There Is A Portal

Photo:  Aidan Un , Intercultural Journeys 2018

Photo: Aidan Un, Intercultural Journeys 2018

Kayhan Irani is an Emmy-award winning writer, a performer,and a cultural activist. She creates art to build community, spaces for healing, and to mobilize audiences to affect change. For the past 16 years she has been using theater and story-based strategies for community organizing, engagement, and education.

Kayhan was one of ten artists named by President Obama’s White House as a 2016 White House Champion of Change for her storytelling work.  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 a volume of essays, Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims (Routledge, 2008) and a chapter in Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way. (Routledge, 2015).


Director:  Rania Lee Khalil works in performance and moving image. Her artworks reflect on the beauty, fragility and displacement of indigenous plant, animal and human (culture)s.

Video Artist:  Gazelle Samizay was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and now resides in Los Angeles. Her photographs and videos have been exhibited across the US and internationally,

Dramaturg:  Gargi Shinde, her passion lies in bringing together artists and audiences within the worlds of performing arts and literature.

Web Designer:  Zhiyuan Yang is an interdisciplinary artist from Beijing, China who makes work explores the ambivalent relationship between alienation and belonging.


Thea Abu El Haj - Education and Civic Engagement Advisor

Deepa Iyer - Community Action & Mobilization Advisor

Marguerite Lukes - Bilingual Youth Engagement Advisor


Center for Ethnic Racial and Religious Understanding (CERRU)