We begin with Esra’a Al Shafei,one of the most prolific digital activists working today. Esra’a, who is based in Bahrain, is the founder of Mideast Youth, an all-volunteer organization that produces slick web sites and content for human rights campaigns across the Middle East. Though only in her early twenties, she has been a TED and Echoing Green fellow and, in 2008, received the Berkman Center for Internet and Society‘s first award for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society”.
Though the Meta-Activism Project focuses on the digital activism idea space, it is important that we always connect our work back to activists on the ground. Esra’a fills this roles excellently. She has experience with a broad range of campaigns from a variety of countries from Egypt and Iran to Israel, defending the rights of religious and ethnic minorities and migrants.
We also like the grassroots nature of Esra’a’s organization which, like most digital activists, relies on inspiring volunteers and innovating solutions more than it does on the largess of donors. Though she is passionately committed to her challenging and sometimes dangerous work (hence no photo), she also has a wonderfully dry sense of humor (hence the cartoon), which makes her an extremely enjoyable partner to work with. We look forward to learning from her experience.