Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton, and Telling Stories About Iran

Brandon Stanton
Parwiz "Bubjan" Zafari
Rostam Zafari
Fri February 2nd 2024, 4:00 - 5:30pm
Event Sponsor
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
Event is open to
Experience Type
In person at Stanford

Join us for a conversation with Humans of New York founder Brandon Stanton to discuss his story-telling process, and in particular the decision to write his longest story about Iran—as told by Parwiz Zafari and the Zafari family. The 54-part series was told in English and Persian over the course of six days leading up to the one year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini that sparked the Woman, Life, Freedom movement in Iran.

Brandon Stanton, Parwiz Zafari, and his grandson Rostam Zafari, will discuss Brandon’s travels to Iran, why he chose this story, reactions to the series, and thoughts on the future of Iran. 

Please note: RSVP is required but does not guarantee a seat. Seating is limited and is first come, first serve. Event location will be emailed to registered attendees on Monday, January 29.  Brandon Stanton and Parwiz Zafari will join via Zoom, Rostam Zafari and moderator Roma Parhad will be in person. Event will be in English (with Persian parts live translated to English).

Brandon Stanton is the creator of #1 New York Times best selling books including Humans of New York and Humans of New York: Stories, as well as the children’s book Little Humans. His photography and story telling blog, also called Humans of New York, is followed by a global audience of over 30 million people across several social media platforms. In addition to sharing thousands of stories from around the world, the blog has raised more than $12 million for featured individuals and non profits. Stanton is a graduate of the University of Georgia and lives in New York City.

Brandon Stanton

Parwiz "Bubjan" Zafari is a former parliamentarian who represented the people of Nahavand, Iran from 1975 to 1979. The theocratic dictatorship of the Islamic Republic forced him to leave his homeland in the summer of 1980. As a parliamentarian, he focused on people’s participation in urban organizations such as the “Red Lion and Sun Society“ in Iran, and increasing access to drinking water, roads, and better education through locally-led development projects in the villages of Nahavand. Before parliament, Parwiz worked as an engineer at the Esfahan Steel Company and later as the Vice President of the locomotive and train manufacturer Wagon Pars. He is deeply inspired by Iranian poetry, in particular Ferdowsi’s masterpiece, The Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).

Parwiz was born in 1935 in Nahavand, Iran. He attended Alborz High School, where his interest in politics began and when he joined the Pan-Iranist Party. He received two Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Economics from The Technical University of Karlsruhe in Germany. Today, he lives in the United States and spends his time with his family, but Iran is always in his heart and on his mind. He has written, edited and translated many essays, stories and books in Persian. Parwiz has been married to his wife Mitra for 64 years. They have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

Parwiz Zafari

Rostam Zafari serves as Chief Investment Officer of Sage Hill Investors (SHI), a family office based out of Chattanooga, TN. He has led over 150 investments in early-stage companies across the US, India, Africa, and Europe as well as over 20 fund investments. Rostam is also the founder and Executive Director of World Within, a nonprofit dedicated to finding and funding projects locally and internationally—with an emphasis on impact investing, storytelling, and human rights. Rostam grew up in Georgia. He studied poetry and social enterprise as an undergraduate at Emory University. He also received a Master’s in Development Practice while at Emory. He is deeply inspired by his Iranian heritage and its poetry, in particular Ferdowsi’s masterpiece, The Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).

Rostam Zafari

Discussion moderated by Roma Parhad.

Part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts

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 January 25, 2024.