Amplifying the Voices of Unaccompanied Minors Virtual Conference

Sponsored by:

Amplifying the Voices of Unaccompanied Minors Virtual Conference

When & Where:

July 21, 2021

10:00 am – 1:00 pm CDT

Zoom Conference

What it is:

Amplyfiying the Voices of Unaccompanied Minors is an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to hear from those who have lived the experience as an unaccompanied minor in the American school system. 

Featured Speakers


Ari Honarvar grew up in Shiraz, Iran where she was surrounded by Persian poetry and art. Growing up during the Iran-Iraq war, she came to the U.S at the age of 14. She has taken her love of poetry and music to work with refugee families and unaccompanied minors founding Rumi With A View to bridge art and healing. Ari is a journalist, author, and Iranian Musical Ambassador of Peace.


Dr. Jose Luis Zelaya grew up in San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Jose went to work at a young age to help support his family. After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, his mom and sister fled leaving Jose by himself. After living on the streets he decided to make the journey North. Arriving in the U.S. alone, Jose was reunited with his family and enrolled in 7th Grade. He was encouraged by his 7th grade science teacher, Mrs.  Wright, to continue his schooling. Jose did so until he graduated with a PhD in Urban Education from Texas A&M University. He continues to support his community and students through his work with Dr. Zelaya Educational Consulting LLC.


Emily Francis was born and raised in Guatemala. As the oldest sibling, she was often the caretaker for her younger sisters and brother. After a two month journey to the U.S. with just her siblings and a coyote she was reunited with her mother. At 15 she enrolled in a U.S. high school, where her love of learning and lack of English came to a head. Emily has continuously used her struggles in the U.S. school system as opportunities to pivot and continue moving forward. After earning her Master’s in Teaching ESL, Emily achieved her dream of becoming a teacher!