End of year newsletter, 2021



We are getting towards the end of 2021, another year under the coercion of COVID-19. At the end of yet another tough year, Friends of Shahnameh would like to thank each and every one who supported us by joining our online programmes and reading our blog posts. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Ali Sadeghi (treasurer and co-founder), Homeyra Doostar (secretary) and Mohammed Hadad (vulnerable person officer).


Despite everything that has been happening in the past two years, Friends of Shahnameh continued with its regular poetry nights. We providing a platform for communication and discussion for community members on line. Our meetings worked as a learning and support tool. Throughout the pandemic, we stayed in touch with the members, and with their backing we helped and supported others. As part of our ‘helping others’ scheme, we supported a friend, who has recently arrived in the UK. A tablet was bought for her so she can stay in touch with the world whilst waiting to hear the outcome of her case.


This year, we were more equipped to deal with the ever-changing regulations and recommendations. With the support of ‘Manchester for you’, towards the end of 2020, we got a Zoom account. As a result, our gathering on line went ahead smoother and with less disruption. Some of the members’ comments on the effect of the support of ‘Manchester for you’ can be read here.


We worked in partnership with others with common interests in Persian Literature and Shahnameh to celebrate the eleventh Commemoration Day of Ferdowsi in the UK. We benefited from the contribution of experts and artists from all parts of the globe. This year, through Zoom, Friends of Shahnameh ran: 39 workshops, 11 events in which guest speakers or group members presented and of course, as the previous 10 years, we also celebrated the Commemoration Day of Ferdowsi. See below for more information on each activity.


The events run by Friends of Shahnameh


All remains for me is to thank those of you who regularly join our online workshops: Afsaneh Nekonam, Mohammed Hadad, Rahim Rahimzadeh, Nosrat Bayati, Hassan Shabani, Manijeh Sadati, Majid Sadati, Abazar Agha, Homayoon Nouruzi, Dr Soraya Faili, Pooran Shahdi , Zohreh khanoum, Fariba Derakhshan and Ali Sadeghi. Thanks also to everyone who visited our website, Facebook or Instagram pages.


We are hoping to come back in the New Year with lots of exciting cultural events. Meanwhile enjoy the holidays and stay safe.


Happy New Year

Dr Shahireh Sharif (Founder and Creative Director of Friends of Shahnameh)


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News of Shahnameh Workshops:

Running 39 workshops through Zoom instead of our pre-Corona face to face meetings, made it possible for people to join us from different cities and countries, to name a few, we had attenders from Greater Manchester, Chester, Warrington, Holland, South Africa, Iran, Canada and USA. In mid-2021 we changed the structure of running workshops. Instead of a volunteer reading, we each read 10 stanzas. This way more people are involved in reading and understanding what is read. (Members are asked to complete a questionnaire, designed to assess the potential benefits of the workshops. Responses to the questionnaire will be analysed and shared in the New Year.)

News of the events run by Friends of Shahnameh

We ran 11 successful events. Thanks to all of the presenters and people who attended our on-line events. More information about the events here.


News of the 11th Commemoration Day of Ferdowsi

Friends of Shahnameh 11th Commemoration Day of Ferdowsi was sold out. Thanks to everyone attended.

Thanks to all the academics, artists and speakers: Seyavosh Bagheryan, Seyamak Heravi, Firuza Melville, Shohreh Shakoory, Martin Kratz and Saeed Mokhtassi and to our presenter Homeyra Doostar. In the event an extract of an interview with Professor Melville and Dr Firuza Melville rescored in 2020 was shared. Many responded to our callout for reading Shahnameh. A collective video of everyone who participated was shared in the event. It could be seen here.


Dr Soraya Faili, Kemeya Shahdi, Rahim Rahimzadeh and Majid sadati, from the group each read a few stanzas of Shahnameh. Their video can be seen here. Then we remembered Ostad Bahirayi and Ostad Karballayi who sadly are no longer amongst us. Some of their past contribution can be seen here.


در پایان سالی دشوار که با وجود همه‌ی سختیهای آن، گروه دوستان شاهنامه موفق به برگزاری برنامه‌های مختلفی از جمله کارگاه‌های شاهنامه‌خوانی و بزرگداشت فردوسی شد، از همه‌ی دوستانی که در این راه همراه و حامی ما بودند تشکر می‌نمایم. سپاس ویژه از سخنوران و دوستانی که در کارگاه‌های شاهنامه‌خوانی، جلسات بحث و گفتگو و بزرگداشت فردوسی شرکت کردند یا با حضور در صفحه مجازی ما را حمایت کردند. بخصوص از دوستانی که در هر جلسه همراه و یار ما هستنند سپاسگزارم: خانم‌ها دکتر فیلی، نکونام، بیاتی، سعادتی، خانم فریبا، خانم زهرا و خانم پوران؛ آقایان جناب حداد، دکتر کریمی، نوروزی، سعادتی، رحیم‌زاده، شبانی، صادقی و آقا اباذر. همچنین سپاس از دوستانی که در هم‌یاری دوستان شاهنامه شرکت کردند. با کمک دوستان موفق شدیم تا با خرید تبلتی برای دوستی تازه از ایران آمده زیر چتر "کمک به دیگران" گامی در جهت حمایت از یک هموطن برداریم.



در طی 2021، یازدهمین بزرگداشت فردوسی، 39 کارگاه شاهنامه‌خوانی و 11 سمینار و گفتگو را از طریق زوم برگزار کرده‌‌‌ و میزبان دوستان از سراسر دنیا بوده‌ایم. سپاس از همه سخنوران، هنرمندان و دوستان که همراه ما بودند. سپاس ویژه از شرکت کنندگان در بخش شاهنامه‌خوانی کودک و نوجوان در بزرگداشت فردوسی: امیرعباس سامی ۸ ساله، شمیم شکوری ۷ ساله، امیرعلی موسوی ۱۰ ساله، هونیا منفرد ۹ ساله، باربد محیدی‌فرد ۸ ساله، کیانا ره‌نورد ۱۱ ساله، یسنا طاهری ۸ ساله، یکتا حسین زاده ۱۰ ساله، پارسا عباس زاده ۱۲ ساله، یوسف عباس زاده ۱۴ ساله، فاطمه خیرآبادی ۱۱ ساله، باران اسکندری ۱۰ ساله، بیتا حسین زاده ۸ ساله، تینا معتمدی کیا ۱۱ ساله، بیتا حسین زاده ۸ ساله، شایسته ناصربخت ۱۲ ساله، کیمیا مشکات ۱۱ ساله، کوثر قیامتیون ۱۲ ساله، مهتا وحیدی ۹ ساله، طاها حسن زاده ۷ ساله، سارا حسن زاده ۱۰ ساله. ویدئوهای ارسالی را در این قسمت ببینید.


در سال جدید میلادی با برنامه‌های متنوع باز هم در خدمت شما خواهیم بود.


به امید اینکه سال آینده برای همگی سالی سراسر سلامتی و خوشی باشد.


دکتر شهیره شریف (موسس و مدیر گروه دوستان شاهنامه)


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