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Whirlwind New York City Tour

It all started with a red eye flight to NY. “You must be out of your mind to start our such a busy week of book promotion with a red eye flight,” everyone warned me.  But for someone like m, who needs very little sleep and is always scrambling for more time, the red eye flight was the answer! No bloodshot eyes or energy drinks for me…I was ready to go!  Part of the excitement comes from not knowing how the week unfolds and but a big part of it is connecting with all of the wonderful people I had planned to see.

Diving right in, Monday was an important day. I met with my publishers at their big office in the city — Assouline — to sign three-hundred books in preparation for the two big upcoming events.

I remember a few years back, before my first book was even an idea, going into Rizzoli’s and looking at all the beautiful books on display. I started to think back then how great it would be if I could one day write a book that would be sold in such a special place. Now here I am on my second book tour for “Pioneers of the Possible”, signing many books, prepping for parties, and am able to walk by Rizzoli’s see my own book in the window. It is such moments so personal that nobody sees that have such significance for me. These are the moments that make my heart full and remind me that anything is possible. The power of our dreams and of dedication is the magic that makes all the difference.

Tuesday, March 6th in the evening there was a packed book signing event at theLeila Heller Gallery followed up by a special dinner at the Americano. The very talented Shirin Neshat, photographer and filmmaker, was there as were many wonderful friends and some new faces.

Photo Courtesy: [Tory Burch, Jacqueline Novogratz, Dawn Ostroff, Angella Nazarian, Melissa Berkelhammer via BFA]

Wednesday was another huge day for me. That evening ( March 7th) Tory Burch & Dawn Ostroff co-hosted a glamorous Book Launch Party at Tory Burch’s Flagship store on Madison Avenue. What a delight for the senses! And what a turnout—250 people in attendance. One of the greatest gifts was that Jacqueline Novogratz, who is featured in the book, came and spoke. She is literally changing the face of philanthropy with her Acumen Fund. Featured on the Forbes cover in December 2011, she has created a new model for philanthropy, which combines venture capitalism in industries that support sustainable life in third world nations. For example, brining in clean water to a community, and electricity, etc.  It was nothing short of a magical event with some of the most inspirational people that work in media, philanthropy and women’s organizations all there in one room with the same heart beat — to make a difference in the world.

Thursday, March 8th, marked the eve of International Day of the Women. Tina Brown’s Women of the World Summit was in New York and drew in pioneering women from all around the world to speak. Among them, Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Diane Von Furstenberg, Leymah Gbowee, and Christine Lagarde.

Hillary happened to speak on the importance of women to living fearlessly. This, yet another common thread weaved through the lives of inspiring women who have changed the world.

I left New York full of inspiration. There were so many precious moments and seeds planted  that I know will tie into the greater message of my life… “We really can all pioneers, visionaries and accomplish great things in our own lives”…. But the first step is courage—developing that fearlessness inside of us!

Seven of my dearest friends came on this trip to support me and to celebrate the launch of my new book, which was so kind,  and I have to give them a public thank you for being what Arianna Huffington refers to as “my fearless tribe”. This is a group of women who all support one another in pursuit of our dreams, and are always there to celebrate one another’s achievements. Thank you my dear friends — you know who you are!

Elie Wiesel, the Queen and I — a surreal night

A friend told me over lunch yesterday, “You should just write a book about all that is happening at the book signing!” Her comment is quite on target….I have had the most wonderful and surreal experiences at my book events.

Just this week my book tour took me to New York, where good friends Nazee and Joe Moinian hosted a fabulous and elegant cocktail party at the Plaza Hotel. One Hundred and fifty friends, family, and colleagues came to the signing, which was a huge success.

There were two people whom I have always admired, attended and supported the event.

Her Majesty, Queen Farah Pahlavi and her daughter-in-law, Yasmine attended this event.  Her Majesty had the kindest words to say about the book and the role of Iranian artists in the Persian culture, especially in the diaspora.   This event was surely not about politics, as my book is not about politics either. Her Majesty’s presence had the added significance since as a child I have always regarded her as a symbol of a modern Iranian woman—one who is intelligent, articulate, and concerned for the larger community.  I also know of her great passion for art, which inspires me to this day.  As she put it in her eloquent way, “People who show the good face of Iranians, who elevate us, are the jewel of the country”. I was touched and humbled that she included me in that group.

Elie Wiesel, the Noble Laureate and Holocaust survivor has always been a hero to me. His life and his message surpass the limits of race or religion.  He speaks out against violence, repression, and racism all over the world and always stresses the dangers of society’s indifference in relation to such matters.  How amazed I was to have him  attend the NY book signing. Again, another “pinch-me” kind of moments where I felt so truly lucky to talk to him finally.

…..And the list of my many wonderful experiences continues.