Presenters



Juana Conrad
Juana Conrad

Juana Conrad is the Treasurer and former Deputy Secretary-General of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States. The National Spiritual Assembly is the governing body of the Bahá'ís of the United States. Mrs. Conrad was the Founder and President of Women For International Peace and Arbitration, a Non-Profit, Public Benefit, Educational Corporation dedicated to the promotion of mediation and arbitration to resolve international conflict, education of women in their paramount role in bringing peace to the world, working for peace through the elimination of all prejudice, equality of women and men, and communication in an international language. Mrs. Conrad was invited to Moscow for International Women’s Day, March, 1987, to meet with the Soviet Women’s Committee on Women’s Issues as they relate to peace. She was a member of the United States delegation to the World Congress of Women held in Moscow, June 1987, where almost 3,000 women from 154 countries met to discuss Equality, Development and Peace. In ceremonies in Washington D.C. on June 1, 1984, she was admitted as a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management. The Honorable Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States presented her the Certificate of Fellowship, joining an elite group of 405 Fellows in the United States. Mrs. Conrad is a retired Court Administrator from Los Angeles County Municipal Courts where she served the public for over 25 years. In 1987, she was appointed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, The Honorable Malcolm M. Lucas, to the judicial Council Advisory Committee on Gender Bias in the Courts.

Farshad Fani Marvasti
Farshad Fani Marvasti

Farshad Fani Marvasti MD, MPH is a physician, public health educator, and author who is actively engaged in creating solutions to promote health and prevent chronic diseases through an understanding of the social, behavioral, and lifestyle determinants of health. He currently serves as Associate Professor, Director of Public Health, Prevention and Health Promotion and the founder of the Culinary Medicine Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix. As a Baha’i, he serves on various institutions both elected and appointed. He has been engaged in community building activities in several neighborhoods including in the Creighton neighborhood of Phoenix.

Sharon Fierro
Sharon Fierro

Sharon Fierro nació en la Isla Mauricio y ha vivido en varios países; Guinea Ecuatorial, Mexico, China, Pakistan y los Estados Unidos. Ella ha servido en varias instituciones Baha'is y participado en las actividades de las comunidades locales en estos países. El esposo de Sharon es de Mexico y ellos son los padres de una hija y dos hijos El ultimo año, Sharon ha estado trabajando como coordinadora de un programa para el empoderamiento y la inclusión financiera de mujeres empresarias. Sharon Fierro was born in Mauritius and has lived in several countries; Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, China, Pakistan and the United States. She has served in various Baha'i institutions and participated in the activities of local communities in these countries. Sharon's husband is from Mexico and they are the parents of a daughter and two sons. For the last year, Sharon has been working as the coordinator of a program for the empowerment and financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs.

Firaydoun Javaheri
Firaydoun Javaheri

Dr. Javaheri was born in Iran and holds a doctorate in agronomy. He spent much of his life Africa; he lived in Gambia for two years and then Zambia for twenty-five years where he where he served at one point as Chief Technical Adviser for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Dr. Javaheri has served in various institutions of the Baha`i Faith; he was elected to the Universal House of Justice in 2003 and served until 2018.

Nwandi Lawson
Nwandi Lawson

Nwandi Lawson has several decades of experience hosting, writing and producing for commercial and public broadcasters, including CNN, TBS, WPBA, and GPB, as well as for corporate and non-profit clients through her production and media consulting companies, Rêve Productions and The Virtues Collective. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Nwandi earned an MBA from Emory University and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Howard University. She was elected to serve two terms on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and served as the Southeast regional Emmy Awards judging chair. Business and Professional Women named her Georgia Woman of Achievement, and she received a Southern Regional Emmy for production of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards. After meeting members of the Bahá’i Faith for the first time in the West African nation of Cameroon in 1999, Nwandi became a Bahá’I in 2001. Since that time, she has served as a children’s class teacher, ATC secretary, on Local Spiritual Assemblies, and as an Auxiliary Board member and Continental Counsellor. Her current productions and media consulting work highlight the ways that diversity, equity and inclusion can be advanced towards true racial unity.

Judith McCray
Judith McCray

Judith McCray is a Chicago-based media producer and multiple Emmy award-winning journalist with thirty years experience in broadcast production and programming. She has developed and produced award-winning programming examining issues of social justice and racial inequities, civil and human rights, science and the environment, history, and education. Her documentary films, public affairs programs, educational and advocacy videos, and podcasts have served as vehicles for the voices and experiences of those underrepresented in mainstream media coverage. Additionally, she is a producer for the Baha'i Media Services U.S. for A Rich Tapestry, a video storytelling series that expresses and illustrates how love is being translated into action to address questions of race and culture in the U.S. A former producer and program developer for WTTW (PBS/Chicago) and WNET (PBS/New York), McCray is president and founder of Juneteenth Productions, a media organization specializing in creating content that addresses social injustices and issues affecting underserved and underrepresented communities of color and other marginalized communities. Juneteenth Productions has a twenty plus year history reaching communities in the Chicago region, as well as nationally, via broadcast, educational and internet media channels. McCray’s broadcast experience extends into the classroom and mentoring future broadcast journalists and media professionals. She taught documentary production and writing as an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and as an adjunct at Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois-Chicago. She currently is an adjunct professor in DePaul University’s College of Communication. She holds a M.A. in politics and public policy from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Joel Orona
Joel Orona

Dr. Joel Orona is a Chiricahua and Lipan Apache with a doctoral degree in psychology. He has applied his professional background in education, psychology and human services focusing principally on American Indians and other indigenous populations. At the national level, Dr. Orona has lectured at several US colleges and universities, worked with organizations, the federal government and tribal communities and appeared on various radio and cable television. He also served as the team leader under the Clinton administration on a project for the Secretary of Indian Affairs. Internationally, his services included education and socioeconomic development with organizations in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and East Africa. As a member of the Baha’i Faith for over 40 years, Dr. Orona has served as co-director at the Native American Baha’i Institute (NABI), near the Navajo Reservation. Before that, he served at the US Baha’i National Center as coordinator for the schools and institutes and as Director of a Baha’i inspired, Blackhawk Educational Institute in Chicago. Dr. Orona is a nationally recognized player of the North American Indian flute and storyteller of traditional American Indian stories for all ages. He is also a writer of poetry, songs and short stories anticipating his book of poetry this spring 2021, titled. “The American Indians: Then, Now and Forever.”

Sana Rouhani
Sana Rouhani

Sana Rouhani started her services at Persian Baha’i Media Service since 2001. From 2003 she served as a full-time radio editor/ producer and in 2005 as TV editor/ Producer. She produced and presented a TV show by the name of “Baray e Farda” for four years. “Baray e Farda” aimed to shed light on the beliefs and principles of the Baha’i Faith and how it can guide us to a better future for the world. Since 2007 Sana Rouhani is serving as the director of Persian Baha’i Media Service.

Shahab Saeed
Shahab Saeed

Shahab Saeed serves the Auxiliary Board for Protection in the Four Corners Region and the Office of the National Treasurer in the Fund Development department. He also has the privilege of serving as a Huqúqu’lláh representative.

Shahrzad Saririan
Shahrzad Saririan

Shahrzad Saririan, MD is a family physician at Golden Gate Community Health Center in Phoenix, AZ and also works in academic medicine as the Director of the Primary Care Scholars Program and the Family, Community and Preventive Medicine Clerkship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. Among her current academic interests are how to advance discourses on social determinants of health and the role of community in addressing health inequities. She is part of a greater Association for Baha’i Studies working group on defining health and has presented her work on this subject at several conferences. She is currently a member of the Phoenix Baha’i Community where she serves in the neighborhood surrounding Golden Gate Community Center in Southcentral and West Phoenix. Her most recent area of focus has been to establish community building activities in Community Health Centers and surrounding neighborhoods in an effort to address the social determinants of health.

Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson

Mr. Mark W. Sisson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Theater, Film, & Television (TFT). He is currently a Professor of Film, Television & Media Arts, in the School of Arts, Communications, and Social Science at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. He is the father of a daughter and son and happily married for 27 years. After working in the film industry in Los Angeles for ten years, he pioneered in Papua New Guinea for 11 years where he worked as director of Educational Television in the Department of Education. He produced a number of educational and documentary films. His father began studying the Faith shortly after the Second World War in 1949, and after investigating this father's Faith, become a Baha'i in 1972. Mr. Sisson is an advocate for racial justice and a champion of oneness since his youth. Mr. Sisson has served on a number of institutions of the Baha’i Faith; and has worked with a number of UN agencies including UNDP, UNICEF, and the WHO, and the European Union

Todd Smith
Todd Smith

Todd Smith is a sociologist and philosopher from Canada specializing in social theory. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto focusing on the development of a consultative epistemology particularly as it applies to health and illness. Among his current academic interests are how to advance discourses related to the harmony of science and religion as well as the interplay between historical consciousness, transformative habits of mind, freedom, and the oneness of humanity. He has recently published articles on these subjects in the Journal of Bahá’í Studies. Since obtaining his doctorate, Todd has worked with a variety of Bahá’í-inspired educational endeavors and has served full-time on both the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada and the Regional Bahá’í Council of Ontario. In 2011, he moved to Haifa, Israel to serve as the Coordinator of the Office of Correspondence at the Bahá’í World Centre. In the summer of 2013, he became the Coordinator of the Research Department at the Bahá’í World Centre and worked in that capacity until October 2020. Most recently he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Association for Bahá’í Studies and has, over a number of years, served as a facilitator at graduate seminars organized by the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Shaheen Sean Tedjarati
Shaheen Sean Tedjarati

Dr. Tedjarati is a Cancer and Robotic Surgeon and currently serves as the Chairman, Director and Clinical Professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at New York Medical College, and the Chief Clinical Integration Officer at Westchester Medical Center Health Network. He holds an MBA in Leadership in Healthcare from Yale University and a Master of Public Health in International Health from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his surgical training at The MD Anderson Cancer Center and Research Institute. He has been active in the institute process and core activities and has also served on variety of elected and appointed administrative roles in various Bahá’í communities. He currently serves as a representative of the Institution of Ḥuqúqu'lláh in Manhattan, New York City.

William Wieties
William Wieties

Bill Wieties has worked as a Nurse Anesthetist since 1978 and currently provides anesthesia services to Outpatient Surgery Centers in South Carolina. He has served on multiple Local Spiritual Assemblies and the Regional Bahá’í Council of the Central States. He has also served 15 years as an Auxiliary Board member for Protection, 10 years on the Bahá’í Internet Agency, and is currently serving as a member of the International Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh.

Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson is best known for playing the role of Dwight Schrute on NBC's The Office. Additional film and television credits include Galaxy Quest, Almost Famous, The Rocker, Super, Six Feet Under, Juno, Backstrom, Star Trek Discovery, Thom Pain, The Meg, Mom, Utopia and Don't Tell a Soul. He will also be appearing in the forthcoming series The Power. Wilson co-founded SoulPancake, a digital media company, and the Lide Foundation, an educational initiative in rural Haiti that empowers at-risk women and girls through the arts.

Payam Zamani
Payam Zamani

Payam Zamani is the founder, chairman, and CEO of One Planet Group, a hybrid tech firm that owns and operates a suite of online technology and media businesses. He is also the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of BahaiTeachings.org, and is an early-stage investor. Payam came to the United States as a 16-year-old Baha’i refugee. He’s built One Planet on a model not focused solely on financial success, but with an ethos of sacrificial giving and universal philanthropy, believing that businesses should consider the betterment of the world and be a source of good.