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Dr. Christen Behzadi, MD

Enjoying pomegranate juice in TehranI have always believed that when you are going into a new environment you must embrace it wholeheartedly. This belief really guided me as a young child because I moved around so much with my family. Every few years it was a new school , new home, new town, new friends, new everything. No matter what part of the country we were living in I saw time and again the faster that I embraced and adapted to the new way of life the sooner I would be enjoying myself and making great friends. 

I never imagined this childhood skill that became so ingrained into me would serve me so well in my endeavors. When I met my husband Pedram we were classmates in medical school. As we became closer I spent increasing time with his Iranian immigrant family. Instinctively I began observing my new environment and embracing his culture wholeheartedly.

As an American woman raised in a traditional western way it was a lot to learn. But, I learned. I learned the language he spoke at home (Farsi) and the proper protocol of etiquette in their culture. From simple matters such as how to make tea and who to serve first to more complex matters like knowing what is really meant by what is said. I learned about the protocol of polite conversation and appropriate dress. I learned that certain things are major offenses in their culture - like not offering a small gift of thanks to a host or being perceived as impolite to a guest. I learned their traditions and holidays and when we went to Iran I learned how to thrive in Iran as well.

There were so many intricacies to the protocol of polite behavior in Iranian culture. I felt so compelled after we were married in such an elaborate traditional way that I wanted to write an etiquette guide to explain these differences for other western people marrying into this Middle Eastern culture. Although I was an anesthesiology resident in New York at the time working 60-80 hours a week I found time post call, in-between rounds and after work to write my book The Persian Wedding Book: How to Have a Persian Wedding When you Have No Idea What Persian Means.

I have always valued good etiquette and embracing local culture in order to flourish in a new environment. My goal with IICFIRM is to not only help western professional feel comfortable throughout the Middle East and Islamic world but also to really thrive and impress everyone with impeccable cultural manners.

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