Our Story

Let’s Change How We Think About Iran

* Kurdish celebration of Nowruz at Nane Village near Marivan Province of Kurdistan, Iran. In Kurdish Culture, Nowruz is considered as the most significant festival of year. It is the first day of the Solar Hijri Calendar and Spring and a symbol of end of darkness and cold.
Photo by Mina Jazayeri

Apparatus for Challenging Iranophobia
ابزاری برای به چالش کشیدن ایران هراسی

See You in Iran (SYI) is an economic, social, and cultural travel platform helping to build new connections between Iranians and non-Iranians, as well as promoting more nuanced understandings of Iran. This platform, both physical and online, aims to intervene in the common connections and imaginations of Iran. The main source of connections and imaginations is currently structured by the global ‘Iranophobia’ project, endorsed by Western media and political elites. SYI aims to help change these forms of connections and imaginations, by enabling creative, tangible, and personal connections among people and by opening up new spaces for creation, interaction, and organization inside Iran.

مجموعه See You in Iran پلتفرمی اقتصادی، اجتماعی و فرهنگی برای سفر است که تلاش دارد تا ارتباطات جدیدی میان ایرانیان و غیر ایرانیان برقرار سازد تا فهم دقیق‌تری از ایران را ترویج دهد. هدف این پلتفرم، که هم آنلاین و هم فیزیکی است، مداخله در ارتباطات و ذهنیت‌های رایج در مورد ایران است. در حال حاضر، منبع اصلی این ارتباطات و ذهنیت‌ها توسط پروژه اقتصادی و سیاسی «ایران‌هراسی» ساخته می‌شود و توسط رسانه‌ها و سیاستمداران غربی تایید می‌شود. هدف See You in Iran تلاش برای تغییرِ این شکل از ارتباطات و ذهنیت‌هاست که این مهم از طریق میسر کردن ارتباطات شخصی، ملموس و خلاقانه میان افراد و گشودن فضاهای جدید برای خلاقیت، تعامل و تولید فرهنگی و اجتماعی داخل ایران دنبال می‌شود.

Online Community

See You in Iran was initially created as an apparatus to change and resist the existing connections: a way to confront the common misconceptions, obsessions, and manufactured realities associated with a constructed image of ‘Iran’. The strategy was to provide and grow a platform in which, contrary to the usual top-down structures of mass media, See You in Iran’s Facebook group members share and publicize personal narratives from and about Iran. Group members were encouraged to contribute to the group through sharing their memories, perceptions and experiences of traveling to Iran. Creating new realities through sharing generally unheard narratives and building bottom-up social relations opened up new possibilities to learn and critically engage with living and traveling in Iran.

جامعه آنلاین

مجموعه See You in Iran؛ در ابتدا به عنوان یک دستگاه برای تغییر ارتباطات رایج موجود و مقاومت در مقابل آن ایجاد شد: یعنی مسیری برای مقابله با سوءبرداشت‌های رایج، جانبداری‌ها و واقعیت‌های برساخته‌ای که تصویر «ایران» را شکل داده است. استراتژی ما فراهم کردن و رشد پلتفرمی بود که در آن، برخلاف ساختارهای بالا به پایین رسانه‌های معمول، اعضای گروه فیسبوک See You in Iran بتوانند روایت‌‌های شخصی خود را از و درباره ایران به اشتراک بگذارند و آن ‌را در حوزه عمومی منتشر کنند. به این منظور اعضای گروه تشویق شدند تا از طریق به اشتراک‌گذاری خاطرات، ذهنیت‌ها و تجربه خود از سفر به ایران در این گروه فعال شوند. خلق واقعیت‌های جدید از طریق به اشتراک‌گذاری روایت‌های شنیده نشده و ساختن تعاملات اجتماعیِ پایین به بالا، امکان‌های جدیدی را برای یادگیری و درگیرشدن انتقادی با زیست و سفر در ایران باز کرد.

Hostel & Café

About a year and a half after launching our online community as a Facebook group, we renovated a sixty years old three floors building in the heart of Tehran. The idea of opening a hostel in Tehran was grounded in our faith in the power of physical space in shaping the social life and creating face-to-face connections. The hostel thus became a platform for the embodiment of virtual connections into a corporeal socio-cultural form. Our hostel aims to circumvent borders, diaspora disconnections and other limitations that obstruct direct contact between locals and non-locals by relocating interactions domestically. Our Hostel, which was rated the “Top Choice Hostel in Tehran” by Lonely Planet, is the accommodation for cultural encounter. It features eight private rooms, two dorms, an event-based café, a spacious outdoor garden and is run by a multilingual team. According to our travelers’ feedbacks, what makes us unique among others is mainly our ambience, cultural activities and friendly staff.

هاستل و کافه

پس از گذشت یک سال و نیم از راه‌اندازی جامعه آنلاین گروه فیسبوک، ساختمانی سه طبقه با قدمت بیش از شصت سال را که در مرکز شهر تهران واقع شده است بازسازی کردیم تا بتوانیم ایده راه‌اندازی هاستل خود را تحقق بخشیم. این ایده از باور ما به قدرت فضای فیزیکی در شکل‌دهی به زیست اجتماعی و خلق روابط چهره به چهره نشأت می‌گیرد. هدف هاستلِ ما عبور از مفهوم مرز و سایر محدودیت‌هایی است که مانع ارتباط مستقیم میان محلی‌ها و مسافر می‌شود و این هدف را از طریق بازیابی تعاملات این دو گروه در داخل کشور دنبال می‌کند. هاستل ما، که در Lonely Planet به‌عنوان «هاستل برگزیده تهران» ارزش‌گذاری شده است، فضایی اقامتی برای مواجهه فرهنگی هست که دارای هشت اتاق خصوصی، دو اتاق اشتراکی، یک کافه رخداد-محور و یک حیاط بزرگ است و توسط تیمی چندزبانه اداره می‌شود. با استناد به بازخوردهای مسافران ما، آنچه که هاستل ما را نسبت به سایر هاستل‌های تهران متمایز می‌کند فضای صمیمانه و راحت، فعالیت‌های فرهنگی و رفتار دوستانه ماست.

Photos by See You in Iran Facebook Group Members
Click on images to see in full size

Cultural House

The See You in Iran Hostel was soon followed by our next project: See You in Iran Cultural House. Besides economic and political sanctions that have been imposed on Iran for decades, Iran has also endured long-standing cultural isolation. We believe that the internationally recognized cultural products from Iran have mostly been responding to a market, marked by its orientalist gaze and exotic expectations. To reverse this process, we tend to present internationally consumable cultural material in hope of changing this imaginative connection that has The Cultural House is a physical and online Iran-centered and globally-oriented collective, producing socio-cultural contents and organizing events through which foreigners and Iranians can connect. By organizing and hosting a wide range of events such as workshops, talks, movie nights, art exhibitions, jam sessions, etc., we are moving beyond the reductionist and obsessive representation of Iran.

خانه فرهنگی

خانه فرهنگی See You in Iran فضاییست که در آن با رویکردی جهانی با مرکزیت ایران از طریق به اشتراک‌گذاری ایده‌ها و کار جمعی اعضای آن، رخدادهای فرهنگی برگزار می‌شود و محتواهای فرهنگی در فضای مجازی آن بازتاب داده می‌شوند. خانه فرهنگی با برگزار کردن گستره‌ای از رویدادهای فرهنگی مانند کارگاه‌ها، میزگردها و گفتگوهای جمعی، شب‌های پخش فیلم، نمایشگاه‌های هنری و اجراهای موسیقی، ورای تقلیل گرایی و بازنمایی‌های جانبدارانه، فضایی را برای گفتمان و تعامل ایرانیان با غیر ایرانیان ایجاد کرده است. ما همواره به دنبال همکاری با افراد همفکر، سازمان های غیر دولتی و شنیدن صدای کسانی هستیم که به این راه علاقه دارند. ماه افغانستان، نمونه‌ای از رخدادهای خانه فرهنگی است. در این دوره از رویدادها که برگزارکنندگان آن هنرمندان و جامعه‌شناسان جوان افغان بودند، با نمایش فیلم، نمایشنامه خوانی و بررسی ادبیات نمایشی در افغانستان، اجرای موسیـقی مدرن، نمایش عکس و سخنرانی‌هایی در حوزه علوم اجتماعی، کوشیدیم درکی تازه از زیست روزمره در افغانستان را از دریچه نگاه انسان‌هایی که با وجود تمام مصائب و بحران‌های پیش رو کنشگر بوده‌اند، ارائه دهیم.

See You in Iran Facebook Group

A community

for a better world

Our Facebook group was founded in August 2015 as a member-run space for countering Iranophobia through people’s unfiltered narratives about traveling to Iran. After a year it developed into an active community of over 120k people that serves cultural and educational purposes and invites members to have constructive discussions on issues, relevant to traveling to Iran, which will eventually result in a more tourist-friendly cultural environment.

Join us in Facebook group

Borderless Cooperative

The See You in Iran team is an aspiring cooperative consisting of domestic and diaspora Iranians who are passionate about combating Iranophobia, cultivating interactive spaces, producing critical socio-cultural contents and co-developing horizontal and democratic organizational structures. In addition to contributing to the development of unique virtual and physical spaces for cultural encounter, See You in Iran is excited to be promoting alternative business models. Our large team of passionate Iranian and Afghan youth highly values horizontal and democratic organizational structure. As a result, the SYI is working towards becoming a cooperative. By conducting extensive research on successful and like-minded cooperatives in the world, we have centered our attention on several principles to achieve a fair share on 1. Management, 2. Profit, and 3. Ownership:
All managers, including the executive board, are elected democratically by working members. (Contrary to usual business structures where capital determines management). Our minimum wage is 1.5 times higher compared to similar jobs in the market. The highest to lowest wage ratio is limited to maximum three.

تعاونی بدون مرز

تیم See You in Iran یک تعاونی الهام‌بخش است که شامل ایرانیان داخل و خارج کشور است که مشتاق به چالش کشیدن ایران‌هراسی، خلق فضاهای تعـاملی، تولید محتواهای انتقـادی اجتماعی-فرهنـگی و توسعهٔ مشـارکتی ساختـارهای سازمانی افقی و دمـوکراتیک است. ما، مجموعه See You in Iran علاوه بر فراهم کردن فضای فیزیکی و مجازی منحصر به فرد برای مواجههٔ فرهنگی، مفتخریم که مدل‌های کسب‌وکار بدیلی را ترویج می‌دهیم. تیم بزرگ ما شامل مجموعه‌ای از جوانان ایرانی و افغان پرانگیزه است که ساختار سازمانی دموکراتیک و افقی را به‌عنوان مدل کسب و کار خود انتخاب کرده است تا از این طریق در مسیر تبدیل شدن به تعاونی گام برداریم. بنابراین پس از تحقیقات گسترده درباره تعاونی‌های موفق و همسو در دنیا، بر اصولی متمرکز شدیم که در مسیر تحقق سهم عادلانه از ۱. مدیریت، ۲. سود و ۳. مالکیت، راه ما را هموار سازند: در مجموعه‌ی ما – و برخلاف ساختارهای کسب و کار معمول که میزان و منطق سرمایه، مدیران را تعیین می‌کند – تمامی مدیران و هیات‌مدیره، از طریق اعضایی که در مجموعه مشغول به کار هستند انتخاب می‌شوند. حداقل دستمزد در مجموعهٔ ما دست‌کم یک و نیم برابر حداقل دستمزد بازار است و همچنین نسبت بیشترین به کمترین دستمزد از سه برابر بیشتر نیست.

Navid Yousefian

Founder & Executive Director

Navid is a Tehran-native with a background in engineering, film studies, and social sciences. He's currently a Political Science PhD student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Navid's interests in cultural exchanges, fighting Iranophobia, creating an employee-owned organization, and having an Iran-centered and globally-oriented cultural house led to him creating the See You in Iran group and launching Kojeen: SYI Cafe-Hostel.

Mahsa Vafaie

Copy Writer

Mahsa calls Tehran home, but currently resides in Germany finishing her Master's degree in Language and Communication Technologies. She joined the SYI team at its birth and her interest in public information, alternative media, and cultural exchanges has attached her to the group ever since. She can't wait to hang out at Kojeen and meet new people there.

Babak Novin

Marketing & Web Designer

Babak is a Tehran-native with background in IT, education and cultural studies. His experiences in directing cultural-educational projects in University of Tehran and some schools, and his vision led him to be a part of SYI. He's so eager to learn, and attracted in any kind of creativity and innovation, interested in social issues and committed to create empowerment opportunities for everyone.

Feiz-Ahmad Vali Zadeh

Maintenance Supervisor

Feiz-Ahmad is a 21-year-old Harat native who just recently moved to Iran from Afghanistan. His interests in the See You in Iran team and Kojeen's environment commit him to our community. During Feiz-Ahmad's downtime he likes to study and practice music.

Mina Jazayeri

Media Block Manager

Mina is a Tehran-native and travel enthusiast with a background in design and is also working as a freelance photographer. Mina's passion for cultural exchange lead her to See You in Iran and she's now developing a topical photo journal out of its Instagram page.

Rabee Heidarnejad

Event Manager

Rabee was born in Tehran. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Rabee joined the SYI team to help them to renovate the hostel, but found her niche in the travel board where she serves as a member. She is passionate about art, music, animals and eco-tourism.

Amin Banitaba

Project Coordinator

Amin, 26, is from Tehran. He likes photography and travel to cities and open their maps, like a video game. Very interested about communities, which is why he had joined See You in Iran. To have a collective community experience. His favorite quote is ``Collective man! Collective!`` Er kann auch ausreichend Deutsch sprechen.

Amir Tehrani

R&D

Amir was born and raised in Tehran. He has a background in the social sciences and has conducted research on urban mobility in Tehran. His socio-cultural experiences and interest in building alternative organizations motivated him to be a part of the See You in Iran. Swimming and most importantly woodworking are his main hobbies.

Tina Alaei

Receptionist & Chef

Tina, 23, is a chef at Kojeen and also one of the editors of the See You in Iran Facebook page. She studies theater literature and is passionate about scenario writing and choreography. She has always been eager to find global ways for people to connect without their relationships being affected by the interference of the media. Now she has finally found what she was looking for, a place to hear and be heard freely.

M Reza Karfar

R&D

Reza is a Tehran-native who lived in India and studied architecture. He's passionate about vernacular and traditional architecture. Reza's interests include documentary making and traveling to marginalized areas. In addition, he's involved with See You in Iran because he believes it is a unique platform for experience-sharing.

Mohammad Amin Forootan

Finance Manager

Amin was born and raised in tehran. He is graduated from Texas A&M univesrsity and his main background is in chemical engineering. In general, he is fancy working with numbers, coding and digital illustrating. His obsessions about isolated Iran led him to join the See You In Iran team in the hope of making a globaly oriented organisation.

Nima Shokraei

Receptionist

Nima is based in Tehran and graduated from Queensland University of Technology with a degree in civil and structural engineering. Nima is passionate about cultural diversity which led him to See You in Iran where he is working to confront the destructive, fabricated images of Iran.

Salome Ghods Moghaddam

Internal Manager

Salome was introduced to the See You in Iran Hostel while contemplating a change in her previous careers as industrial engineer, urban designer, and teacher. She was tired of bureaucratic corporations and was looking forward to have more to do with people. ``Perhaps this`` she thought, ``could be the place through which I can fulfill my passion for effecting change through individuals, including myself.``

Sogand Afkari

Sogand is an east coast Iranian American with a background in non-profit outreach and Iranian studies who moved to Tehran to do a six-month Farsi course. That was four years ago. In addition to still working on her Farsi, Sogand is pursuing an M.A. in Iranian history and through See You in Iran is fulfilling her teenage dream of dismantling the disconnections between Iranians, its diaspora and the west.

Parham Zabeti

Parham was born and raised in Tehran and is living in Toronto, Canada. Parham Zabeti is an aerospace engineer. He's passionate about travel, culture and design and loves cooking especially Persian!

Farnaz Aboutalebi

Indicraft Project Coordinator

Farnaz, 34 years old, was born in Shahrood. She studied IT but left her academic studies unfinished to start research on handicraft from indigneous people. Travelling and living with locals in different places, is part of her job. She has joined the See You in Iran team to explore indigenous arts and host handicraft workshops from diffrent regions of Iran in See You in Iran's cultural house.

Amin Najafi

Receptionist

Amin Najafi was born and raised in Afghanistan. He studied Theater at Kabul university, then moved to Tehran to study Dramaturgy. He joined See You in Iran several months ago, after his graduation from University of Tehran. He loves literature, especially dramatic literature. That makes him passionate about working at See You in Iran, because there he gets to exchange stories with people from different cultures and countries.

Majid Ebrahimpour

Organizational Coordinator

Majid was born in Lahijan. He has a background in architecture and urban studies from École d’Urbanisme de Paris. He joined the See You in Iran team because of his passion in building collective communities as a way to create a better urban life. Now, he is working on organizational planning in order to achieve this. If he could do away with writing and reading, his hobby would be discovering urban life in different areas as a Flaneur.

Mostafa Hesari

Sale

Mostafa Hesari has studied Industrial Engineering. He is interested in socializing with people and analyzing systems. He's worked at various positions in different industries ranging from cashier at a fast food restaurant and a tour guide to QC at a manufacturing company and trader associate in a stock market broker company. When he isn't cultivating with travelers, he spends time with friends, learns French, and does exercises to stay fit.

Amin Behmanesh

Receptionist

Amin is a travel and photography enthusiast who can not get enough of adventure and cooking. He has a background in civil engineering. After more than one year of voluntary work for cultural organizations in Iran and Europe, Amin found See You in Iran an organization that can fulfill his passion for cultural activities.

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