About Tavaana

About Tavaana

Tavaana is Iran’s premier civic education and civil society capacity building initiative with a vision for a free and open society, one in which each and every Iranian enjoys equality, justice and the full spectrum of civil and political liberties.

Launched in 2010 with a seed grant from the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) at the US Department of State, the project has been hence sustained with federal assistance (DRL, USAID and the Near East Affairs Bureau at the US Department of State) as well as support from the National Endowment for Democracy, Internews, the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and vital in-kind contributions from Google.

Tavaana has built organically robust civic networks that engage millions each day — across Iran and across the globe. The institute’s timely social media posts amplify Iranian civil society’s organizing efforts in every part of the country. These posts are widely discussed by the Iranian people in even the smallest of town and the most remote of locations, together with our arsenal of ebooks, case studies and other open access civic education resources, live events, ecourses and more on heavily censored topics such as feminist activism, democratic transition, corruption watchdogging, Islamic reformation, labor organizing, secularism, religious freedom and LGBT rights, as well as Iran’s own history and the history of world events denied and distorted, most notably the Holocaust.

Iran’s most esteemed scholars and human rights defenders serve as Tavaana instructors.  As an inclusive civic learning community, we cover the full spectrum of civil and political liberties.

We amplify nationally and internationally the plight of political activists and prisoners in Iran and empower Iranians to aid political prisoners. 

We build the capacity of human rights defenders and legal advocates to pursue the due process protections and fair trial rights. At the same time we provide the Iranian public with the information and tools needed to mobilize for justice for their fellow Iranians. 

We facilitate greater understanding, empathy, and respect for nonbelievers and their rights among the broader Iranian population and build capacity among believers and nonbelievers for effective advocacy for religious rights in Iran. 

We offer professional development and pedagogic support to civic-minded Iranian teachers motivated to counter the Islamic Republic’s lies, media manipulation and illiberal teachings.  

Tavaana was incubated at the Center for Liberty in the Middle East before being moved in 2011 to its home at the E-Collaborative for Civic Education, 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Bethesda, MD.  and operates virtual teams of contributors located throughout the globe.

About E-Collaborative for Civic Education

E-Collaborative for Civic Education (ECCE) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Bethesda, MD. ECCE operates virtual teams of contributors located throughout the globe.

ECCE’s co-founder Mariam Memarsadeghi and Akbar Atri, co-founder and director, share a longstanding interest in civic education, academic backgrounds in political science as well as personal histories of activism and aiding civic groups struggling against repressive regimes worldwide. Akbar spent ten years in the leadership of the Iranian student movement and was one of the original drafters of a referendum calling for a democratic constitution. He left Iran in 2005. Mariam left Iran as a child during the 1979 revolution. She previously directed Freedom House’s Middle East and North Africa programs, is a former Presidential Leadership Scholar and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Alongside Tavaana, E-Collaborative for Civic Education also leads the TavaanaTech  and Tolerance initiatives. Our TavaanaTech service makes Iranian civil society better equipped to employ technology more safely and sustainably in the struggle for democracy and human rights. Our Tolerance:Building Dialogue project celebrates difference and educates about religious freedom, minority rights and democratic pluralism.

Why Open Education Matters at Tavaana: E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society video


Tavaana is proud to leverage the very best civic education curricula and civil society capacity building resources through partnerships with leading American institutions.

The Center for Civic Education/CIVITASe

George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management 

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights 

The New Tactics in Human Rights 

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 

Tavaana is a recipient of a Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grants program supports registered nonprofit organizations, including many that share Google’s philosophy of community service to help the world in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy, and the arts. Google Ad Grants is an in-kind advertising program that awards free online advertising to nonprofits.”

Employment Opportunities

Check out our Indeed and Idealist profiles for open positions. 

In addition to this open position, Tavaana is always interested in receiving applications from freelance consultants in the following fields: translation, editing (English and Persian), curriculum design and development, research, graphic arts, video production, animation, and more.  Interested freelancers should please send a cover letter, CV, three work samples and references to project.admin@eciviced.org



Internship and Volunteering Programs

Partnership opportunities

Do you have an area of expertise that you know would be beneficial to Iranian civil society?

Tavaana is always looking for partners — technology experts, curriculum developers, human rights advocates, teachers, translators, civic leaders, journalists and editors, NGO leaders, women’s rights advocates, community organizers, government watchdogs, and environmental activists throughout the free world — people just like you interested in engaging with their counterparts in Iran.

Tavaana partners are good-hearted people interested in sharing their experiences, knowledge and expertise with civic-minded Iranians.

Perhaps you can envision an e-course you would like to teach, a curriculum you would like to develop, or a webinar that you would like to lead with Iranians. Perhaps you would like to conduct a “Virtual Exchange” between your book club, classroom or grassroots civic group and a sister group active in Iran.

Tavaana can provide you with a suitable online platform, technology support, translators and curriculum developers to help you securely connect with Iran’s most talented and committed civic leaders.

Contact us today via project.admin@eciviced.org if you’re interested in supporting Iranians in their courageous struggle to make their country free.

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