A photojournalist who documents the plight of a religious minority in Iraq, an educator who brings science skills to Latin America’s underprivileged, and an advocate for women who uses social media to speak out against sexual assault in South Africa.
They and seven other change makers are visiting the United States, where their work is gaining recognition and where they are networking with experts in hopes of building further success.
The State Department honored the 10 emerging leaders at a May 2 ceremony in Washington. They were cited for promoting peace and creating opportunities for the disadvantaged. They will spend two weeks in the U.S. sharing their stories and learning from experts and each other before returning home.
Tanzil Ferdous, 24, encourages young people to volunteer in their communities to deter them from extremism and to protect Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh from violence.
Diovio Alfath, 23, advocates for the rights of minority groups in Jakarta. He created a guidebook with legal and emergency contacts for religious, ethnic and racial minorities.
Sara Abdullah Abdulrahman, 21, leads a Kirkuk-based volunteer group promoting peaceful coexistence of people from different backgrounds — including returning displaced persons.
Zina Salim Hassan Hamu, 21, after personally witnessing the genocide of Yazidi girls by ISIS, used her photojournalism skills to amplify the plight of Iraq’s Yazidi minority.
Nancy Herz, 21, is a human rights activist who advocates for less restrictive gender roles for women. She co-authored a book, Shameless, on negative social control of girls.
Dania Hassan, 18, established Fun to Learn, which programs extracurricular activities on health, emergency preparedness and other issues in underprivileged schools in Pakistan.
José Rodríguez, 20, is a director of Ayudinga, an educational platform that provides free lessons in math and science and is improving the quality of education throughout Latin America.
Isasiphinkosi Mdingi, 23, is a social-media influencer who uses her platform to speak out against sexual assault, gender-based violence and the victimization of women and girls.
Firuz Yogbekov, 21, volunteers for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and, using debating skills, raises subjects such as violent extremism and domestic violence.
Ece Çiftçi, 24, founded the SosyalBen Academy in Istanbul, which has helped train more than 60,000 young people in eastern Turkey in social responsibility.