Leadership

Staff & Board

IRQR IS A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION GOVERNED BY A BOARD OF DIRECTORS WHO BRING A BROAD RANGE OF EXPERIENCE FROM THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS AND CIVIL SOCIETY.

The board is composed of three to nine individuals who are elected by the organization membership and sit for a term of two years. The day-to-day operations of IRQR, and the face of the organization is the executive director, Arsham Parsi, a passionate and respected LGBT activist based in Toronto, Canada.

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Arsham Parsi

Executive Director

The IRQR’s founder, Arsham Parsi, is a well-known Iranian gay activist who has dedicated himself to help LGBT/queer Iranians who has fled their country because of the government’s violent homophobic and transphobic policies.

In 2004, while still living in Iran, Arsham founded the first Iranian gay group that later called the IRanian Queer Organization – IRQO (formerly Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization – PGLO). Having been pursued by the police on his trail because of his gay activism, Arsham fled to Turkey in 2005, where he continued his work to publicize the plight of LGBT Iranians.

He was eventually granted asylum in Canada and he pursued his work for the cause while being interviewed extensively by media and featured in two documentary films, the CBC’s (Out in Iran); and Parvez Sharma’s (A Jihad for Love).

In 2008, Arsham was twice honoured, first by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)’s Felipa Sousa Award for pioneering gay activism and then by Toronto Pride with its award for Excellence in Human Rights.

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Stuart Bustard

President—Board of Directors

Stuart has extensive management experience in both non-profit and corporate sectors. His experience includes managing a program for financial professionals that are new to Canada with employment in their field. He is also an active volunteer in the Toronto LGBT community particularly through his ongoing work with the SOY program at the Sherbourne Health Centre.

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Mo Riazi

Treasurer-Board Of Directors

Mo is a Certified Human Resources Professional with experience in strategic and diversity planning, training, and recruitment. He has also been volunteering for IRQR during Pride Toronto festivities to provide educational information and fundraising activities to promote IRQR. Mo has work in the public and non-profit sector regarding LGBT rights. While attending university he had been the Events Coordinator for an LGBT student equity group where education, activism, and fundraising events were the focus.

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Robert Sabuda

Board of Directors

Robert is children’s book creator and graduate of Pratt Institute in NYC. He’s served on the Board of Directors for the both the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Los Angeles, CA and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Robert is a long time volunteer for refugee and the homeless causes, and specializes in crowd funding. He’s the founder of 10 Horse Art Center located in New York State’s historic Hudson Valley.

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Borga Dorter

Board of Directors

Borga is an award-winning film producer based in Toronto. He has produced four feature films, numerous shorts and commercials. His films have screened at prestigious festivals around the world, including Seattle, Victoria, Locarno, Toronto and Rotterdam. Originally from Turkey, and having lived in the US and Canada, Borga understands the plight of Iranian LGBT refugees as they make their journey from their home country in search of a better life. He is a firm believer in utilizing the power and outreach of the medium of cinema to raise awareness for human rights. Borga received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a masters from University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

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Anna Di Carlo

Secretary-Board of Directors

Anna Di Carlo has been an active community volunteer helping a number of organizations. An Event Planner by trade with a background in Advertising and Graphic Design, Anna has planned and executed fundraising events and initiatives for a variety of charities over the years. Having worked with some of the world’s top brands from all over the globe has elevated her expertise in project management, operations and logistics.

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Samaneh Riazi

Board of Directors

Samaneh is a Registered Social Service Worker, with a Hon. BA degree in Sociology and a Social Service Worker diploma. Samaneh’s passion for human rights issues motivated her to first join IRQR as a student intern in 2011, assisting the executive director with the needs of the organization and continued after as a volunteer. She assisted in developing a resettlement workshop program to support refugees in Turkey.