In February, when the second new moon after the winter solstice inked out the sky, A.C.E. intern Weston Cooper flew home to see Chinese New Year fireworks light it up. On March 20 when the spring equinox cracked open Nowruz, the Persian New Year, A.C.E. President Woodward joined his fellow board members of the University of Washington Persian and Iranian Studies to bring the hammered tones of the Santur dulcimer to the Seattle Rotary Club.
Woodward is a longtime member of Seattle’s most prestigious Club. With his colleagues from the Persian and Iranian Studies Program, he programmed a small performance from musician Sarang Amirtabar on this centuries-old Persian instrument. The 72 strings rang out in the dining room where city leaders meet weekly for philanthropy and steerage of the business community. Bringing ties between this region and ours is unique contribution of A.C.E.’s presence in the largest Rotary Club in the world.
Other Persian and Iranian Studies program members were director Joel Walker, the Jon Bridgman Endowed Professor of History, Persian lecturer and A.C.E. International Advisory Council member Ms. Shahrzad Shams, and four members of the Program’s Advisory Board: Mr. Hamid Attar, Mr. Iraj Khademi, Dr. Katayoun Naficy. Also in attendance, Mr. Iraj Khademi, former Rotary member and president at clubs in Iran, the U.S., and Chile, directed the performance under the auspices of his Persian Music and Poetry Workshop. This local treasure has recently celebrated its 100th performance.
On Nowruz, tables are set with seven food starting with the letter “s”, to bring them into the home for the new year. These include Suma, crushed spice of berries for the sunrise and the spice of life, Serkeh, vinegar for patience and age, and Samanu, wheat pudding for fertility and the sweetness of life. Woodward saw many a Nowruz table set being born and spending his early youth in southern Iran. A.C.E. reaches every level of the city in making the world your community, and as the table of spicy and sweet foods is taken down on April 2, Rotary members in the region will recall the celebrations of all people as the earth moves on to the next quarter of its orbit.