Ethan Zuckerman and Esra'a Al Shafei

December 6, 2016


MIT Media Lab, E14-633


Join us for a conversation with human rights activist Esra'a Al Shafei and Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the MIT Media Lab Center for Civic Media, as they talk about activism in the Middle East, some of the civic tech initiatives coming out of the region, how they expand beyond just government transparency projects (music, LGBT applications, etc.), and the relevance of fostering homegrown initiatives vs. adopting external influences.


Esra'a Al Shafei is a Bahraini human rights activist and founder of Majal.org, an organization which develops platforms that amplify underrepresented voices. Together with her team, they build web products that creatively facilitate the struggle for social justice in the region, including platforms such as: CrowdVoice.org, an open source tool that curates and contextualizes data on social movements, Mideast Tunes, the largest platform for regional underground musicians who use music as a tool for advocacy, and Ahwaa.org, a bilingual tool for LGBTQ youth in the Middle East that leverages game mechanics to facilitate high-quality interactions. Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and associate professor of the practice in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W. W. Norton, 2013).

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