The North Carolina Iranian-American community has given generously to UNC Libraries — and now the libraries say they hope to give back.
UNC Libraries will be celebrating Iranian-American culture through Nowruz — or Persian New Year — tonight at Wilson Library, thanks to support from the community and the growth of the library’s Persian collection.
“Nowruz is actually two words, ‘now’ and ‘ruz,’ and it means ‘new day,’” said Middle Eastern and African Studies Librarian Mohamed Hamed.
“It comes in the beginning of spring. There are gatherings everywhere. They go and meet with each other, have food and celebrate their culture and civilization.”
The event will feature a talk by Reza Zarghamee, author of “Discovering Cyrus: The Persian Conqueror Astride the Ancient World,” calligraphy by Fatemeh Sayyady, live Persian painting, food and a display of some of the Persian collection.
Tonight’s celebration is a culmination of recent growth in community participation and their continued support.
“When I started here in 2010, I realized that we have a very supportive Iranian community here in North Carolina, and I don’t see this happening in other places,” Hamed said.
“Here I see (the community) is very supportive and very active in terms of supporting the library, meeting with us and (with) donations.”
In February 2011, Hamed met with the local Iranian community with the support of Carl Ernst, UNC professor and co-director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, where he was able to list the needs of the library.