The professional trajectory of author and MIT advisor Afarin Bellisario reads like a study in contrasts. At the young age of  fourteen, she embarked on a career in journalism in her native Tehran, contributing to major magazines and covering a variety of topics, including women’s issues. She pivoted towards  a career in engineering and later moved to the United States, where she earned a Ph.D. from MIT and led a rewarding career in high-tech. Her longing to express herself through the written word never waned.  Most recently, she built a story around a protagonist every bit as unconventional as herself in her new book, Silenced Whispers.


In  the  book, Bellisario draws from her own upbringing in an Azeri family in Tehran and true stories shared by elders, including her Russian great-grandfather, to transport readers to Iran at the dawn of the 20th century, vividly immersing them in the life of Gohar, an Iranian woman battling for freedom — her own and her country’s. Gohar’s journey unfolds from her early years in a small desert town to her central role in the complex dynamics of Iran’s quest for modernization while resisting foreign influence.

 Bellisario said the book is inspired by the women who have fought and continue to fight for Iranian democracy.”Iranian women are very strong and very courageous and have been fighting for their rights for many, many years,” Bellisario explained. “Nothing has been given to the Iranian women.”

Silenced Whispers explores profound themes, including love, transformation and the relentless struggle for personal agency amid a rapidly changing world. At its core, Bellisario says, the book exemplifies the incredible power of personal transformation, highlighting the challenges and rewards it brings in a world marked by flux and evolution.”While a work of fiction, Silenced Whispers depicts historical events, including the Russian takeover of Northern Iran and the march of women to the Majles in protest,” Bellisario added. “It is a history of a unique land, told through a love story. It is a fresh perspective, that of a young woman from under her veil who dares to be different.”

 About the author

Afarin Bellisario bridges East and West, technology and the human condition, past and present. Born and raised in Tehran in a family with its feet in the past and its head in the future, she earned her Ph.D. (and an MBA) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and led a successful career in high-tech and international business in the U.S. But writing had always been her passion. Having written professionally in pre-revolutionary Iran, she has published opinion  editorials   in major papers, including The Boston Globe and an essay, Movies with my Aunt, as part of the anthology Love & Pomegranates.

Today, she mentors startups, teaches, and writes about the clash between tradition and modernity and how the past can shed light on our future. A music lover, she is a Cambridge Chamber Ensemble board member and writes for their newsletter while continuing to travel to new and familiar destinations globally.



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