Formerly imprisoned communications studies graduate student, Esha Momeni, will speak at CSUN after being allowed to return home. The Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) will host the event, From CSUN to Iran and Back Again, in honor of Momeni on Monday, Nov. 9.
The event starts at 4 p.m. at the University Student Union’s Northridge Center.
Shira Brown, director of the WRRC, and her student assistant, Juliane Perez, a gender and women’s studies major, said they felt Momeni’s story was dropped after her return.
“We decided it was important to bring Esha back to share her story and give her an opportunity to thank CSUN,” said Brown.
Perez, 22, said the event planning began in September when she and Brown sat down to decide what events the center, which focuses on raising awareness for issues concerning gender, would hold for the fall semester.
Brown got in touch with women and gender studies professor Dr. Nayereh Tohidi to reach Momeni. Via e-mail, Brown explained the event would give her the opportunity to share her story without any filters.
“Esha was honored and pleased,” Brown said. “The idea of an event in her honor was humbling.”
Tohidi said Momeni needed time to settle down and get back into routine before speaking out about her experience. She added Momeni was happy because this showed her how supportive the CSUN community has been.
“Everyone from the administration, from the president to the provost, professor Melissa Wall and students were active in waging an international campaign for her safe return,” Tohidi said.
Brown said Momeni requested some of the speakers herself.
“She wanted her classmates, Anasa and John and professor Wall to participate because they were quite instrumental in her release,” Brown said.
Other speakers include Provost Harry Hellenbrand and College of Humanities Dean Dr. Elizabeth Say.
Brown said the event is a celebration of her return and aims to bring closure to the CSUN community that supported her. She said that Momeni is still dealing with some of the repercussions, and the event would not give her closure, but it would allow her to share her future plans.
“We want to learn about her research in Iran and how it has changed since she returned,” Brown said.
Tohidi, who, like Momeni, is involved with the One Million Signatures Campaign, said the event would allow students to learn from her courage and experience. She added Momeni could also provide more insight about what is going on in Iran with the women’s movement.
“Ultimately, it’s an opportunity for students to hear her story first-hand and ask her questions,” Brown said.
Senior Dorian Adams-Wilson, president of the Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA) which is co-sponsoring the event along with the gender and women’s studies and journalism departments, said the student association would be working with the WRRC the day of the event to make sure everything runs smoothly.
“She’s been through a lot and we just want it to be a nice homecoming,” said Adams-Wilson, 24. “We want it to have a welcome home kind of feeling.”
Adams-Wilson said WSSA is promoting the event through Facebook because they want as many students as possible to know about the upcoming event.
“I am glad she wants and is willing to talk to us about fighting for women’s right in Iran,” Adams-Wilson said. “I don’t have expectations but I know it’s going to be amazing.”