Iranian American Writer & Journalist
"Roya Hakakian is the most eloquent interpreter of the immigrant experience today." -Lesley Stahl, CBS 60 Minutes
Roya Hakakian is an Iranian-American writer, journalist, and public speaker. Her opinion columns, essays and book reviews appear in leading English language publications including the New York Times, New York Review of Books and The Atlantic. A founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, she has spoken on a variety of news outlets, from CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS to MSNBC, as well as in Washington D.C. for the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the State Department with US Secretary Antony Blinken. Her latest book, A Beginner's Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious has been called a contemporary Tocquevlllian account by The Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe. She is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship among many other prizes and has been called one of "the most important activists, academics and journalists of her generation." Read More >
Writer explains what signaled the ‘point of no return’ in Iran
A Beginner’s Guide to America | C-SPAN2
Viewing the U.S Through the Eyes of An Immigrant | CBS News
Assassins of the Turquoise Palace
Interview with Rabbi David Wolpe at the Hammer Museum
Book Talk on Assassins of the Turquoise Palace - Foreign Policy Research Institute
In light of the women's uprising in Iran, Roya Hakakian offers insights into how the struggle of Iranian women for equal rights ought to be embraced as the new frontier in the cause of feminism around the globe. Drawing upon her experience as a young girl in revolutionary Iran, and now as a journalist and author who writes extensively on women's issues in Iran, Hakakian explores what today's current events in Iran mean for the future of democracy and how it can revive women's solidarity around the world.
Having written extensively about the plight of women in the Middle East with a particular focus on Iran, Roya Hakakian discusses Middle Eastern women’s fight to gain the simplest freedoms that we, in the West, take for granted. She speaks about her own experiences and observations growing up in Iran and witnessing the Iranian Revolution as a teenager, and the evolving political and social dynamics in the Middle East.
In Western democracies, having the choice to wear the hijab is seen as a significant freedom to express religious views. However, in autocracies, hijab turns into the government’s ultimate tool of oppressing women, taking away their right to live, think, speak, and even dress as they please. Roya Hakakian explains these nuances of the hijab discussions to help understand how we, in the West, need to make sense of this issue.
Revolutions are often remembered by those who had a stake in them –fallen royals and rulers, or newly-minted officialdom. In her talk about the historic 1979 revolution that transformed Iran, and subsequently the entire region, Roya Hakakian speaks from the rare perspective of a girl witness.
Especially after the 2016 presidential elections, America has witnessed a rise in the anti-immigrant rhetoric and discussions on who should be or should not be allowed in the country. This, however, was not and will not be the first time that the American immigration cycle has gone through a bad moment. A naturalized citizen herself, Roya Hakakian explains the unique position that America has held throughout the history as a country that offers hope and inspiration to immigrants and refugees from all around the world, and why America should strive to continue this vision of possibility that the founding fathers foresaw.
The Anti-Defamation League’s most recent report, the Global 100 Study released recently, measured public attitudes and opinions toward Jews in over 100 countries. Contrary to the leadership’s vehement anti-Semitic rhetoric and global expectations, the findings about Iran contrasts vastly from the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa. Roya Hakakian explains why Iran is so unique and why the country, 36 years since the rise of its Islamic theocracy, continues to be home to a sizable community of Jews in the Middle East.
13 years after the '79 Iranian revolution, four Iranian Kurdish exiled opposition leaders were assassinated in Berlin, Germany. One of the survivors and another victims’ widow began a crusade pitting them against not only Tehran but against some of the greatest powers in Germany. When an undeterred federal prosecutor, a real life Atticus Finch, took over the trial, a historic verdict followed which shook both Europe and Iran, and achieved something few could have predicted—justice.
"Roya was wonderful! Her presentation was well received by the entire audience. She was delightful with the students and they were so honored to have her as their keynote speaker."
"Thank you so so much Roya - you were just an incredible speaker. Thank you for sharing your story and wisdom with us. I will definitely read your new book!"
"Roya was absolutely lovely. I think everyone really enjoyed her talk. Working with APB has been a wonderful experience; from communication to helping with logistics, APB is a stellar company to work with."
"The event went very well. We were very pleased with all aspects of Roya's visit, and the students and faculty responded to her talk very well. Roya was a very engaging and personable speaker and took time to interact with students one-on-one, which we appreciated."
"Roya was FABULOUS! There was quite the buzz around the club about her presentation and she is so charming and personable. Thanks for your great suggestions."
"Marvelous! Roya was a delight to work with and well received by our students, staff, and faculty. More than 300 individuals attended the lecture and film showing, and 30 students participated in the discussion session after lunch. Overall, it was a great success!"
"Roya was wonderful. A charming, personable, intelligent lady with great stories to tell. Thanks so much for suggesting her to us. The audience really liked her."
"I want to express my deep appreciation to Roya Hakakian for her visit and presentation before our students, faculty, and members of the public at St. Philip’s College. Her film, Armed and Innocent, truly captivated those who saw it. Her insightful reflections on the making of the film and current tragic exploitation of children added tremendously to the occasion.
Even with all of your thousands of lectures, interviews, and presentations you have conducted over the years, I doubt that you previously have had to face the added distraction of poison ivy when addressing an audience. Though you may have been uncomfortable, the audience was enthralled with all aspects of your presentation.
I know my colleagues and I will be delighted to attend any event in which she is speaking."
"Roya is terrific. She is an engaging and powerful speaker and also very warm and personable. She has been a friend and colleague since the 1990s. She has spoken in Austin twice in recent years and gotten rave reviews. As an Iranian Jew, human rights activist, journalist and poet, she is the consummate Renaissance woman with a unique insider/outsider take on the internal and external challenges posed by the Iranian theo/thugocracy. I’m a big fan. She’ll be great in Boca."
“Her compelling account was laced with fervor, wit, and humor. Subsequently, she took questions from the audience, giving them thoughtful consideration but then answering them with stoic candor. Not surprising, the many members of the audience who had stayed for the question and answer session rewarded Roya with a standing ovation. During her many interactions with students, faculty, staff, and members of the community, Roya seemed to suspend time to earnestly, almost reverentially, listen and respond to each query and comment.”
“A wonderful program. Roya managed to keep almost 600 women quiet, listening to every word she had to say.”
“Roya Hakakian’s insight and dialogue with our audience brought an immediate response from the members of the Lancaster Literary Guild. They soon recognized that our guest writer was an insightful first-hand observer who brought the changes in Iran to better clarity.”
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