Tavakolian, born in Iran and raised primarily in the United States, was essential in coordinating the 2016 Beat the Streets gala where Team USA met in friendly competition with the top wrestlers from Iran.
"It was amazing to see how those countries came together," he said. "Everyone was united through the sport of wrestling despite political, cultural and religious differences. It was a perfect sign of what sports diplomacy does."
Tavakolian also has spent many years giving back to young people through wrestling.
"I have a huge outreach wrestling program where I provide wrestling gear to kids around the world," he said. "I show them this is a way out of poverty and that they can chase their dreams in wrestling. I send shoes and gear to villages in Iran, Brazil, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain. I also help kids in the U.S. I am a board member at Beat the Streets, which does a lot to help young boys and girls in this country.
One of Tavakolian's initiatives is the Become Your Own Dream Scholarship, an annual award for a New York City student-athlete who has overcome hardship and plans to attend college.
Read the full article on Intermat Wrestling.