an honorary degree of doctor of engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology where he also received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, MSEE from University of Massachusetts, and MBA from University of New Hampshire. 


Siavash Alamouti is a world-renowned business leader, scientist, engineer, visionary, and entrepreneur. He is currently the Executive Chairman of the Board at mimik in Oakland, California. He has held senior executive positions in many Fortune 100 and startup companies . Mr. Alamouti was awarded the prestigious 2022 Marconi Prize (also known as the Nobel Prize in Communications), past recipients include Vint Cerf and Tim Burner Lee (known as fathers of Internet), Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google. He is most well known as the inventor of the Alamouti Code used in billions of wireless devices. He has received more than 20,000 citations for his scientific work and has received multiple industry awards. Mr. Alamouti’s 1998 paper was selected by IEEE Communication Society for publication in “The Best of the Best: Fifty Years of Communications and Networking Research.” In addition to his technology contributions focused on improving digital inclusion and digital equity, he has been a political activist from his high school days. He was expelled from Sharif University in 1980 after the so called “Islamic cultural revolution,” escaped the country as a political refugee and has been an activist for refugee, women and LGBTQ+ rights, secularism, freedom, and democracy.


Fay Arjomandi is the founder and CEO of mimik, the pioneering hybrid edge cloud (HEC) company. She has held c-level positions in several enterprises in telecom, digital health, software, and augmented reality. She is also a serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, author, and advocate for women in tech and equality. Ms. Arjomandi graduated from Concordia University in electrical engineering where she was named the Alumna of the Year in 2018. She was recognized as one of the most influential women in Silicon Valley by San Francisco Business Week in 2014. She was named the Edge Woman of the year in 2020 by the Linux Foundation and received the Canadian Top 20 Tech Titans Award in 2022. She is a member of the Forbes Technology Council, a panelist for Ark Invest, advises many startup companies, and is a Board Advisor to American Tower, the global provider of wireless communications infrastructure. Ms. Arjomandi is passionate about social impact, philanthropy, digital inclusion, and equity. She was the chairman of Vodafone Americas Foundation and has supported many progressive causes such as education, health, environment, and women empowerment. Ms. Arjomandi is a mentor for young entrepreneurs and a sought-after speaker at events and conferences.


Afsaneh Beschloss is an economist and leader in the private, public, and multilateral sectors who has focused her career on harnessing the power of sustainable finance to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. A pioneer in climate policy and investments, she has found new ways to implement sustainability and inclusion into global finance for three decades. Currently, Ms. Beschloss is the founder and CEO of RockCreek, one of the world’s largest diverse-owned investment firms. Previously, she was Managing Director and Partner at the Carlyle Group. She was Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer of the World Bank and worked at J.P. Morgan. Ms. Beschloss worked closely with central banks and has advised governments, central banks, and regulatory agencies on global public policy and financial policy, as well as renewable energy. She pioneered and led the World Bank’s energy investments and policy work on areas including sustainable investing, renewable energy, power, and infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions. Ms. Beschloss is Chair of PBS Foundation and a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study. She serves on the boards of the World Resources Institute; the Council on Foreign Relations; the Rockefeller Foundation, where she chairs the finance committee; the Bretton Woods Committee, where she co-chairs the Future of Finance Working Group; Georgetown University; and the Center for Global Development. Ms. Beschloss holds an MPhil (Honors) in Economics from the University of Oxford, where she taught international trade and economic development. She is the co-author of The Economics of Natural Gas and author of numerous journal articles on innovations in finance for international financial institutions and energy economics, as well as renewable energy and impact investing.


Hamid Moghadam is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Prologis, the global leader in logistics real estate and a member of the S&P 100.  He is a Trustee Emeritus of Stanford University and currently serves on the boards of Stanford Management Company (former Chair), Stanford Health Care and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In addition, he is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and in 2013, the overall U.S. winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award.  In its latest ranking, Harvard Business Review voted him as the #17 Best Performing CEO in the world. He holds BS and MS degrees in Engineering from MIT and an MBA from Stanford.



Shane Tedjarati is the founder, chairman and CEO of the Tribridge Group. Tribridge is a global investment group dedicated to solving real-world challenges facing humanity in the 21st century by building bridges between diverse teams across the world, applying leading technologies to global megatrends. Mr. Tedjarati was retired president and CEO of the Global High Growth Regions in Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) in 2021. He was the architect of Honeywell’s globalization drive which transformed the company into the world’s leading and largest industrial technology firm, driving the lion’s share of its growth from the emerging markets of the world. Mr. Tedjarati is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and the co-founder of its Middle East Leadership Initiative and China Fellowship Program. He is a member of the advisory board of Antai College of Economics and Management and the industry co-chair of China Leaders for Global Operations of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is an avid aviator and speaks six languages. Mr. Tedjarati studied mathematics and computer science at McGill University, Canada; earned an MBA at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom and completed the Executive Program in e-Commerce at the Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.


Abbas Milani photo by Babak Payami

Abbas Milani is the director of the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University, an Adjunct Professor, and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. His expertise is U.S.-Iran relations as well as Iranian cultural, political, and security issues. Milani is the author of numerous books in Persian and English including Modernity and Its Foes in IranLost Wisdom: Rethinking Persian Modernity in IranTales of Two Cities: A Persian MemoirThe ShahCulture and Politics in Contemporary Iran was co-edited with Larry Diamond. Dr. Milani edited and wrote the introduction for A Window into Modern Iran: The Ardeshir Zahedi Papers at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and wrote Saadi and Humanism with Maryam Mirzadeh. Recently, he edited and translated An Encounter with Dylan Thomas by Ebrahim Golestan and published volume one of his 30 Portraits. Dr. Milani has also translated numerous books and articles into Persian and English. He has published more than 200 essays and book reviews in journals and papers.


Part of the Iranian Studies series "Prospects and Challenges for Transition to Democracy in Iran."

If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at iranianstudies [at] (iranianstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu).  Requests should be made by April 13, 2023.