Mideast Youth

Mideast Youth

Esra’a Al Shafei is the founder and Executive Director of MideastYouth.com, a grassroots, indigenous digital network that leverages the power of new media to facilitate the struggle against oppression in the Middle East and North Africa.  She is driven by her passion for civil engagement, freedom of speech, and employing innovative solutions to pervasive and persistent human problems. Her advocacy on the internet bridges seemingly impenetrable barriers of faith and geography to unite young people committed to fostering constructive discourse in the Middle East.

Esra’a is a recipient of the Berkman Award from Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society.”  She is currently a Senior TED Fellow (despite being all of 24 years old) and an Echoing Green Fellow.  Recently, one of her projects, CrowdVoice.org, a global aggregator of content on protests, was called out by Inc. Magazine as “One of the 5 Start-Ups Bubbling Up at TED”. Esra’a has also been recently featured in Time Magazine, CNN, the New York Times, the Guardian and is one of Fast Company’s nominees for this year’s Google journalism prize.  Most recently, Esra’a was named as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2010.

Some of her most recent projects include an interactive platform for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender community in the Middle East.  Additionally, she recently created Mideast Tunes, dedicated to providing a platform for emerging musicians in the Middle East and March 18 Movement in order to honor Omid Reza Mirsayafi, who on that date became the first blogger to die in prison.  The March 18 Movement won a Think Social Award for serving as a “powerful mode for how social media can be used to address global problems.”

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