Official Interview: Cyrus A. Ansary

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Official Interview: Cyrus A. Ansary

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Today's Chat with Sarah features Cyrus A. Ansary author of Odyssey of High Hopes, an upcoming book of the month.

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1. Who has been most influential in your life?

At the top of the list was my father, an orphan whose early life was a desperate struggle for survival in the streets of several countries. He never had a chance to go to school but later, as an adult, he made sure that his children received the good education that he sorely lacked. There was also my older brother Hushang, who had perfect memory, an IQ off the chart, and burning ambition. His achievements from an early age set a high bar for me and our other siblings. Still another person of influence for me was an American named F. Taylor Gurney. He happened to be the cultural attaché at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. A dedicated teacher and humanitarian, Dr. Gurney guided me through my crucial teenage years and remained my mentor and friend until long after I had finished my education.

2. Let's discuss your book, Odyssey of High Hopes. Can you give a short synopsis for those that don't know?

I was born in 1933 during an abysmally difficult decade worldwide. The devastation of World War I was still vivid in the minds of many, but circumstances far more drastic were about to unfold. The First World War and the influenza epidemic of the same period had combined to decimate the world population. The U.S. did not escape unscathed as a depression crippled the economy. Throughout this period, I was living in a small town called Shiraz. I found solace at the top of an oak tree in an orchard near my home where I spent countless hours fantasizing about life outside my birthplace, Iran. My dream of seeking a good education in more nurturing climes dominated my daily routine. America was an enchanting land which beckoned, and I resolved to find my way there no matter what it took. It was a bold dream, but utterly unlikely of attainment at the time.

Odyssey of High Hopes is the story of how this fantasy became reality through determination and an endless series of fortunate developments.

3. What made you decide to write about your experience in becoming an American citizen?

Once fortunate enough to reach America, I was jolted by the hard life I faced as a penniless high school student. The story of how I was able to overcome great hardships would, I believe, inspire readers to follow their own dreams.

4. What was the writing process like for you?

It was a lengthy, but fascinating and absorbing exercise. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the disparate pieces that came together to shape my life.

5. What's the biggest difference between Tehran and the American cities you visited?

Despite a most difficult unemployment environment, America in the 1930s boasted impressive educational institutions that ranked among the best in the world. By contrast, Tehran had very little to offer. Its only university had yet to open its doors to entering freshmen.

6. What was the most difficult part of coming to a new country?

For this child of a modest background, the cultural and economic gulf separating my native land from the U.S. was vast at the time.

7. What do you want the readers to remember most about your book?

If an impoverished teenager with only a few coins in his pocket can arrive on the shores of the U.S. and achieve great success, then it can happen to anyone. All you have to do is hold onto your dreams, embrace hard work, and believe in yourself.

8. What's next for you?

For me, helping others has been a rewarding sequel to my own early struggles. Later, while I was immersed in law and finance, I found deep fulfillment in helping others to achieve their own educational and life goals.

I like to end with fun questions.

9. What's your favorite memory of growing up?


It was sheer enchantment to climb the tallest oak tree in an orchard behind my house in Shiraz. The fragrant flowers and abundant fruit trees and bushes were a magical oasis for me. They gave me the will and the strength to follow my dreams and make them reality.

10. What makes you laugh?

Not taking myself seriously has been a great antidote in life, and I find humor in matters large and small.

11. Do you prefer savory or sweet?

From my childhood in Shiraz, I learned to enjoy simple foods, plant-based or otherwise, right off the farm. Fortunately, America also offers a vast array of fruits and vegetables for an equally healthy diet.

12. What's your favorite food?

Amazingly, Persian kebabs and Japanese sushi are my all-time favorite foods.
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Post by Russel Stanly »

Cyrus A. Ansary shares his journey detailed in “Odyssey of High Hopes,” a memoir of his life’s trajectory from the streets of Iran to American citizenship. Influenced by his father’s resilience, his brother’s brilliance, and his mentor F. Taylor Gurney, Ansary’s narrative is one of unwavering determination. Born in the tumultuous 1930s in Shiraz, he dreamt of education and opportunity in America, a dream that seemed unattainable until fate intervened. His story, a testament to the power of dreams and hard work, aims to inspire readers to pursue their aspirations. Ansary’s reflections on the cultural and educational contrasts between Tehran and America, and his subsequent dedication to aiding others’ educational and life goals, underscore his belief in the transformative power of self-belief and perseverance. His favorite childhood memories, sense of humor, and culinary preferences offer a glimpse into the man behind the memoir.
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Post by Aqsa Jan »

The author has shared his journey
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Post by ms jyoti »

Official Interview: Cyrus A. Ansary kandscreeley is an important book that sheds light on a complex and often misunderstood region of the world. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the Middle East today.

Here are some of the things I liked about the book:

* The book is well-written and engaging.
* Screeley does an excellent job of capturing Ansary's personality and beliefs.
* The interviews are candid and revealing, and they provide a unique glimpse into the mind of one of the most influential figures in the Middle East.

Here are some of the things I didn't like about the book:

* The book is quite long, and it can be slow-paced at times.
* Some of the interviews are more interesting than others.
* The book is not a comprehensive biography of Ansary, and it does not cover all aspects of his life and work.

Overall, I thought Official Interview: Cyrus A. Ansary kandscreeley was an excellent book. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the Middle East today
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Post by Shrikant Kumar 3 »

:ugeek2: This is a story of a teenager boy . Through this story he send a message to us that in any hard and bad situation we have to live there nad face that .
He told in his story that how he face so many trouble after migrate from America to .in America there is good education facilities nad so many things after hardship.but in this country where he live at present time unemployment is more.but in this had situation he make himself happy by climbing on tree and fregment of flowers.

Moral of the story: in ant situation we couldn't give up.Stand strongly ond face the problem.
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