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Esra'a Al Shafei

Esra’a Al Shafei is the founder and executive director of, a network of digital platforms that amplify under-reported and marginalized voices. She is a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and serves on the board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Previously, she was a Senior TED Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. Esra’a is the recipient of the “Berkman Award” from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society over the last decade”, the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity, and the “Most Courageous Media” award from Free Press Unlimited. In 2014, she received the Human Rights Tulip Prize, awarded annually by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organizations or individuals that support human rights in innovative ways. She is the 2018 recipient of the Global Trailblazer Award from Vital Voices.

Posts by Esra'a Al Shafei

Lowering the Barrier of Entry to Civil Society Organizations

To be more effective, foundations should challenge the norms of philanthropy that have disenfranchised organizations based on size and age.

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Ensuring Funder Support for Digital Infrastructure

Bahrain-based Esra’a Al Shafei has gone to great lengths to preserve the basic infrastructure that would keep digital civil society secure. Are funders listening?

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The Future of Digital Civil Society Depends on Basic Infrastructure

We celebrate the independence that open source affords but are we willing to support the creations it brings about?

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