For more than 20 years, Ms. Monfared has dedicated herself to her passion of sharing her rich Iranian culture with the West. Her vision is now “a more peaceful and healthy environment for all.” Founding Senses Cultural is the realization of that vision.
In 1997, she started a website featuring bilingual books for children, in English translation from the original Persian. This effort grew into the company TM4, which promoted Iranian language and culture to Iranian-Americans and published greeting cards that showcased the artwork of expatriate Iranian artists. In 2003, TM4 was honored to receive a letter from the director of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, expressing his appreciation and support for its work of introducing Iranian art to the U.S.
Senses Magazine, Publisher and CEO
Senses Magazine began as a project of TM4, conceived as an art and luxury lifestyle publication that would share the creations of great minds and big hearts. Senses coupled art and fashion content with social conscience, in an opulent print format. Five issues were published from 2006–2008.
Senses Magazine published articles about international nonprofit Project Hope’s health work in the Dominican Republic, and provided subscribers an opportunity to donate through subscription cards. Another issue told the story of how AIDS orphans in Tumaini, Kenya started a blog to tell their own stories to the world.
Senses also promoted the ground-breaking Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, to which Ms. Monfared attracted significant financial support for research and translation into Arabic. This six-volume interdisciplinary reference work was published in 2003 and is online with supplementary content at the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) website.
Senses began its series of cultural exchanges by partnering with the London Middle East Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies (LMEI/SOAS) to present an event with writer Reza Aslan in May 2011. Dr. Aslan spoke about his most recent book, “Tablet and Pen,” a collection of powerful Middle Eastern literature, little-known in the English-speaking world.
From 2005 to 2010, Ms. Monfared worked with the University California, Davis to promote its Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies Program (ME/SA). She served on ME/SA’s advisory board as it became first a minor, then a major area of study. She collaborated on bringing presentations by the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Shirin Ebadi and writer Dr. Reza Aslan to UCDavis. In addition, she was instrumental in funding an Iranian Speaker Series in 2009, and in securing core funding to establish Arab studies in ME/SA in 2010. She cultivated an expanding relationship between UC Davis and the United Arab Emirates, laying the groundwork for a future environmental studies center in Dubai.
Senses Cultural Projects
In June 2012, Senses Cultural produced the exhibit “HeART of Iran,” a display featuring the creative works of almost 50 Iranian and Iranian-American artists. Produced at the invitation of a state senator, HeART of Iran hung in the Governor’s Hallway at the California State Capitol.
Currently, Senses Cultural is promoting the non-profit organization BYkids and conducting an international fundraising campaign for BYkids’ next project in Afghanistan. Founded by Pulitzer-nominated journalist and filmmaker Holly Carter, BYkids provides children around the world with training and video cameras to make short documentaries about their lives. BYkids is a global movement that uses storytelling through film to inform, engage and inspire action. Senses is proud to be helping BYkids raise awareness of critical human issues and promote global understanding and social engagement. Senses Cultural sponsored a festival of BYkids films at the University of London in November 2012, in partnership with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus. In October 2012, Senses brought Ms. Carter and two films to enthusiastic audiences at both a private screening and a packed house at the nonprofit International House in Davis, California.
Individuals and institutions that value giving voice to underrepresented cultures are invited to contact Senses Cultural. Together we will produce and support projects that create cross-cultural understanding and tolerance.
To learn more about Tahereh Mondared, please download a pdf version of her biography and recent ventures.
“Mohammad Nami (born in October 30th 1978, Tehran) is an Iranian medical doctor and applied neuroscientist. His medical specialty is on neuroscience and he holds a clinical fellowship in sleep disorders. He is currently the Head of the Department of Neuroscience at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences.
He is among the university’s top-ranked scholars due to his numerous scientific articles and speeches in international congresses and he has been recognized as a top-rated contributor to numerous international neuroscience events. He is the chief-editor of two international and interdisciplinary journals (JAMSAT, Neuroscience Research Letters) and currently, he is the president of the Iranian Neuroscience Society, Fars Chapter. The Neuroscience Lab (NSL/SUMS) is now a fine place for interdisciplinary studies of brain, thanks to his team and his efforts.
Dr. Nami has always been active and interested in traditional Iranian country music, especially in singing.”
For the past several years, Mohammad gained experience as corporate trainer in the field of professional development skills at Behphar holding in Iran. He has been a Dale Carnegie’s alumnus since 2014 and yearns to gain further expertise in the field of organizational and leadership training.
He is also passionate about the concept of “Neuro-leadership” and how our brain potentials drive our behavior as leaders to inspire others. He has led Brain Awareness and Autism Multidisciplinary works as well as Sleep Medicine/Sleep Neuroscience workshop across the country and the region over the past several years.
“Professionals committed to the health and well-being of families”.
Shuka Kalantari is our Director of Communications and will be spearheading various initiatives to further the goals of Senses Cultural and Senses Cultural Academy of Health. Her background is in media strategy, journalism and podcast production. She primarily covers health and culture of immigrant communities and has reported in Turkey, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Thailand, Canada and across the United States. You can follow her on Twitter @skalantari and find out more about her work at shukakalantari.com.
Dr. Chinichian’s passion for clinical psychology and social justice work was reignited in the place she least expected – a corporate banking start-up. As Vice President of Training and Development, she developed one of the first formal national training programs for retail/wholesale and operation channels to span across over 2,000 associates in the retirement planning industry. She spent many days putting out “fires,” managing associates, working long hours, and coping with constant pressure. She was fueled by the excitement of the work and by the primary goal of helping seniors. Although it was gratifying, it also led to taking on positions of leadership that removed her from direct client work that she both craved and enjoyed. After 9 years in the banking and finance arena, she made a career change to reflect the altruistic values she was raised with.
Dr. Chinichian is a cognitive-behavioral therapist whose primary areas of interest are child/adolescent development, complex trauma, and minority mental health. Her clinical training and experience have involved working in multiple therapeutic contexts, the use of multidisciplinary resources and efforts, and the management of a diversity of mental health concerns. She has worked with children/adolescents and their families in the contexts of schools, day-treatment programs, hospitals, probation programs, foster care, social and protective services, home-based services, outpatient clinics, and private practice.
Dr. Chinichian spent six years of her training working with vulnerable and at-risk youth. This eventually culminated in her dissertation project, “Formative Program Evaluation of a Graduate Training Program Advocating for Youth with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Extended Foster Care.” During her APA-accredited internship training at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, CAARE Center, Dr. Chinichian was involved in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with a myriad of psychiatric presentations including post traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorders, sexual and physical abuse, developmental disability, and mood disorders. While interning, Dr. Chinichian was afforded the opportunity to work with refugee families and provide Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Farsi. Additionally, she became certified in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to help caregivers and children ages 2 to 7 repair disrupted attachment issues due to trauma. Dr. Chinichian is committed to provide services within a multicultural context.
Dr. Chinichian holds a postdoctoral scholar fellowship position at the University of California Davis (UCD) Medical Center, The MIND Institute, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Under the Northern California LEND program her role includes various advocacy and leadership duties, program development, clinical assessment, and evidence based interventions for youth with neurodevelopment disorders. Dr. Chinichian’s passion includes developing community outreach programs/resources for families with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders.
Mehdi Khalili is head of the psychology department at Pasteurno Hospital in Iran. He has a MSc in Clinical Psychology and certificates in child cognitive therapy, transactional analysis, learning disability, marriage preparation, couple therapy, clinical hypnosis, grief therapy and inpatient group therapy. He has been working in various hospitals and clinics since 2000 and previously worked for more than six years in The Netherlands.
Dr. Marzieh Forghany is a clinical psychologist at Kaiser Permanente in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Center at San Jose.
She has experience working in community mental health facilities, in early intervention with children on the autism spectrum, and in general outpatient therapy with individual children and families conducting psychological assessments and providing individual psychotherapy. Her specialties include conducting psychological and cognitive assessment, evidence-based individual psychotherapy, as well as group therapy.
Dr. Forghany believes in early intervention of family and community education. Her practice originates from a strong drive to implement empirically based diagnostics, effective familial support, and tailored recommendations for treatment. She believes that collaborating with caregivers and a specialized team, children on the spectrum can receive an accurate diagnosis, which serves as the first step in establishing treatment for the individual and support for his/her family.
She is passionate about providing psychological services to culturally diverse populations, including refugee and immigrant children. She speaks English, Farsi, Dari, Arabic and French.
Senses Cultural is pleased to announce that Dr. Mesbah Ansari Dogaheh is joining the Senses Cultural and Shokraneh MavadatJahani (SHOMA) advisory boards. Dr. Ansari has been a strong advocate for the inclusion persons with disabilities as a counselor in the Iranian Mission in cooperation with CRPD Secretariat and the International Disability Alliance in New York. His main focus has been the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities. He has also been active with the United Nations Social Development Department. His expertise includes treatment of persons with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. He currently is a PhD candidate in International Relations. More importantly, he is the father of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In 2015 Dr. Ansari was invited to serve as a panelist at the World’s Autism Awareness Day event at the UN in New York. In addition, he was also Iran’s representative at the Parent Skills Training Meetings organized by World Health Organization in Geneva.
With more than 10 years of experience in advocacy for the rights of persons with pervasive developmental disorders and intellectual disabilities, he has contributed to the startup of a number of national NGOs and charity foundations. He has also run workshops on the empowerment of families of children living with mental and intellectual disorders. Along with his wife,he has run social networks including a website for empowering families living with disabilities, and the website: http://prt-autism.ir/ includes photos and information about his own son and his son’s treatment.
Senses Cultural and Shokraneh MavadatJahani (SHOMA) are honored to have Dr. Ansari as part of our organization and we look forward to his guidance and help with our mission.