Crystal Bayat,

MY STORY

UNSTABLE BEGINNINGS

I was born in war torn Kabul in 1997.  Among clouds of smoke and rounds of ammunition I started my life with uncertainty. My family was part of an ethnic minority group unrecognized by the national government. My mother was a hard-working doctor but told to go home. These were dark days, but change was coming.

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EDUCATION FOR GIRLS

The newly restored public education for girls was an exciting time for me. I worked diligently throughout my school years to become a top-ranking student and earned several international scholarships, including the ICCR to study political science in India and international studies at the United Nations Institute. Recently I received a full-ride scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University to finally achieve my dream of completing a master's degree in public policy and management. 

HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY

I struggled for 5 years to get a bill passed that improved the economic and social rights of minority groups throughout my country. In 2020, I created the Justice and Equality Trend, a political think tank, a charity foundation, and a logistics company. In August 2021, I came under fire while leading a peaceful protest march and was targeted and threatened for supporting women's rights. Today I continue to work as a freelance writer in national human rights journals and speak out for the silenced women of Afghanistan.

RECOGNITION

I was honored to receive the Rumi Award for most influential Afghan woman writer and in 2021, was recognized in the BBC's top 100 influential women around the world. The New York Times and other global media outlets have helped me to give voice to Afghan women and girls who want nothing more than freedom to hope for a better day.

" I want to show that we women will not give up so easily the rights that we fought for. "

-Bayat