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Conversations with Exceptional Women - March 2012

The HAND Foundation


The Director-General, elected for four years, was Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to France and Monaco, Personal Representative of the Bulgarian President to the ‘Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie’ and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO from 2005 to 2009.

Born in 1952, she obtained an MBA from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and studied at the universities of Maryland and Harvard in the USA. During her long and distinguished career, she also served as Bulgaria’s representative to the United Nations and as her country’s Secretary of State for European integration and Foreign Minister. Ms. Bokova has long promoted the transition to European integration. As Founder and Chairperson of the European Policy Forum, she worked to overcome divisions in Europe and promote the values of dialogue, diversity, human dignity and rights.


UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. It has two global priorities - Africa and Gender Equality.
And a number of overarching objectives:
  • Attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning
  • Mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development
  • Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges
  • Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace
  • Building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.


Noosheen Hashemi, President and co-founder of The HAND Foundation, is a philanthropist with a passion for entrepreneurship and economic development. Since 2003, she has led The HAND Foundation's efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, strengthen the global middle class and advance the philanthropic sector.  Ms. Hashemi is also a board member of the New America Foundation and a trustee of the India Community Center.

From 2006 to 2011 Ms. Hashemi co-founded and chaired PARSA Community Foundation, the first Iranian-American community foundation. Since 1997 Ms. Hashemi has been an independent investor and advisor in the software industry.  In 1996, she joined, a profitable personal finance pioneer, as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Prior to that Ms. Hashemi held various management positions at Oracle
Corporation between 1985 and 1995, where she took active part in
software's meteoric rise as an industry. She was appointed Director of
Finance and Administration in 1988 and named Vice President in 1990.
In 1991, she won Oracle's "Against All Odds Award" for her role in the
company's financial turnaround. In 1993, she led expansion of Oracle
services as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for
Oracle's Worldwide Education.

Ms. Hashemi has served on the board of MIT's Iranian Studies Program as well as the advisory board of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives. She has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and CEDAW Human Rights Award for Philanthropy. She holds a B.S. in Economics from San Jose State University and an M.S. in Management from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, where she became a Sloan Fellow.

The Hand Foundation

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