With a longstanding interest in art, Nasreen Haroon had an opportunity early on to take oil painting classes as part of an after-school program at her Catholic convent school, an endeavor she was encouraged in by her father. Coupling her love of art with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others and help to promote acceptance, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, philosophy and history at Saint Joseph’s College for Women in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1972 before coming to the United States in 1980. Ms. Haroon began her career in the United States as a design consultant for the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California, a position she held until 1994.
Ms. Haroon’s career in art blossomed alongside her work in community service and advocacy. In the early 1990s, she began exhibiting her oil paintings at numerous galleries and shows and acting as a speaker on cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. She also served as the president of The Women’s Association in 1991. In 1994, she began her tenure with the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council and was involved with the Pakistan Arts Council of the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California, from 1994 to 1996. First joining the Los Angeles chapter of Developments in Literacy in 1996, she served as vice president from 1997 to 1999. In addition to holding a position on the board of directors of the Islamic Center of Southern California from 1999 to 2002, Ms. Haroon has also spent time as the co-chair of the Muslim Jewish Dialogue, appeared regularly on the cable TV program “God Squad” and sat on the board of directors for the Cornerstone Theater Company.
Furthermore, Ms. Haroon appeared on “Bonjour Algerie” during her 2008 trip to Algiers, Algeria, which saw her interviewed on two separate occasions about her art and her work with the Art in Embassies program. While in Algiers, she led children’s art workshops; taught master classes at the Academy of Fine Arts; gave presentations to the Museum of Fine Arts and the U.S. Embassy and a lecture at the Ecole de Beaux Arts; and participated in a roundtable discussion at a local art gallery. These events were geared toward a wide range of individuals, from children and students to academics and cultural leaders, as well as the community at large. Among her career highlights, Ms. Haroon cites coordinating the painting of a mural at a local NGO for battered women and children and holding an art workshop for children at a psychological facility in Algiers.
Proud of her work as a cultural ambassador, Ms. Haroon is grateful to have had the opportunity to showcase her background as a Muslim-American and her interfaith advocacy work on an international stage. She has also served as a cultural envoy to the United Arab Emirates, where she taught master classes in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and her paintings are on display at the U.S. Embassies in Pakistan, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. Looking toward the future, Ms. Haroon plans to continue painting and promoting acceptance through her work with Nasreen Haroon Collections.
For her excellence, Ms. Haroon has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. In 1997, she was featured in a premier issue of Zarposh International Magazine, and, the following year, she was presented with an award for her planning of a Youth Day for the Westside Interfaith Council. More recently, she was presented with the Suzy & Wally Marks Jr. Trailblazer Award by NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change in 2013. In light of all her accomplishments, Ms. Haroon has been named a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional and recognized with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and a Marquis Who’s Who Humanitarian Award.