by Hourvash Pourkian

Hourvash Pourkian has been a public figure ever since the publication of her book with her father in June 1998, "Power Makes Tired Women Happy". After the presentation in October 1998 at the Frankfurt bookfair, the success and positive response to the work and the person continued. Numerous lectures on the topic of "Women in the Business World" followed.


Traveling around the world as a businesswoman, she experienced many different cultures and the structures of men's business life. Hourvash Pourkian also had to experience how disadvantaged women are in the male-dominated business world.


In the years between 1988 to 2007 Hourvash Pourkian had her own Jeans & Casual wear label "Shamo Jeans Sports". She did business in a wide variety of countries and was also based there at times. From 1989 to 2000 she produced in South Africa, from 1990 to 2007 in Turkey. Business trips and manufacturing facilities in Czech Republik, Poland, Portugal, Brazil, China, Macau and Hong Kong followed.


In addition to business activity, friendships were made with local people. Hourvash Pourkian, made it her mission to support women in the professional world and in setting up their own business. She particularly supported founding women in South Africa, Portugal and Turkey. These experiences have shaped her a lot. Out of this commitment, she decided to work as a social entrepreneur.


In 2001 she was part of the competence team as a consultant for equality of the future Hamburg mayor Ole von Beust.


In 2002 to 2011 Hourvash Pourkian was  appointed into the Integration Council of the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg. She was a permanent member of the Integration Advisory Board.


Influenced by her work on the integration advisory board, Hourvash Pourkian decided in 2003 to found the non-profit association Kulturbrücke Hamburg (Bridge of Culture). The aim of the association is to improve intercultural exchange and the promotion of dialogue between people of different ethnicities and to reduce prejudices.


From 2004 to 2013, Hourvash Pourkian produced and presented more than 250 programs on the local broadcaststation Tide TV, with her own program format “Bridge of Culture TV”.


In 2005 Hourvash Pourkian created her own international project called "SwitchKids cultural exchange in their own city". The aim of the project is, to bridge cultures with different ethnicities to prevent dicriminiation, prejudices and racism.


The award-winning SwitchKids project, which is financed by sponsors, aims to lay the foundation for cosmopolitanism and tolerance from childhood and has been a success story ever since.  


The SwitchKids project was followed by other very successful integration projects such as SwitchBigs, SwitchArt, SwitchMind and SwitchTutor.


In addition to Hourvash Pourkian's central theme, promoting integration, she has been committed to strengthening women's rights for years. For the 100th International Women's Day, she founded the IWP International Women in Power initiative in March 2011.



The Authority for Science, Research, Equality and Districts awarded Hourvash Pourkian with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on 10. November 2023 and published the following article (translated with Google Translate):


Hourvash Pourkian receives Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

Women's rights activist is honored for her commitment to women and girls with a migrant background

November 10, 2023 11:30 am

Hourvash Pourkian was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the Federal President. Pourkian has been committed to civil liberties, equal opportunities and intercultural exchange for 25 years. The Kulturbrücke Hamburg e. V. has already been awarded multiple times, and the non-profit organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary on November 17th. In recognition of her big voluntary commitment, Hourvash Pourkian was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Equal Opportunities Senator Katharina Fegebank on November 10, 2023.

Equal Opportunities Senator Katharina Fegebank: “I warmly congratulate Hourvash Pourkian on receiving the Federal Order of Merit. For 25 years, Hourvash Pourkian has been fighting for equal opportunities, women's rights and the promotion of integration and intercultural exchange. With her non-profit organization Kulturbrücke Hamburg e. V. she breaks down prejudices against migrants, and with the “International Women in Power” initiative she draws attention to the systematic oppression of girls and women. I would like to thank her explicitly for her impressive commitment and especially for her ten-year membership in the Integration Advisory Board of the Hamburg Senate and I am pleased that Hourvash Pourkian is giving the diversity of our city more visibility with her strong commitment.”


Hourvash Pourkian: “The freedom of a society can be measured by the freedom of women, because the potential of women is indispensable for the success of a society. And that's why we need more women in leadership positions. We need more equal professional opportunities. And we need more networking opportunities for women in business, politics and society. We need more courage to go our own way. This is what I fight for with my work and I would like to encourage all women to do so. And we also need this courage when it comes to integration: The courage to approach one another. Courage for dialogue and courage for understanding. Because strangers are friends we don’t yet know.”


On the life and commitment of Hourvash Pourkian


Hourvash Pourkian was born in Tehran and came to Hamburg in 1975 with her parents and siblings. In 1986 she completed her business administration studies in Hamburg. Three years later she founded her own company, where she produced and sold leisure fashion. In 2001, a second label for tailor-made costumes for business women followed.

In 1998, together with her father, she published the book “Power cheers up tired women.” “Women’s claim to power in the 21st century and why men lose nothing.” In the same year she began volunteering at various organizations and events on the topic of women in business and society.

In 2001, as an equal opportunities consultant, Pourkian was part of the competence team of the later mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust. She was then a permanent member of the Integration Advisory Board of the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for ten years until 2011. With the aim of improving intercultural exchange and promoting dialogue between people of different origins and reducing prejudices, Pourkian founded the non-profit association Kulturbrücke Hamburg e.V. at the end of 2003. She produced 250 television episodes “Kulturbrücke TV” for the city broadcaster TIDE, in which she highlighted the cultural similarities of Hamburg's 180 different nationalities and thus aroused curiosity about the diversity of cultures in the city. The association and its various projects have been honored 20 times so far, for example with the “Selected Place 2008 Germany - Land of Ideas” prize, awarded by the then Federal President Horst Köhler. In addition, the then Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, honored the “Switch” initiative as the Startsocial federal winner. For the 100th International Women's Day, Pourkian founded the IWP International Women in Power initiative in March 2011, and in 2017 she organized a women's and migrants' march - a demonstration that is unique in this form in Germany - at the same time against right-wing populism and against religious fanaticism.


More about the Kulturbrücke Hamburg e. V.:


More about the International Women in Power initiative: