Masih Alinejad to Receive Prestigious Scholar-Statesman Award
Iranian-American journalist and women's rights activist honored for her work on human rights in Iran
Washington, D.C. - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy will present its prestigious Scholar-Statesman Award to Iranian journalist and political activist Masih Alinejad for her tireless promotion of women’s rights, freedom and democracy in her native country. The Institute will honor Alinejad at its Scholar-Statesman Award gala in New York City on November 17.
“As a journalist, she confronted the mullahs inside Iran; as a feminist, she led a movement that inspired thousands of women to throw off the chador veil and reclaim their identity; as a tireless campaigner for her people, she energized ordinary Iranians to commit acts of defiance, great and small, in the name of liberty,” said Institute Executive Director Robert Satloff. “And for her efforts, Iranian spies tracked her down in Brooklyn and tried to kidnap her, a plot thankfully foiled by U.S. law enforcement. Clearly, she has the leaders of the Islamic Republic running scared – and for that alone and so much more, The Washington Institute is proud to honor her with our 2022 Scholar-Statesman Award.”
Alinejad was born and raised in a small village in Iran, and was politically active from a young age. She began her career as a journalist within the country, writing critically of the regime for various Iranian newspapers. She fled Iran in 2009 and in 2014 launched My Stealthy Freedom, a Facebook page that invites Iranian women to post pictures of themselves without a chador. During this time, she also started White Wednesdays, where women throughout Iran wear white to peacefully protest the compulsory garment. Since 2014, her campaign has garnered over one million likes on Facebook.
Currently, Alinejad hosts a program on Voice of America Persian and continues her activism from New York via social media. Alinejad is the author of multiple books, including her memoir, The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran, published in 2018. Despite the Iranian government’s multiple attempts on her life to silence her, Alinejad continues to speak out for freedom and liberty for all Iranians, women and men.
The Institute’s Scholar-Statesman Award celebrates outstanding leaders, who, through their public service and professional achievements, exemplify the idea that sound scholarship and a discerning knowledge of history are essential to wise and effective policy and the advancement of peace and security in the Middle East. Previous recipients include UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and George Shultz, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
This year’s Scholar-Statesman Award gala will also pay tribute to Institute Trustees Ruth and Sid Lapidus. “The Lapiduses quietly model the philanthropy that enables The Washington Institute to project a strong, independent voice on American Middle East policy,” says Executive Director Satloff.
Media Contact: Anna Brown, 202-230-9550, email.
About The Washington Institute: The Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution funded exclusively by U.S. citizens that seeks to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them. Drawing on the research of its fellows and the experience of its policy practitioners, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.