Iranian Writer & Journalist
Roya Hakakian is a writer, journalist and public speaker. Her opinion columns, essays and book reviews appear in English language publications like the New York Times, the Daily Beast/Newsweek, Wall Street Journal and NPR's All Things Considered, among many others. A founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, she has collaborated on over a dozen hours of programming for leading journalism units in network television, including CBS 60 Minutes. She currently serves as an editorial board member of World Affairs. In the book, Political Awakenings by University of California at Berkeley Professor Harry Kreisler, she has been highlighted as being "among the most important activists, academics and journalists of her generation." Read More >
TEDTalk: How to Fight Terrorism In a Court of Law
Assassins of the Turquoise Palace
Interview with Rabbi David Wolpe at the Hammer Museum
On MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Discussing Iran
Book Talk on Assassins of the Turquoise Palace - Foreign Policy Research Institute
Wilson Center NOW – Global Anti-Semitism Rising: What About Iran?
The most open and vehement rhetorical assaults against Israel have been staged by Tehran since the Iranian revolution of 1979. Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earned global notoriety by casting doubt about the Holocaust and promising to wipe Israel off the map of the world. And yet, Iran continues to remain home to a much-diminished yet sizable Jewish community. This talk will focus on how this paradox came into being and why its continuity is detrimental to Iran’s claim for regional hegemony.
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.
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.
At the age of 19, having arrived in the United States as a refugee, Roya Hakakian begins to learn English. Several years later, having been inspired by her encounter with the legendary poet, Allen Ginsburg, she does something that few writers have ever done: She crosses from writing in Persian (in which she had already published two books of poetry), into writing in a whole new language: in English. Since then, she has published countless articles and essays in leading publications, written for radio and television, and taught the art of writing non-fiction.
"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."
"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."