Wilson Center Experts

Roya Hakakian

Middle East Program

Expertise:
History
;
Human Rights
;
Society and Culture
;
Middle East and North Africa
;
Iran
Affiliation:
Poet, journalist, and writer; author of Assassins of the Turquoise Palace
Wilson Center Project(s):
"A Study of Contemporary Iranian Jewish Life"
Term:
Sep 10, 2014
-
Jun 10, 2015

Writer and journalist, Roya Hakakian works in film and print. Her reportage has been featured on network television, including cbs 60 minutes. Her opinions and essays appear in time, the New York Times, and the NPR’s weekend edition among others. She also serves on the editorial board of World Affairs. Her poetry in Persian has been translated and appear in anthologies, including the Pen anthology of contemporary Iranian literature. Her memoir, Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran was among the Publisher Weekly's best books and Elle Magazine's Best Nonfiction in 2004. She’s the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction for her recent book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace. It was a 2011 Kirkus Review’s Best and New York Times Notable Book . She’s a founding member of Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, and has been a fellow at Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center.

Project Summary

My goal is to recover an essential chapter in the history of the Jewish experience and that of the ongoing Judeo-Muslim coexistence in Iran. Initially, the work will primarily focus on recording the testimonies of Iranian Jews who have witnessed and experienced the transitions from Pahlavi rule and finally the transformations heralded by the Islamic Revolution. My hope is to preserve the veracity of the historical record and the multiplicity of the Jewish experience as well as to create a resource to facilitate informed debate. The ultimate collection will stand at the nexus of several ongoing political and historical discussions: the state of minorities and human rights in Iran today and the changing face of Jewish existence in the region, and the gaps in US perspective on these subjects. Upon completion, the project will curate and commemorate the past to shed light on the present debate on religious coexistence.

Major Publications

Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

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