Esra’a Al Shafei


Esra’a Al Shafei is a Bahraini human rights activist, an outspoken defender of free speech, and founder of, a network of digital platforms that amplify under-reported and marginalized voices.

A native of Bahrain, Esra’a works avidly to increase and protect free speech, promote expression for youth and underrepresented voices, and improve the lives of LGBTQ people in the Middle East and North Af

Esra’a is a recipient of the “Most Courageous Media” Prize from Free Press Unlimited, and the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity. She is also a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. Previously, she was a Senior TED Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. In 2017, she was elected to the Board of Trustees at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia.

Esra’a received the Vital Voices Global Trailblazer Award and is an active member of its Global Leadership Network.

Authored Content

  • Sep 16 2020
    Beijing+25: Accelerating Progress for Women and Girls The Great Equalizer or Divider: Technology for Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment As the third episode in the #RFBreakthrough series, “The Great Equalizer or Divider: Technology for Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment”, The Rockefeller Foundation hosted a livestream discussion with Vital Voices on how we can use technology as a means to an end to achieve gender equity during the pandemic and beyond. The Covid-19 pandemic has […]