Puran Stevens

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Puran Stevens Director, U.S. Bahá’í Refugee Office

"In her position, Mrs. Stevens works closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the United States government, as well as local and state refugee agencies, to facilitate the resettlement of Bahá’í refugees, including Iranian Bahá’ís, who seek a new life in the United States, free from persecution.

"Mrs. Stevens was born in Isfahan, Iran and raised in a Bahá’í family where she was taught, from an early age, that education for girls and the equality of women were important prerequisites for a peaceful and just society. Mrs. Stevens became the first woman to work for the United States as Head Librarian for US Information Services in Isfahan. She married an American, Joseph Stevens, in a Bahá’í wedding ceremony over 40 years ago in Tehran.

"She and her family lived for 3 years in Germany, where the second of her two daughters was born and where Mrs. Stevens volunteered in the Children’s ward of the US Army Hospital as a Red Cross volunteer. She has also worked as research librarian at North Texas State University, after she obtained her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Sciences with Phi-Kappa-Phi honors from North Texas State.

"The severity of the persecution of Iranian Bahá’ís increased after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Mrs. Stevens was appointed to the National Persian American Affairs Committee by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, the national governing body of the Bahá’ís in the United States. Later she was asked to be in charge of the affairs of all Bahá’í refugees.

"In 1988, she became director of the newly established US Bahá’í Refugee Office in Evanston, Illinois. During her tenure, Mrs. Stevens has had the pleasure of serving on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee in Chicago and has written America: A Nation of Immigrants.

"Mrs. Stevens works with all Bahá’í refugees regardless of their county of origin. Bahá’í refugees from countries such as Sudan, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and others have found new homes throughout the United States. During the 1980s, the majority of Bahá’í refugees came from Southeast Asia; now the majority come from Iran." [1]

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  1. Membership, Chicago Council on Urban Affairs, accessed November 29, 2008.