1. What is your mission, i.e. what do you mean by “mutual understanding”?
“Mutual understanding through culture and humanity.”
Mutual understanding means understanding in two ways. For us, we believe it is best to enhance it in the following ways.
First way: Humanitarian work for people in Iran. We realised that there was no pan-European nonpolitical organisation that enables the diaspora and Europeans to send humanitarian help to Iranians. We therefore decided to help the people in Iran through humanitarian work by our European communities. Through initiatives by ourselves and inititiaves by others we could support, for example by the Iranian doctors associations in Europe.
Second way: Cultural work for people in Europe. Another issue we found was that news on the Islamic Republic dominated news on Iranians in Europe and there was a clear lack of understanding as to who the Iranian people are. To enhance understanding beyond what is usually found in the media on Iranians, we decided to carry out cultural work through Iranian exhibitions, concerts and film screenings, to show the core side of Iranian culture.
2. Where does EUIRANC obtain its funding from?
Please see “Our sources of support” here.
3. How do you distribute your humanitarian aid in Iran?
We have representatives who organise, monitor and ensure distribution in Iran. The mother of one of our founders and lawyer colleagues of ours are in charge.
They personally attend the airport cargo warehouse in Tehran, organise the distribution from there, monitor until delivery and ensure that distribution is carried out successfully. At each destination we have trusted contacts who check not only receipt but also usage of our aid.
4. Where do you send your donations to in Iran?
Our donations either go to:
- established clinics and hospitals with doctors in our trusted community who track receipt and usage, or
- local NGOs of civil society who we know for years and trust, or
- directly to the persons in need (e.g. financial donations for medical costs via bank transfers).
5. Isn’t it risky to ship humanitarian aid to Iran? Do you not face problems?
Yes, it is risky and we do face difficulties. But we believe fear is a hindrance to our (unfortunately rare) work, and we cannot allow fear to stop humanitarian efforts. As an nonpolitical charitable organisation, we have all the necessary documentation and inform authorities along the way to keep difficulty as limited as possible.
Our humanitarian goods have been confiscated in Iran in the past, and our representatives in Iran have faced questioning by authorities including temporary travel ban until we proved our purely humanitarian status.
Difficulties do not only arise in Iran. Due to US sanctions getting the humanitarian aid out of Europe and to Iran is not without difficulty. Even organisations such as the United Nations face hardship.
The work is not easy but that is exactly why we have made the choice to help. As our board of directors consists mostly of European lawyers, we use our legal background to minimise difficulty in Europe and ask our representatives in Iran to do the same. There are few organisations who have been sending humanitarian aid to Iran in the past years and we are proud to be one of them despite all the obstacles.
6. Are you affiliated with any organisation in the diaspora?
No, we are an independent organisation founded by our Board of Directors, who wanted provide humanitarian support for the people in Iran at times of humanitarian crises and give insights in our European communities into the core of Iranian culture beyond what is seen in the media.
We are independent and have no ties to any other organisation or persons other than our Advisory Board. The only institution we have worked with is the German Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit) with whom we partnered and brought medical ventilators to Iran during the Covid-19 pandemic.
7. Why do you retweet and repost on instagram posts of the European embassies in Tehran?
We have no base in Iran and we do not intend to do so. We are an European organisation and do not want any ties to Iran. We only have representatives in Iran as mentioned above under the answer to question 3, who ensure our succesful humanitarian aid distribution. As we do not have any European source (such as ourselves) in Iran for information, we only retweet cultural and humanitarian information by the European embassies in Tehran.
8. What are the criteria for the Arvand Prize application?
Any person or organisation that has contributed to the enhancement of mutual understanding between Europeans and Iranians and meets the criteria set out on this page can submit an application for the Arvand Prize.
Applications for the next award will be open in autumn 2023. Please note that there may be a delay in the application process due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For further information, please see euiranc.org/arvand-prize/.