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Azadeh  Moaveni

Azadeh Moaveni

Author & Journalist


As far back as she can remember, author and journalist Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, she lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna. For years, she ignored the tense standoff between her two cultures. But college magnified the clash between Iran and America, and after graduating, she moved to Iran as a journalist. Read More >

Moaveni explored the psychologies of young people in Iran and wrote Lipstick Jihad, an intimate exploration of Iran’s dynamic and overwhelmingly young population. She wanted to accurately reflect the kitsch, hedonism, and despair that underpinned their rebellion against the Islamic system. In 2006, she co-authored Iran Awakening, the memoir of Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Recently, Moaveni released Honeymoon in Tehran, an account of the several unexpected turns her life took - love, pregnancy, and marriage - when she returned to Tehran to cover a story for Time magazine. Her newest novel, Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS, shares the stories of Muslim women throughout the world joining ISIS. Moaveni asks the question, “What is the line between victim and collaborator?”

Moaveni, who grew up in San Jose, writes about Arab and Iranian youth culture, Islam, Iran's reform struggle, and Middle East politics, with a special emphasis on demographics and young people's attitudes toward the West. She studied politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, won a Fulbright fellowship to Egypt, and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. Moaveni began her career in 2000, when she joined Time magazine as a Tehran and then New York-based reporter, covering society and political stories across the Middle East. In 2003, Moaveni became a correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, where she reported on the Iraq war, political Shiism, and Iran's pro-democracy student movement.

After becoming frustrated that her articles for the American media could not capture how Iranians were experiencing the transformations in their society, Moaveni decided to create something that would spill outside the frame of news—something that would effectively relay the rich panorama of Iranian life, its edgy underground, and stormy, shifting moods.

Azadeh is a lecturer in journalism at New York University, London, and her work often appears in the Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, among others. She travels regularly to the region and is currently researching a book on the role of women inside the Islamic State. Currently, Moaveni lives in London with her family.  Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS

To Think I Saw It Tehran: Iranian Youth between Theocracy and the West

Pink Veil, Black Veil: Being Young, Muslim, and Modern in Today's Middle East