Dalia Ziada, 30 years-old, is an award-winning Egyptian liberal human rights activist, socio-political analyst, public speaker, and Executive Director of the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, one of the oldest and biggest nongovernmental organizations advocating human rights and civil freedoms in Egypt and the Arab World since 1980s. Dalia Ziada holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University in the US.
In recognition of her tireless work for advocating and promoting women rights, civil freedoms, and liberal democracy in the Middle East, she received several international and regional awards. She has been named by Newsweek for two years in a row (2011-2012) as one of world’s most influential and most fearless women, named by CNN as one of Arab World’s eight agents of change (2012), selected by Daily Beast as one of world’s seventeen bravest bloggers (2011), received Tufts University Presidential Award for civil work (2011), received Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Journalist Award (2010), named by Time magazine as women rights champion (2009).
Before joining IKC, Dalia worked for the Washington DC based American Islamic Congress (AIC) for 6 years as the founding director of its Cairo-based Middle East and North Africa Bureau. Her work scope, then, focused on implementing field projects that educates grassroots citizens in the Muslim World about human rights, civil freedoms, nonviolent conflict, and religious tolerance. Before joining AIC, Dalia worked for several local and regional NGOs including: Tharwa Foundation, Softcopy Translation Center for World NGOs, and Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.
After Egypt’s 2011 revolution, Dalia co-founded a political party and ran for parliament. She did not win because of the negative perception of women in the Egyptian society. However, this enhanced her persistence and insistence to improve the status of women in Egypt. She is planning and preparing herself, from now, to run for presidency as soon as she turns 40 in 2022.
Ziada is a public speaker on women rights, freedom of expression, and nonviolent conflict in the Middle East. The list of the venues that hosted Ziada as a speaker include but are not limited to: US Congress, US Senate House, Harvard University, CATO Institute, Al-Akhawyn University in Morocco, American University in Cairo, and several local, regional, and international NGOS.
In June 2009, Ziada was invited to President Obama’s speech in Cairo and after the speech she was invited to a private meeting with White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett to discuss topics related to civil rights, youth, and women rights in the Muslim world.
Dalia launched and ran several initiatives and campaigns including but are not limited to:
- “AB Human Rights Campaign” to educate kids at primary schools and orphanage houses about human rights.
- Fearless Fighters for Faith Freedom (5Fs) campaign to promote religious freedom and tolerance.
- In November 2008, Ziada held the first Cairo Human Rights Film Festival; the first film festival of kind in the history of the Middle East, despite all the hardships and challenges she faced on both security and logistics levels.
- Fahem Haqi campaign to educate Egyptians about voting rights and civil freedoms after the revolution.
- Ziada has been fighting against Female Genital Mutilation and all forms of violence against women since she was eight years old.
Dalia Ziada contributed and translated several articles, studies, and analyses on human rights, women rights, nonviolent conflict, and democratization in the Middle East, including but are not limited to:
- “New Narrative for Muslim Women in the Middle East” (2010, English and Arabic) a guidebook for policy makers in the Middle East and US on how to efficiently push for women rights in the most anti-women region in the world.
- “Egypt, whereto?” (2008 Arabic) documenting the statuesque of Egypt’s civil rights movement and advising on how to proceed with nonviolent plans for change, in an astonishing prediction of Egypt’s 2011 revolution.
- "The Montgomery Story" (2007 Arabic) a translation of 1960s comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. with the purpose to inspire young Middle Eastern activists to adopt nonviolent strategies in their struggle for civil rights. This simple comic book was given credit by the Washington Post and other major international media for helping to inspire the Egyptian nonviolent revolution.
- "Implacable Adversaries: Arab Governments Vs. The Internet" (2006 Arabic and English) a report monitoring the power of Internet medium in confronting the suppression of Arab regimes on young people in the Middle East.
This post was last updated May 6th, 2012