Akram Monfared Arya
|Akram Monfared Arya|
The First Female Pilot of Iran
Akram Monfared Arya was the first female Iranian aircraft pilot. Born in Tehran in 1946. In 1974 (1353) and while married, she continued her education and transformed her life from being a housewife to becoming the first woman in Iran to take flying lessons.
Akram Monfared Arya started her pilot training in engineless planes (gliders) and after receiving her license at Doshan-Tapeh Flight School, she continued at Ghaleh-Morghi Flight School in order to start flying different types of single and twin-engine planes. After successfully completing her training, she received her second license and continued to fly until the Islamic Revolution of 1979. With the exception of Princess Fatemeh Pahlavi, she is the first woman to attain a pilot’s license in Iran.
In 1974 while married and with five children, Akram Monfared Arya began taking lessons in gliders at the Royal Aviation Club in Doshan-Tapeh. Located next to the Air Force Base, Doshan-Tapeh was filled with students who were interested in learning to fly.
After receiving her glider license, she went to the Ghaleh-Morghi School of Flight in October of the same year in order to take lessons in single and twin-engine aircraft. She started her training with the Cessna 172 and after only 14 hours of flight she successfully completed her first solo flight.
Her next phases of training consisted of night and long distance flights to a number of cities such as Tabriz, Kermanshah, Ahwaz, Isfahan and Rasht. In her four years of flying, she flew 150 hours with an instructor and 50 hours solo in both day and night time.
In addition to following the practical phase of training, she attended ground school where she took subjects like aerodynamics, engines, precision instruments, meteorology, navigation, and English. Upon obtaining her license, she received two job offers: one as a flight-instructor at the Royal Aviation Club, and the other as a co-pilot for twin-engine planes with the Air-Asseman Airline. However, she was unable to pursue a career or further her training in this field due to the revolution in Iran. Later on in 1989 and while living in Sweden, she took flying lessons along with theory lessons at Bromma Flight-School, (Bromma Flygskola), in Stockholm and received her Swedish license.
During her years of flying, she was frequently invited to the grand openings of a number of branches of the Royal Aviation Club in various cities and locations. Also, her autobiography was included in a book that was published by Iran's women's organization called Lahzeha va Talasha (trans. Moments and Efforts). This book was a collection of autobiographies of successful Iranian women who had highly distinguished themselves in rather less traditional professions. She received a copy of the book along with a commendation from Ms. Mahnaz Afkhami, who was the Minister of Women's Affairs at the time.
While living abroad, her efforts have been recognized by the Iranian community across the world. In 1990, she received an interview request from Javanan magazine in Los Angeles, U.S., subsequent to which a reporter was sent to Sweden and the interview was published. Later in 1995, in a book that was published in Washington, U.S., by Mrs. Mansoureh Pirnia, her autobiography was included as the "most experienced female pilot." Also in the same year, there were articles written about her in two newspapers called Nimroz and Rah-Ayandeh.
The Author & Poet
After the revolution in Iran, Akram Monfared Arya left Iran with her children and migrated to Sweden.
In 1998, a new chapter in her life began as she started putting together a collection of her romantic poems and short stories, which she had started writing since 1975 for publishing purposes. Her first book called PEJVAK-E ESHQ (trans., the messenger of love) was published in April 1999 in Sweden. PEJVAK-E ESHQ is a book about separation, homeland, expatriation, and women's political rights but, ultimately, it is also about love.
Her second book, Sargozashteh Pari (trans., Pari's memoir) was based on women's subjugation in patriarchies and was published in 2000. To date, she has published 15 books in three languages: Persian, Swedish, and English. Her most recent book called En lyckad landning på säker mark: Den farliga flykten från Khomeinis klor till frihetens land Sverige (trans., A successful landing on safe ground: The dangerous escape from Khomeini’s claws to the land of freedom Sweden) was her auto-biography which was published in Sweden in early summer of 2012 and translated to English in 2013. In her auto-biography, Akram Monfared Arya provides an account of her personal life both in Iran and Sweden, and she takes a glance at Iran’s history from past to present. She has been frequently invited by libraries to present her books and recently she was invited by a library in Stockholm to make presentations on her auto-biography. She has been interviewed by Swedish newspapers as well as Swedish and Persian radio and television stations. And recently, she was invited by different radio and television stations to discuss her latest book. 
She has been involved in numerous cultural and literary events held at libraries such as the International Library and museums such as the Medelhavsmuseet (trans., Mediterranean Museum) in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition, she was the storyteller for children at various local libraries and on public-access television for a year and half. She also assisted the Municipal Cultural Committee in Kista municipality as a counselor for cultural affairs for three and half years. Furthermore, she was the Master of Ceremony for poetry contests called Poetry Slam which were held in Skärholmen Library. She was also a guest poet at various events held at cultural associations and women organizations.
She has participated in many Swedish literary events and poetical contests. She received the second prize in Swedish poetry in February 2000 at Kista Library in Stockholm as well in December 2000 in Fisksätra, Stockholm. She is a member of the Association of Swedish Authors. Her books are available at libraries in countries like Sweden, Netherlands, Germany and the United States.
Recently one of her books was chosen by Legimus (government entity for accessible media—MTM—under the ministry of culture) in Sweden and produced as an audio-book.
Akram Monfared Arya began her painting career in 2007. In 2007, she attended a free-style painting course at Birkagården College. She then took portrait and model painting courses at Folkuniversitetet (Folk University), free-style painting course at Midsommargården, Vedic Art course at Studio Ciresia, watercolor and acrylic courses at Midsommargården, floral paintings at Folkuniversitetet, and a few other private courses. Her primary painting theme is based on the situation of women in the world.
In July 2007, she was invited to Jokkmokk and Kvikkjokk along with seven other artists for the celebration of Linnaeus' 300-year anniversary. The paintings which were made as tributes to Linnaeus were donated to Jokkmokk Municipality.
Her first joint exhibition was held in Kvikkjokk in July 2007 with seven other artists. In January 2008, she held a second joint exhibition at Husby Arts Hall in Husby, Stockholm.
In November 2008, she had a second exhibition at Lyxigt & Mysigt gallery in Hammarby Sjöstad. In 2009, she held 3 exhibitions in March, August, and October at Gallery RICA in Östermalm, Gallery Darling in Södermalm, and Gallery Törnfågeln in Västertorp respectively. In spring 2010, she held two more exhibitions at Luma Library in Hammarby Sjöstad and at Gallery Ängel in Gamla Stan.
Akram Monfared Arya is a member of Sweden's General art association.
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- Official Website
- Interview with Akram Monfared Arya in Persian Mirror, year 2004
- Article in USA Today about Akram Monfared Arya, year 2003
- Akram Monfared Arya featured on Skysisters.com website
- Akram Monfared Arya featured on International Library website, Internationella Biblioteket, year 2006
- Interview with Akram Monfared Arya on Radio Farda
- Interview with Akram Monfared Arya in Barkarby Flygklubb, year 2006
- Akram Monfared Arya featured on Iranian.com website, year 2001
- Akram Monfared Arya’s Art Exhibition at Ängel Gallery
- Article about Akram Monfared Arya’s collaboration with Breast Cancer Fund, Bröstcancerfonden
- Interview with Akram Monfared Arya in Persian Heritage, year 2003
- Akram Monfared Arya featured in Persia Today, year 2012