photo of Leili Towfigh

Leili Towfigh '92

When she’s not busy with master’s work at Harvard, Leili Towfigh ’92 works for ComTel Productions, a film production company, on educational materials, multimedia projects and documentary film. Her most recent project was a documentary called “African Americans in World War II: A Legacy of Patriotism and Valor.” It examines the crucial role — and untold story — of over a million black servicemen and servicewomen in the war.

Leili explains, “Only a few African Americans were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for courage in World War II — all were awarded fifty years after the war ended, and all but one were posthumous. We developed accompanying curricular materials so that the process of educating students about this important chapter of history can begin in earnest. We also have accompanying materials examining the absence of black soldiers in World War II-era films, comparing those (all-white) depictions with the real footage of African American soldiers. The pictures tell the story loud and clear.”

Leili’s coursework at Harvard encompasses a number of areas related to the education field, focusing on how media and technology can best support learning. “I have always been interested in what gets us as people to change those deeply held attitudes and behaviors that impede our progress, such as prejudice, and I think the thoughtful, active use of media, especially visual media, is a fertile field for development of strategies to address this,” she says.

Leili also serves as secretary general of the National Youth Council of the Bahá’ís of the U.S. The Council is involved in promoting racial harmony and the equality of women and men, and developing the skills and potential of youth. It also collaborates with other youth-oriented organizations across the country to name and address major barriers to the progress of young people. Leili travels all over the U.S. many weekends of the year, listening to and consulting with youth. In 1995, Leili and Caren Rosenthal ’91 presented their work on youth and violence, and persuading young men to become involved in raising the status of women, at the NGO Forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Reflecting on her diverse interests and activities, Leili exclaims, “Viva la liberal arts education!” She can be reached at Leili@justice.medford.ma.us.

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