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Aryo Winterblack
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California
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Aryo Winterblack
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Aryo Winterblack, the President and founder of Young Americans Club in Austria, is the creator and CEO of Royal Cup. He grew up in Berkeley, California, speaks four languages (English, German, Spanish and Persian) and has lived in several countries in several continents. He happily jokes that he’s the “Chief Excitement Officer,” and gladly cracks up at his own (often unfunny) jokes. Aryo wants to help Iranian— as well as other— immigrants who have escaped despotic, authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships who struggle to assimilate and make friends in a new country, because of the vast cultural differences and barriers that exist. One of the reasons he included this game in Persian—aside from the fact that he speaks the language—is that social gatherings where single men and women are present as well as the consumption of alcoholic beverages are not only illegal in Iran, but also punishable by steep fines and physical injury such as lashing. Through living in many different countries, Aryo experienced first-hand how adjusting to life in a new country can be daunting and difficult. Having been born on International Women’s Day and raised by four women—his three older sisters and his mother—women’s rights and equality are very close to Aryo’s heart. That’s why he has predominantly hired women for this project; five out of the seven people on the team are female. Aryo calls this “balancing.” While traveling the world one day, he got inspired to create this game in order to bring people together and help them break the ice. Our illustrator Sahar Shams—27 and the owner of Shams Studio was born and raised in Iran. She received her Bachelor’s from the University of Tehran and her Master’s from the San Francisco Academy of Art University. She has created Michka, digital apps that empower children, specifically those who have been at the forefront and victims of sexual abuse and violence. Sahar is extremely passionate about Michka and spends almost all of her time trying to raise awareness about issues that affect young children, working with leading psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts to effect meaningful, positive change in the world.

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