Praise for Roya as a Speaker

“Roya’s talk was one of the best we’ve had in our series, both in terms of content and the audience’s responses. Roya is gracious and funny, but also intellectually challenging.” – Noga Wizansky, West European Studies at UC Berkeley

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. – Jay L. Rubin, Chief Executive Officer Jewish Federation of Greater Austin

Roya is beyond words with her ability to captivate a crowd. I was amazed by how engaged my high school students were by her stories. She is inspiring, witty, and funny. I was most amazed by the way she took a genuine interest in the stories of my students; she made her lectures and workshops relevant based upon listening to them. Roya Hakakian is among the greatest orators of our time. I would recommend her to anyone who desires to be moved. She will inspire fundamental change for the better in anyone she encounters. – Erick Meyer, English teacher @ Poplar High School, Poplar, MT

“My students were captivated by Roya’s keynote address during the convocation ceremony. Reflecting on it afterward, they were astonished not just by the way it brought a distant people to life for them, but how Roya helped illuminate the things we shared in common.” – David Chirico, Broome Community College, Binghampton, NYC

“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.” – Dean Mary Dickson, SUNY Broome, New York, NY

“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. Overall, it was a great success!” – Dr. Burton Crow, St. Phillips College, San Antonio, Texas

“I had the privilege of teaching Roya Hakakian’s book Journey from the Land of No to my Modern World History students, which is taken by sophomores at our school as part of our study of Iran, the Iranian Revolution, and the role of religion in modern societies. Our students’ understanding of the world and Iran was greatly enriched by the exquisite and deep exploration of Roya’s youth in Iran. The treatment of a childhood so uniquely Iranian while simultaneously so universal captured their imagination and sparked some of the most meaningful classroom discussions I have had as a teacher. As much as we loved the book, neither my students nor myself was prepared for the presentation and discussion Roya personally led at our school as the culminating activity to our study of Journey. Her thoughtful, articulate overview of her book and the respect she gave to our student’s questions and reflections validated them not only as learners but as young people with something important to share in the world, which should come as no surprise as that was indeed one of the recurring themes in Journey. In a year where we studies numerous world cultures through a variety of means, the overwhelming majority of my students believed that Roya’s memoir and visit was the highlight of their entire Sophomore year. We at Fairfield Warde will continue to use her memoir with our students and hope to have her return again to share her experiences.” – Charles Flynn, Fairfield Warde High School, Fairfield, CT

“A wonderful program. Roya managed to keep almost 600 women quiet, listening to every word she had to say.” – Irene Mahr, Town Hall of Morris, Morris County, NJ

“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.” – Elizabeth Hurley, Lancasater Literary Guild

“Roya Hakakian tells a unique and powerful personal story that illuminates a larger reality; and does so magnificently. On our campus she made three separate talks in 24 hours: one focused on international women’s issues, one on the Iranian Jewish experience, and a reading with an emphasis on memoir writing and the creative process. In each she spoke to a diverse audience and held all entranced. She is thoughtful, gracious and unflappable; a fresh, authentic voice with something significant to tell us all. Roya gets my highest recommendation.” – Marla Baker, Executive Director William & Mildred Levine Hillel Center University of Illinois at Chicago

“Roya was fabulous. I think our best event yet. She is lyrical, beautiful, warm and articulate.” – Elaine von Blohn, Marin Prologue Society NT Marin County

“I would like to offer my extreme gratitude for helping to bring Roya Hakakian to our campus. She is a wonderfully engaging speaker, a great intellect, and a warm and sincere person. I could not have imagined a better speaker for our campus and an easier person to work with. Prior to her visit, all of our first year students read her memoir “Journey from the Land of No” as their summer reading. Her book and her visit did an exceptional job of expanding our students’ horizons, helping them to better understand the Iranian revolution and the dangers of religious fundamentalism. Roya discusses issues of global concern from a perspective and in a voice that is accessible to all. Her lecture was a great adjunct to her book, but was equally engaging for those who were not familiar with her work. I was so pleased to see the students lined up to have their book signed and their pictures taken with her after her talk. In addition to giving her lecture, Roya was very accommodating to our college and the students by meeting with classes and graciously mixing with students at a dinner we arranged in her honor. In reflecting on the evening in their journals, students remarked that it was a night they would long remember. I too was personally touched by her visit, and I look forward to when we can have her here again.” – Vincent H. Melomo, Ph.D. Director of the Adventures Program, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, William Peace University, Raleigh, NC

“Our luncheon was a tremendous success and her participation was instrumental in making that happen.” – Nina Weiner, International Sephardic Education Foundation