Akbar Atri is Tavaana's co-founder and co-director. Akbar is a veteran human rights activist and former Iranian student leader. Born in a small village in Iranian Azerbaijan, he brings significant insight into varied strands of the Iranian social fabric, from the rural farm to the urban factory to the large university and beyond.
Akbar was elected annually to the leadership of Iran’s largest student organization, Tahkim Vahdat, for ten years and was the organization’s spokesperson. In this capacity he was a regular conduit of human rights information to the international media, delivered hundreds of speeches and engaged in countless civic dialogues, sit-ins, and protests at universities throughout the country. Akbar was one of the original drafters of the Referendum Movement on the Iranian Constitution and has been sentenced in absentia to a minimum of seven years in prison for his human rights activism.
Akbar earned his B.A. in Political Science at Allame Tabatabaie University in Tehran, Iran, and an MA in Political Science at Mofid University in Qom, Iran. In 2011, Akbar earned a second MA degree in Conflict Resolution and Analysis at George Mason University.