The International Association of Sufism was established in America in 1983 by Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. It is a nonsectarian, nongovernmental organization of the United Nations, Department of Public Information.
The International Association of Sufism (IAS), a non-profit organization, a UN NGO/DPI, a recipient of the UNESCO Culture of Peace and Nonviolence: Messenger of Manifesto in 2000, was established in California in 1983
To introduce Sufism in all its varied forms to the public
To make known the interrelation between Sufi principles and scientific principles
To provide a forum for a continuing dialogue between the different schools of Sufism
To preserve and advance the study and goals of Sufism.
IAS was able to achieve its goals through the cooperative efforts of many Sufi masters, Sufi orders and schools, educators, translators, artists.
The International Association of Sufism (IAS), a non-profit organization, a UN NGO/DPI, a recipient of the UNESCO Culture of Peace and Nonviolence: Messenger of Manifesto in 2000, was established in California in 1983 to introduce Sufism in all its varied forms to the public, to make known the inter-relation between Sufi principles and scientific principles, to provide a forum for a continuing dialogue between the different schools of Sufism, to preserve and advance the study and goals of Sufism.
Over the years, IAS has expanded it’s efforts to also include platforms for interreligious dialogue and social justice initiatives, and Dr. Angha’s vision made the IAS the first organization to historically initiate a global intra-faith movement within the Sufi community, from Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Ghana, Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Scotland, Senegal, Turkey, and the United States, creating a forum to bring together Sufi masters from many lineages, cultures, and nations for a peaceful dialogue. IAS global dialogues include faith leaders, activists, educators, artists to address and adopt lasting resolutions on moral issues facing global community, such as education, poverty, women’s rights, children’s rights, nonviolence, environmental issues and global warming, AIDS, youth issues, refugees, through dialogue, community projects, publications, and arts.
IAS departments and programs
Sufi Women Organization
Dr. Nahid Angha founded the International Sufi Women Organization (SWO), in 1993, creating a global dialogue among women of spiritual backgrounds and many cultures to advocate for women’s rights, and social awareness, has been instrumental in many global peace efforts and social justice movements to raise awareness for basic human rights and help create peaceful solutions to end abuses and violence committed against women and children, to actively work together and contribute towards non-violence solutions in conflict areas. In collaboration with members and Chapters, SWO has launched several local and international social justice programs, lobbying for clean water in refugee areas, offering maternal/child health care, and sponsoring educational scholarship. Working with women from different religious and cultural backgrounds, SWO created ongoing programs including educational and leadership training conference series (Women’s Wisdom, Women in Action), prison projects offering women-led meditation seminars for women inmates in the US, literacy program promoting women-led educational programs for underprivileged youth in the US. Link
Sufism and Psychology Forum
In cooperation with the IAS psychologists and members Dr. Kianfar established the Sufism and Psychology Forum in 1996. The Sufism Psychology Forum (SPF) works to integrate the wisdom of Sufism with the knowledge of Western psychology and to bring people from around the world who are interested in these disciplines together in mutual understanding and inquiry. Projects include the SPF Newsletter, psycho-spiritual panel presentations, and an on-line dialogue. SPF has presented many conferences, and discussion. Link
Community Healing Centers
One of the outcomes of the SPF was the development of the Community Healing Centers to provide counseling and psychosocial services to meet variety of needs for adults, children, couples and families integrating Western psychology with the ancient wisdom to bring balance and harmony to the whole person. The clinical staff is compromised of highly trained and qualified psychotherapist specializing in a broad spectrum of clinical issues. Link
Sufi Youth International
Mission Sufi Youth International, as a department of the International Association of Sufism, was created to develop and expand an international support network for youth that encourage youth to explore the spiritual and value questions of life. SYI serves as a forum designed to support youth who seek to incorporate spirituality into their everyday lives and are dedicated to creating an ethical society for humanity. Link
History: Sufi Youth International, chaired by Sahar Kianfar, is a department of the International Association of Sufism, founded in 1999, at the Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action conference organized by the Sufi Women Organization. A group of youth from both the Sufi and Interfaith community sponsored the Encouraging Wisdom: Youth and Leadership forum at the conference. The youth-led action panel was a great success, which led the development of two strong community projects: Community Service with an Interfaith Reflection and Youth-led Support Groups. Although both programs were based in Northern California, USA, the core group of Sufi youths were very interested in fostering an international network of supporters with a desire to create the same type community programs in their communities. From this evolved the Sufi Youth International, which has recently gained new momentum through the college groups, online dialogue, and research groups.
Forty Days: Alchemy of Tranquility
Another outcome of the SPF is Forty Days Alchemy of Tranquility, a program established and led by Dr. Kianfar. This program fosters emotional balance and deeper understanding of human behavior and spiritual development. Through day-long workshops with a team of professionally-trained presenters, the series is designed to help participants learn how to access their hidden wisdom and to use it in daily life. Introductory sessions are offered during the year to prepare for the Forty Days practices. Link
The Institute for Sufi Studies
Institute for Sufi Studies is an educational department of the International Association of Sufism (IAS), a collaborative effort that invites people from around the world with a common interest in Sufism to join together for research and study of this ancient wisdom. Institute offers classes directly through its centers, on-line and at other educational institutions. The faculty members are accomplished leaders in the fields of Sufism, Islam, art, literature, physics, psychology, and academia. Courses are offered by practitioners of Sufism and teachers in many diverse disciplines, including religion, literature, psychology, philosophy, sociology, physics, meditation, history, healing, and languages. Institute offers classes in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, in the Greater Seattle Area in Washington, and internationally. Link
Center for Islamic Studies
A Center for Islamic Studies (CIS) has an emphasis on education, community and service learning with classes in history, politics, literature, art, business, science, nursing and languages. CIS hosts conferences, symposia, and lecture series on timely topics.
Annual Sufism Symposium
Established over 20 years ago, the Annual Sufism Symposium is a weekend of unity and self discovery presented by the International Association of Sufism. It is an international gathering of delegates from Sufi Orders of many cultures and backgrounds. In the past, representative from Bangladesh, Canada, England, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Iran, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Turkey, the United States and many more have participated. Each symposium focuses on a particular theme to address the immediate and universal needs of humanity. Among the places the symposia have been held are California, Washington, Scotland and Egypt. Link
IAS has led and participated in global discussions of religion and spirituality and social and human rights. It has co-hosted and participated in conferences around the world including the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Building Bridges of Understanding
In 2000 through the works of IAS, Dr. Angha created an educational partnership with the Dominican University of California, to launch the Building Bridges of Understanding series, to provide a forum for local religious, academic and civic leaders to come together to address critical social issues facing their communities. Leaders and representatives of many religions and traditions including Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Sikh, Wiccan, and Zoroastrian. As an example, the series hosted Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi to discuss human rights and US-Iran relations with community leaders and activists. In addition, the series created a college scholarship program for youth leaders who exemplify the premise of the Building Bridges of Understanding series. Link
Voices for Justice
In 2006, Nahid Angha established Voices for Justice, a youth organization to represent multi religions multi cultural unified voice to advocate for children’s rights. Through the works of its founding members: Hamaseh Kianfar, Ed. E. Emily Hedges, Samira Behjat, Neda Ana Tejada, Voices for Justice has been working with several humanitarian organizations, including Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, and UNICEF, to help support clean water, AIDS awareness, immunization, nutrition, donating school supplies initiatives in North America, Central America and Africa. Its current program: Summer Breakfast, is providing free summer school breakfast/lunch (for children of low income), food and clothing drive for homeless population initiatives in Northern California. Through Voices for Justice youth leaders advocate for and provide a forum for public awareness of the rights of children through education, community service, events and programs so that every child and every young adult has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential. Link
Muslim non Muslim Dialogue
Dr. Angha has created a partnership with Dominican Campus Ministry to create an ongoing dialogue on Bridging the Cultural Gap: a Muslim non Muslim Dialogue, to focus on dialogue, roundtable discussions, panel presentations, personal stories to offer insights in hope to bring about mutual understanding and continuous dialogue among Muslim and Non Muslim students. A successful program that created an ongoing dialogue on religious tolerance, freedom, mindfulness and respect for all faiths. Link 2013 Link 2014
Music and Art Departments
Taneen: Sufi Music Ensemble
Taneen (Divine Melody) consists of a group of Sufi practitioners who compose and perform songs and music that have been inspired through prayer and meditation and are based around zekr (remembrance). Some of the songs recorded on their Divine Breath and Into Ecstasy CDs have been inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammad and the gifted poets, Jalal al-Din Rumi and Hazrat Moulana Shah Maghsoud. Taneen has performed before international audiences at such events as the annual Sufism Symposium, the Parliament of World’s Religions, the Nobel Peace Institute, the United Nation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, and many other events. Link
Echoes of the Unseen
Avay-i-Janaan is an international group of poets, visual artists and musicians who have come together from the same origin and are headed toward the same destination in eternity. Link
Publications and Productions
The International Association of Sufism has developed an extensive publication program, which has brought Sufi masters together with writers, translators, editors, and other members of the English-speaking intellectual community. If you are interested in publications by Dr. Nahid Angha please see our website ias.org.
Quarterly Journal Sufism: An Inquiry, longest running a quarterly journal published by IAS that includes articles and essays on Sufism and translations of important Sufi works into English. This journal introduces readers to Sufis–past and present–including their schools, biographies, words of wisdom, instructions, poetry, and principles. Sufism: An Inquiry is available online here.
IAS publishes of books on Sufism and Sufi principles, literature, poetry, philosophy, meditation, and practices.
Video and Audio
Over 300 video and audio tapes are available from Sufism Symposia, lectures, and zekr lead by Sufi masters from around the world. Interviews of Sufi masters are available on CD and DVD. Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble tapes and CDs are available through IAS.