Board of Directors
Holding a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto and a full time employee of IBM Canada from 1998 to 2016, Mehrdad has been actively involved in preserving and reviving Iranian culture, a subject that is close to his heart. Over the course of years of volunteer work, he has served as chair and board member for many organizations devoted to promotion of Iranian culture and intellectual heritage within academia, Iranian community and Canadian society.
Highlights of his roles include: Founding member of the Iranian Canadian Congress, co-founder of the organizing committee of Cheharshanbeh Suri (Iranian Fire Festival), board member and chair of the art committee at the Parya Trillium Foundation, co-founder of the first Iranian Book Club in Toronto, chair and board member for the Iranian Association at the University of Toronto, chief organizer of Bam Earthquake Relief Concert, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tirgan cultural festival, the largest of its kind, held in Toronto since 2006. Mehrdad has been one of the authors of Charter 91, a document that seeks to unite Iranians around a potential charter of rights.
Mehrdad is the recipient of many awards for humanitarian and community service and promoting culture and social justice, including the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.
Nima has had the opportunity to delve into various non-for-profit projects and initiatives since his university days. Nima takes prides to found challenging moments and work with various organizations to facilitate solutions for raising awareness of Iranian art and culture. Nima has expertise in all facets of festival production, from conceptual design through to the graphic communication strategies, funding and sponsorship, human resource management and executive implementation. He is proud to be a co-founder of Tirgan organization since 2006 which is the largest Iranian festival in the world.
Nima obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture from Ryerson University and currently runs his own construction management practice in Toronto.
Ali Nakhaei-Zadeh is the Senior Marketing Manager of Tirgan’s Nowruz and Summer Festivals and a member of Board of Directors as Treasurer. He has been volunteering for Tirgan since 2007 in different positions from Vendor coordination to Senior Marketing Management. By profession, he is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. He has over 25 years of experience in management, design and consulting engineering.
Azita has been a volunteer for the Tirgan Festival since 2008 when she was a member of the marketing team. in 2013 she was promoted to be the Tirgan Client Services Manager and Senior Adviser. She has received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award in 2014. Azita has been a physiotherapist practitioner since 1991 and has received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2016. In addition to her physiotherapy education, she also holds an MBA and is experienced in business management. Azita has an active lifestyle and enjoys playing tennis, hiking, biking, swimming and practicing yoga.”
Behzad has been a volunteer at Tirgan since 2011 when he was a member of the Logistics team. Since 2015 he was promoted to be Tirgan Operations director to manage and organize 400 volunteers for each festival. He is a mechanical engineer and currently working in renewable energy industry as a project manager.
Mahsa Pezeshki has been a volunteer since 2010. Her first role was with the Operations Team at Tirgan 2011. She recently made a change in her volunteer role and joined the Board of Directors.
In her day job, she is a law clerk specializing in corporate governance and tax law for non-profit corporations and charities. For over a decade she has worked at renowned Bay Street law firms in collaboration with charities and not-for-profit law leaders in the country.
Mr. Ali Toufighi, an Economist by trade is a Product Manager in commercial cards section of Scotiabank. Ali has more than 15 years of experience in cash management & payment services.
Ali started volunteer experience with Tirgan in 2011 where he worked as PR & Media Relationship Coordinator. Inspired by Tirgan spirit & cultural significance Ali continued to be engaged in Tirgan by volunteering in Operation, PR and Programming departments. Aside being part of Tirgan family Ali has volunteered as United Ways ambassador and is the Chair of Heidelberg Alumni Canada.
Soheil Parsa is the Artistic Director of Modern Times Stage Company, actor, writer, choreographer, and dramaturge. In 1989, He established Modern Times with actor Peter Farbridge. Operating as a steadfastly collaborative unit, the company's process and award-winning productions are rooted in a unique theatrical approach, resulting in a timeless, placeless expression of reality. The company’s repertoire includes new Canadian and classic European works in addition to North American premiers of eight Iranian plays. Under Soheil Parsa’s direction, Modern Times has received forty Dora Awards nominations and sixteen awards since its inception. Parsa has personally won four Dora Awards for Outstanding Direction and two for Outstanding New Play with co-translator/adaptor Peter Farbridge.
Credits include an acclaimed adaptation of Macbeth (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 1995); The Chairs (Artword Theatre, 2001); Stories from the Rains of Love and Death(Artword Theatre, 2003); The Sheep and the Whale by Ahmed Ghazali, translated by Bobby Theodore (Cahoots Theatre Projects and Theatre Passe Muraille, 2007); Waiting for Godot (Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 2008); Hallaj (Buddies in Bad Times, 2011); Blood Wedding (Buddies, 2015); The Death of the King (The Theatre Centre, 2016).
His work with the most longevity is a co-translation/adaptation with Brian Quirt of the Persian fable, Aurash (Theatre Passe Muraille, 1998). He has since directed international productions of Aurash in the Spanish language (Havana, Cuba, 1999, and La Casa del Teatro Nacional Bogota, Colombia, 2010); in Iran (Fadjr International Theatre Festival, 2002); and in the Serbian-Croatian language (Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2009). In 2010, he directed a new production of Aurash for Toronto audiences at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, to critical acclaim.
Parsa remains a strong advocate of social action through theatre, as exemplified by his company’s foundations in outreach and borderless collaboration. He has introduced many important Iranian plays to Canadian audiences and directed their English-language premieres. A collection of these was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2008.
In 2007 and in 2010, he was short-listed for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre for his work as a director. The jury noted, “A collaborative artist to the core, Soheil’s strong imagery set amongst a landscape of poetically engaging text is incredibly potent.”
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