Kayhan Irani

is an Emmy-award winning writer, a producer, and a Theater of the Oppressed trainer. She works with NGOs, government agencies, and community organizations in using in story-based strategies for mobilization, engagement, and education

​​In 2010 Kayhan won a New York Emmy award for best writing for We Are New York, a 9-episode broadcast TV drama used as an English language and civic engagement tool for immigrant New Yorkers. She created a linked, community-based conversation initiative that brought thousands of immigrants, throughout the five boroughs, together to practice English in volunteer-led conversation groups. She also created comic books based on the series which were translated into five languages and distributed in NYC public hospitals, courts, CBOs and local meeting places. ​In 2012-2013 Kayhan was a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Researcher in India working on her new play, Tree of Seeds.  Her one-woman show, We've Come Undone toured nationally and internationally, telling stories of Arab, South Asian and Muslim-American women in the wake of 9/11. She has trained hundreds of groups in Theater of the Oppressed and participatory storytelling tools over the years, both nationally and overseas, in Afghanistan, India, and Iraq. ​Her published work includes Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims (Routledge, 2008), and Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way. (Routledge, 2015). Kayhan was one of ten artists named as a White House Champion of Change for her art and storytelling work in 2016 by the Obama administration. Her website is www.artivista.org and her email is  kayhan@artivista.org.
Photo: Jasmine Rashid