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Davar Ardalan (born Iran Davar Ardalan) is Director of Storytelling & Engagement at SecondMuse. Ardalan leads systems storytelling around citizen science, ocean health, materials innovation and big data. As a veteran journalist and former social media strategist at NPR News, Ardalan’s real-time campaigns garnered millions of impressions on Twitter across the globe. Most recently she was the Senior Producer and Social Media Strategist for NPR’s Identity and Culture Unit. In May 2014, she was the recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for individual achievement and for promoting cultural unity. She has authored a book, My Name Is Iran.
In June, 2009, as a Senior Producer at NPR and through her ancestry and connections in Iran, she received hundreds of documents, photos, tweets, emails and status updates from the front lines of the disputed Iranian election. Ardalan collected the messages that poured out of Iran and has structured them with interviews, reportage and photographs.
Ardalan's career in the American media began in 1991 at KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, A year later, she made the switch to radio as a reporter at KUNM-FM in Albuquerque. She produced award-winning cultural and news stories on health and environmental concerns in Los Alamos for which she won first place in documentaries from the Associated Press in New Mexico.
Ardalan began as a temporary production assistant in July 1993 and a year later moved to a full-time production assistant position at Weekend Edition Sunday. After spending working as a field producer, Ardalan transitioned to Morning Edition in January 2005.
In the Spring of 1995 and again in 1997 she produced with NPR's Jacki Lyden in-depth reports on Iran examining the re-emergence of criticism and self-expression, Iranian women's struggle to gain rights and the perils facing intellectuals.
In April 2002, Ardalan and Lyden received a Gracie award from the American Women in Radio and Television for the NPR documentary "Loss and Its Aftermath," the story of Israeli and Palestinian parents speaking about the deaths of their children in the conflict.
Her full name, Iran Davar Ardalan, inspired the 2004 NPR/American Radioworks series, "My Name is Iran," tracing her Iranian heritage and her own experiences after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The struggle of a nation as reflected in her family's story led to her memoir My Name is Iran published by Henry Holt.
On May 10, 2014, Ardalan was awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony in New York City. This honor is awarded to "American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life."
Education and personal life
Ardalan earned a B.A. in communications and journalism from the University of New Mexico. She was born in San Francisco and has also lived and worked in Iran as a television newscaster for IRIB English News. Ardalan attended elementary and middle school at Iranzamin International School in Tehran and graduated from Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts She is the mother of four children: Saied, Samira, Aman and Amir.
- NPR Bio
- Davar Ardalan tells her story, Cody's Books, San Francisco, CA, January 17, 2007, * FORA.tv (35 min 34 sec).
- "IASNY: Iran Davar Ardalan Received Ellis Island Medal of Honor". IAS New York. Retrieved 2014-06-07.