Category: Georgetown Magazine, Spring 2023

Title:Georgetown student runs nonprofit focused on education and empowerment

Author: Camille Scarborough
Date Published: April 17, 2023

student protesting in front of the washington monument

In 2019, during her first year of college, Bahar Ghandehari (C’23) watched protests across the Middle East and realized she needed to bring people together. “I saw a lack of solidarity within the Middle Eastern community, especially in the diaspora, even though our liberation movements are very interconnected,” she says.

Young people need more space to get involved in human rights advocacy and campaigning.

— Bahar Ghandehari (C’23)

She started a nonprofit called Middle East Matters that has since grown to over 250K followers on Instagram. The organization covers news in English “so that the wider international community can learn about current events,” Ghandehari explains.

Another important aspect is empowering youth activists. “Young people need more space to get involved in human rights advocacy and campaigning,” says Ghandehari. “Today’s youth are more socially and politically aware than ever. We are extremely tech savvy and know how to connect with people across the world. Yet, young people are rarely given a platform or included in the decision-making processes that impact their future.”

Driven by a desire to act as a unifying force, Ghandehari has been running Middle East Matters from her dorm room throughout her time at Georgetown. “It can be difficult to juggle my academics and the nonprofit, especially during crises, but I try to use my courses as a source of information for my advocacy efforts. At the same time, the different people I’ve met through school have brought so many new perspectives and added value to my work.”

What’s next? Ghandehari wants to expand Middle East Matters to work with more local activists and journalists. She also plans to attend law school.

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