Esra'a Al Shafei

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Esra'a Al Shafei
Born (1986-07-23) July 23, 1986 (age 31)
Nationality Bahraini
Organization Majal
Website Official website

Esra'a Al Shafei is a Bahraini civil rights activist, blogger, and the founder and executive director of Mideast Youth and its related projects, including[1] Al Shafei is a senior TED Fellow,[2] an Echoing Green fellow,[3] and has been referred to by CNN reporter George Webster as "An outspoken defender of free speech".[4] She has been featured in Fast Company as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business."[5] In 2011, The Daily Beast listed Al Shafei as one of the 17 bravest bloggers worldwide.[6] She is also a promoter of music as a means of social change,[4] and founded Mideast Tunes, which is currently the largest platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa.[7]

Al Shafei is a recipient of the Berkman Award for Internet Innovation from Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2008 for "outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society."[8] In 2012, she received a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship for her work on the open source platform[9] She is also the recipient of the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity.[10] In 2014, she was featured in Forbes' "30 Under 30" list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world.[11] The World Economic Forum listed her as one of "15 Women Changing the World in 2015."[12] That same year, she won the "Most Courageous Media" Prize[13] from Free Press Unlimited. Al Shafei was selected as a 2017 Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab.[14]


Esra'a Al Shafei, according to her own account, recalls witnessing inhumane treatment of migrant workers as a child. This, along with stereotypical media portrayals of middle eastern youth, prompted her to found the Mideast Youth network.[15] Over time, the network expanded to include other civil rights issues within the Middle East, and branched out to create a diverse range of platforms with a global reach.

We want our humanity and our futures in our own hands and we use the internet and other forms of technology to fight for those rights.

— Esra'a Al Shafei[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archiving the world, one protest at a time". Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "TED fellows directory". TEDGlobal 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Echoing Green fellows directory". Echoing Green 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b George Webster (March 12, 2010). "YouTube gives Bahraini youth window to world". CNN. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "the 100 most creative people in business in 2011". 
  6. ^ "World's Bravest Bloggers". 
  7. ^ Chalfoun, Romeo. "Mideast Tunes Hosts 1300 Underground Bands from the MENA". ArabNet. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Berkman Award for Internet Innovation for Mideast Youth in 2008.
  9. ^ Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship.
  10. ^ Andy Plesser (November 11, 2011). "Bahraini Blogger Wins Monaco Media Prize". Business Insider. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  11. ^ William White (January 7, 2014). "Who Topped the Forbes 30 Under 30 List?". InvestorPlace. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Parker, Ceri. "15 Women Changing the World in 2015". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Free Press Unlimited. "Bahraini journalist Esra'a Al Shafei wins' Most Courageous Media Award 2015". 
  14. ^ MIT Media Lab (30 May 2017). "Media Lab announces 2017 Director’s Fellows". 
  15. ^ a b Simon Columbus (July 19, 2009). "Interview with Esra’a Al Shafei on freedom of expression in the Middle East". Gulli. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]