When I was putting together the list of scholarship winners for SXSW Interactive 2014, one winner's black and white cartoon face jumped off the screen right away. You can't help but notice Esra'a Al Shafei, both for the whimsical images that represent her online and for the amazing body of work she has achieved in a very short amount of time.
Al Shafei is the Bahraini founder and Director of MideastYouth.com, an organization that aims to amplify diverse and progressive voices advocating for change throughout the Middle East and North Africa using digital media. She is also the founder of CrowdVoice.org, an open source service that tracks voices of protest from around the world by crowdsourcing information. in 2010, Al Shafei founded Mideastunes.com, a platform for underground musicians in the Middle East who are using music as a tool for social change. As if those amazing achievements weren't enough, in 2011, she founded Ahwaa.org, a bilingual tool for LGBTQ youth in the Middle East that leverages game mechanics to facilitate high-quality interactions.
She 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," and is currently a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. She has also been featured in Fast Company as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business." Most recently, she was awarded the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity.
Want to find out more about who will be at SXSW Interactive in March 2014? The bulk of content for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival will be released on Monday, October 14 – just one week from today. Stay tuned to this website for complete details.
To read other SXSW blog posts by Tammy Lynn Gilmore, click here