Doostane Farsi Zabane Man, also known as DFZM or My Persian-Speaking Friends, is a pen pal program between Iranian and American students. The project will help foster friendships between these children, who live in very different societies from each other. They will learn about critical world issues, develop an appreciation for the other country’s contributions to society, and be involved in the development of a peaceful relationship between the United States and Iran by helping transform the next generation of Iranians and Americans into compassionate and understanding human beings.
Due to the growing political hostility between the United States and Iran, there is little to no social or cultural exchange between the two countries. Doostane Farsi Zabane Man aims not only to create friendships for these children now, but also to help them grow into empathetic, concerned, and informed adults.
Doostane Farsi Zabane Man will work with young citizens who are of an age at which they generally have not been influenced by negative stereotypes of people from the Middle East and Iranians in particular. DFZM aims to engage children who are seven to eighteen, an ideal age group for this program.
Doostane Farsi Zabane Man’s pen pal program will start with fifteen students from Iran and the same number of students from the United States. About once a month, the students will write a letter to their designated pen pals. The letters will then be sent to Doostane Farsi Zabane Man, translated, and mailed to the appropriate children. Over the next few years, we hope to expand the program to include more students.
The American students will also have access to a library of media, including age-appropriate books that have been translated from Farsi, movies in Farsi with English subtitles, and CDs. They will be able to request materials from the library. In coming months and years, we would like to expand our library and create one for Iranian participants.