The Kurdish Community of Southern California presented an appreciation award to its immediate past vice president, Dr. Soraya Fallah, in recognition of her 17 years of dedicated service to the community.
At the New Year's evening community gathering hosted by the Kurdish Community of Southern California (KCSC), Dr. Soraya Fallah was honored with an Appreciation Award for her remarkable 17 years of service to the community.
Jan 1st 2024
Voice of Kurdish-American(VOK)
Soraya Fallah, a Kurdish women and human rights researcher, activist, and community mobilizer, served as the
immediate past vice president and a founding member of the Kurdish Community of
Southern California (KCSC). From its inception in 2006 until January 2023,
Soraya dedicated her time and expertise to the organization, devoting time to
media and public relations throughout her tenure. Collaborating with her
colleagues on the KCSC board of directors, she organized community gatherings, mobilized for urgent human rights actions, coordinated culturally enriching
events such as Newroz celebrations and festivals, and hosted Kurdish artists
Soraya consistently honored and
acknowledged the efforts of the first and previous generations of Kurds who
initiated community groups, fostering a sense of belonging for herself and her
family upon immigration to the U.S.
Dr. Fallah is a passionate advocate
for preserving Kurdish culture and language, playing a pivotal role alongside
other board members in Southern California. She has supported Kurdish authors,
activists, and scholars through community advocacy and translation efforts into
Kurdish, furthering the organization's mission. She has also led
initiatives to recognize Kurdish graduates at all educational levels by leading
the Graduation Committee in KCSC and has contributed to committees organizing
events like the annual Kurdish Seyran/picnic, the Annual Irvine Global Village, promoting cultural preservation and community
As Vice President, Soraya Fallah was a
committed advocate for the rights and recognition of the Kurdish community events and programs. Her
efforts include raising awareness about the unique challenges Kurds face
locally and globally. She has frequently taken to the podium to welcome
attendees to KCSC events warmly and to introduce artists and speakers. Her
dedication to Kurdish questions and women's rights has led her to engage with
international bodies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International.
Notably, Dr. Fallah played a role in co-founding the U.N. Women in L.A. chapter, advocating for Kurdish women and involving community members in the process.
In her role as VP, Soraya believed in
the importance of building strong relationships with other community
organizations; she has actively participated in human rights demonstrations and
events supporting oppressed nations, including annual Armenia genocide
remembrance events, Jina movement, support Kobani, support victims of earthquakes,
and etc. recognizing that collaborative efforts can amplify the impact of the KCSC.
Through her advocacy work, she has strived to create a platform for dialogue,
understanding, and collaboration among community members, broader society, and
government initiatives such as the Census
Bureau to improve information about Kurds in the U.S. Additionally, she has
worked alongside her fellow board members to meet with various under-served
communities, including the Jewish and Armenian communities.
Fallah has also been proactive in
promoting Kurdish culture through various media channels. She has participated
in radio and T.V. shows, showcasing Kurdish culture and history, and has
actively worked to counter attempts by dominant cultures to erase Kurdish
cultural identity. She has organized programs in local libraries for over a
decade, highlighting Kurdish culture and history. Furthermore, she has
contributed to platforms such as the 102.7 Canada Women's, KIRN, Voice and Iranian Radio
and T.V. to promote Kurdish culture and songs. Additionally, she has lent her voice to the Kurdish cause, and appeared on KPFK 90.7 with the support of her Kurdish
colleague on the board of directors.
As someone who tirelessly dedicates
herself to community service, Soraya believes strongly in empowerment and
education. She provides assistance, availability, and encouragement to uplift
fellow members of the Kurdish community, fostering self-reliance and
Soraya actively promotes her culture
by wearing and respecting traditional Kurdish clothing, gifting these garments
to officials such as the Library of Congress, and advocating for the Kurdish
language by writing, blogging, and interviewing in Kurdish. She also supports Kurdish causes during times of disaster,
communicates with newborns and family members in Kurdish, dances, cooks, blogs about Kurdish food, visits families in need, celebrates events with others, and
demonstrates respect and tolerance for diverse cultures. Additionally, Dr.
Fallah manages Kurdish blogs and social media pages dedicated to advancing
Kurdish human rights.
Her research, activism, and community
works on Kurdish women in Iran have received widespread recognition, featuring
in various outlets, including invitations to participate in oral histories,
documentaries, such as “For Kurdistan”, books, journal articles, radio and T.V.
broadcasts, and public speaking engagements. She contributed to the anthology
"Women in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations: An Anthology of Cases
from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Other Countries." Soraya has also maintained
active engagement as a blogger on platforms such as Kurdish Women Haven, and Ku-Kurdish Women Haven and Voice of Kurdish-American Radio(VOKRadio).
Soraya made history as the first
Kurdish woman to participate in a beauty pageant and later became the first Kurdish woman judge in the Middle Eastern Beauty pageant and participated in the event along with
the president of KCSC to support Kurdish contestant. Members of the
organization, including the president, supported and sponsored her efforts. She
has received numerous awards for her contributions to the community and
scholarly work, including the Feminism Critic Award for her research on Kurdish
Dr. Fallah has been a speaker and
presenter at various local and international conferences and events, often
chairing and presenting at national and international conferences. She chaired
the inaugural International Conference on Kurdish Women for Peace and Equality in Irbil. She served on the coordinating committee for the Middle Eastern Women
Conference in Diyarbakir, advocating for the delegation of Rojhelat and Iranian
women in Diyarbakir, Kurdistan of Turkey. She spoke at different universities
and led projects accordingly.
Soraya earned her doctorate in
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, focusing on culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the United States Special Education System.
Currently, Soraya remains a member of
KCSC. She believes it's time for newcomers, younger generations, high school
and college students, and less active members to step forward and lead the
organization with the same mission and vision. Dr. Fallah advocates for
inclusivity and creating opportunities for others, acknowledging that her
accomplishments were not achieved alone. She credits the organization's board
members, community members, and especially her immediate family for their
financial and emotional support throughout her endeavors.
The Kurdish wardrobe is an honorary gift from Daid & Layla Director as a symbol of honor.
Good evening and Happy New Year, dear community! I welcome you all and the singer Galavij xan and her band.
you for the introduction. My name is Soraya Fallah, and I am humbled to receive this recognition and stand
before you as the immediate past Vice President of KCSC. I had the privilege of
serving on the board from the inception of the organization in 2006 until
is heartening to witness the gathering of so many new faces again this year. I
am deeply honored to receive this recognition from my community. Throughout the years, I have been fortunate to receive acknowledgments for my
activities, projects, research, and efforts. However, the significance of this
recognition from KCSC holds a special place in my heart, and I will cherish it. My sincere gratitude extends to the community, the board of directors,
and my fellow Kurdish women who advocated for this meaningful acknowledgment.
nearly two decades as a community member and having served as the immediate
past VP of the organization, I have acknowledged personal achievements within
our community. I am grateful that my efforts have not gone unnoticed and now I am being acknowledged. This
recognition aligns with the mission of KCSC, challenging the tendency among
Kurds to overlook each other's efforts and emphasizing the value of our
community achievements. It is not just about individual upliftment but about
supporting one another in the face of challenges, contributing to the
cooperative and understanding spirit fostered by KCSC.
is this recognition so significant? We could delve into numerous thoughts in a
workshop setting, but tonight, we are here to celebrate together. Recognition
celebrates community collaboration for a common cause, in line with KCSC's
mission. It not only boosts the recipient's motivation but also inspires
others, especially our youth, both within and outside the community. It's
crucial to acknowledge these efforts; otherwise, individuals may cease their
contributions, feeling unnoticed and unappreciated, hindering the mission of
fostering cooperation and understanding among Kurds in Southern California.
we gather tonight, I am reminded of the tremendous hard work behind such an
event and the countless times I've been asked, "Why are you doing this?
Don't you have a job, a family, and other commitments?" In reality, we all
are busy, yet the legacy of the endowment is crucial to me, contributing to
preserving and promoting Kurdish identity, language, art, literature, and
cultural heritage as outlined in KCSC's mission. I envision the new generation
in powerful positions, our women in leadership, our culture thriving, and our
language and traditional attire enduring. This dedication is not just for the
present but for the enduring strength and vibrancy of our community's future,
echoing KCSC's mission.
as we celebrate and acknowledge the hard work of individuals, let us remember
the tireless efforts of the Kurdish people who, even before the registration of
this organization, worked toward the same mission and vision. Their dedication
and sacrifices paved the way for establishing KCSC, and we honor their legacy
you know, many communities worldwide hold award ceremonies to honor their
members. I might be the first to get an award in KCSC and tonight marks the
beginning of a tradition within our community—a tradition reflecting the
importance and achievements of our diverse and vibrant members, in harmony with
KCSC's mission, but I hope this becomes a tradition. I propose the
establishment of an annual recognition for active members of our community,
aligning with KCSC's mission to strengthen, preserve, and promote Kurdish
identity. We have worked tirelessly to foster a sense of belonging and unity,
even in moments of disagreement. Our success lies not in complex strategies but
in keeping the community together, sharing both joys and sorrows, participating
in annual rituals, and consistently supporting one another, all contributing to
fulfilling KCSC's mission.
express my gratitude to each one of you for being here tonight, whether you are a paid
member or not. Your presence makes this gathering worthy of celebration and
contributes to realizing KCSC's mission.
I believe that no matter who started and who continues the mission and vision of any organization, the most important fact is to keep the culture alive, endow the mission to the new generation, respect and recognize the hard work of past generations, and finally stay a community champion. As such, any of us volunteers who serve our community and support an initiative to bring a program or idea to reality already receiving an award.
Thank you all for participating in this event, and have a wonderful New Year's Eve and for this award.
Thank you to the Board of Directors: President Kak Diary, Vice President Farnaz Xan, Board members Kak Nariman, Kak Rashi, Kak Siamand, Shewe Xan, Jwane Xan, Kak Simand, and Avan Xan. Special thanks to the previous advisory board members, Mr. Vatandoust, Azad, and Suzan, as well as the current advisory board member Kak Nima, for your hard work in bringing the community together. Gratitude also extends to all volunteers, advisors, and those working tirelessly behind the scenes. Having been part of such events for years, I can only imagine the dedication and effort of everyone involved. Thank you!