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 CrowdVoice.org. Al-Shafei is a senior TED Fellow,an Echoing Green fellow, and has been referred to by CNN reporter George Webster as “An outspoken defender of free speech”. She has been featured in FastCompany as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.”In 2011, The Daily Beast listed Al-Shafei as one of the 17 bravest bloggers worldwide. She is also a promoter of music as a means of social change, and founded Mideast Tunes, which is currently the largest platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa.
Al-Shafei is a recipient of the Berkman Award for Internet Innovation from Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2008 for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society.” In 2012, she received a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship for her work on the open source platform CrowdVoice.org. She is also the recipient of the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity. In 2014, she was featured in Forbes‘ “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. The World Economic Forum listed her as one of “15 Women Changing the World in 2015.”