In 1975, my parents left Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution and settled in Kenya. I was born in Nairobi, where I spent my childhood and youth.
Unlike many children my age, I had a privileged upbringing and was fortunate to attend very good schools. I was raised as a member of the Bahá’í Faith and was inspired by a vision of the oneness of humanity and the notion of being of service to the human race. I, therefore, yearned to make some contribution to better the lives of those less fortunate.
Like my older brother, I spent my undergraduate years at Stanford, where I studied human biology and embraced the opportunity to explore diverse courses. During my senior year, I entered a co-terminal master’s program in Stanford’s School of Education, where I earned a degree in International Education Administration and Policy Analysis. This program allowed me to delve into policy questions facing educational systems around the world and acquainted me with spectacular faculty and students.
After graduating, I spent more than seven years at the Office of Social and Economic Development at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel, supporting Bahá’í non-governmental organizations in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific to implement educational programs for children and youth.
In 2016, I returned with my husband to Kenya, where I gave birth to our first child. As I see the wonder at the world in my son’s eyes, I’ve experienced a keen desire to teach, so I recently enrolled in a teaching certification program.
Happy centennial year, GSE!
In 2006, Leila Ehsani-Tanyi earned both her BA in Human Biology at Stanford and her master’s in the School of Education. She is shown here with her husband, Nakhjavan Tanyi, and their son Riaz in Nairobi, where she works in the Bahá’í World Centre’s Office of Social and Economic Development.