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 and singers. 

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 engagement. 

 

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 resilience.

 

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 women.

 

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.

 

To learn more about Soraya's activities, works, awards, and publications, and verification of all the statements please visit her official blog at www.sorayafallah.com.

 
















The Kurdish wardrobe is an honorary gift from Daid & Layla Director as a symbol of honor. 

Mr. Diary Ahmed, the current president of KCSC, graciously presented the award, and following this, Soraya delivered a short speech. The complete text of her speech is as follows:

Good evening and Happy New Year, dear community! I welcome you all and the singer Galavij xan and her band.

Thank 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 January 2023.

It 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.

With 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.

Why 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.

As 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.

Moreover, 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 tonight.

As 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.

I 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 extend my heartfelt thanks to my loving husband and my children for their endless support and to the current and past board of directors and current and past advisory members. A special acknowledgment to the hardworking entire board, with sincere thanks to the president and the new Vice President, previous and current advisory members, and other board and active members to the many individuals behind the scenes for your hard work. Special thanks to the female members of KCSC for advocating for me to receive this precious award and contributing to the 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!


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