Stanford Iranian Studies Program

Iran Davar Ardalan discusses the innovative and new Voice AI experience “Freedom Speaks.” This project honors Iranian women using powerful art such as poems, music and more from the past & present—all accessible through Alexa's voice command “Alexa, open Freedom Speaks." Ms. Ardalan also explains how others can be part of an exciting conversation about pushing forward language capabilities by making datasets available in Persian so that even more voices can have true power.

Iran Davar Ardalan is the executive producer of "Freedom Speaks," a voice AI on Amazon Alexa that shares inspiring stories by Iranian women. Ardalan is a senior advisor to Women in Voice, a global non-profit creating women leaders in conversational AI. Ardalan is also National Geographic's executive producer of audio, where she oversees the award-winning podcast series, "Overheard,” the narrative limited series "Into the Depths" as well as new forays into spatial audio via Nat Geo's Soundbank. In September 2022, Ardalan presented “Sounds Like National Geographic” at the Voice2022 summit in Arlington, VA, talking about the future of voice AI as a keeper of wisdom and knowledge of nature and history and culture.

Prior to this, Ardalan was deputy director of the Presidential Innovation Fellowship Program in Washington D.C. and before that a veteran journalist at NPR News for two decades. In May 2014, Davar was the recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for individual achievement and for promoting cultural unity. In Fall 2021, through her work at IVOW, (Intelligent Voices of Wisdom) Ardalan launched a conversational AI scholar on Google Assistant to preserve the wisdom and work of her late mother, Islamic scholar, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar into 21st century voice technology.