Bio: Nazanin Boniadi
Nazanin Boniadi is an Iranian-born actress and activist. Her TV and film credits include How I Met Your Mother (CBS), Homeland (Showtime) and Ben-Hur (2016, MGM/Paramount). She recently co-starred alongside J.K. Simmons on Counterpart (Starz), and stars in the feature film Hotel Mumbai alongside Dev Patel and Armie Hammer. She served as a spokesperson for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) from 2009 until 2015, during which time she worked at a grassroots level and appeared on international TV and radio programs to campaign for the rights of disenfranchised populations across the world. She continues to partner with AIUSA, serving as an Artist of Conscience as of August 2015 and maintaining her official blog on the AIUSA website. Her opinions have been published in global media outlets including The Washington Post, CNN, Defense One and The New York Times as well as audio interviews including Politico’s Women Rule podcast series.
In particular, Ms. Boniadi has been very involved in bringing attention to the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women and prisoners of conscience. She has spoken to German lawmakers at the Bundestag about the dire state of human rights in Iran, attended a debate that lead to the passing of the refugee Family Reunion Bill at the UK House of Commons, and has met with US lawmakers on Capitol Hill to advocate for the rights of the Iranian people. In September 2018, she spearheaded and moderated a bipartisan U.S. human rights caucus on Iran, with Senators Coons and Tillis.
Ms. Boniadi campaigned alongside Amnesty International USA for the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), which would ensure the United States raises the issue of women’s rights in its diplomatic work. She has served as a speaker, panelist and emcee for events related to Iranian rights, including AIUSA’s Western Regional Conference and Annual General Meetings, and the National Democratic Institute’s 13th Annual Madeleine K. Albright Luncheon in D.C.
In 2010, Ms. Boniadi launched a petition to the United Nations, co-signed by several Hollywood luminaries, calling for the freedom of Iranian film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof who were wrongfully convicted of “propaganda against the state.” In 2018, she spearheaded an open letter with the Center for Human Rights in Iran, co-signed by 17 distinguished Iranian women, urging the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to demand that Iran end its discriminatory ban on women in stadiums.
She has also supported the Education Under Fire campaign, calling for an end to discrimination against and persecution of Baha’is in Iran, and she narrated “To Light A Candle”, Maziar Bahari’s 2014 documentary on the subject.
On September 30, 2014, the Program for Torture Victims awarded Ms. Boniadi their City of Second Chances Award for her commitment to human rights and her service to Amnesty International. In 2016 she was honored by AIUSA for her social justice work. In 2018, she was selected by People Magazine as one of their ’25 Women Changing the World.’
Ms. Boniadi has campaigned with AIUSA for the release of numerous political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran including Roxana Saberi, Maziar Bahari, Majid Tavakoli, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Behrouz Ghobadi, Atena Farghadani, Jason Rezaian, Narges Mohammadi and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Ms. Boniadi was selected as a term member by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2014.
In October 2015, she joined the Board of Directors of the Center for Human Rights in Iran.