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Mariam Al-Shafei Fellowship on Technology and Human Rights

SMEX launched the inaugural Mariam Al-Shafei Fellowship on Technology and Human Rights in November 2022 to bring new minds and voices to the digital rights field, raise innovative solutions to the many-layered issues that govern the use and access to the internet, and expand research on emerging topics within digital rights in the MENA region. 

We have renamed the fellowship to “Mariam Al-Shafei Fellowship on Technology and Human Rights” to honor the legacy of one of our founding colleagues, Mariam Al-Shafei, who passed away on December 29, 2022. We hope this move pays homage to her contributions and efforts in coordinating this project before her passing and to the remarkable life she had lived. In 2016, Mariam survived a stroke that completely changed her life. At age 28, she was temporarily paralyzed and developed post-stroke Aphasia. Mariam lost the ability to speak, walk, write, and read—and her partial recovery took years of daily struggle and toil. Mariam dedicated much of her life to raising awareness about living with these conditions and used social media to document her healing journey openly and unapologetically. In all her posts, her consistent message to her followers centered on finding true joy in life’s simple

About the Fellowship

The Mariam Al-Shafei Fellowship on Technology and Human Rights is open to early to mid-career candidates based in or with significant ties to West Asia and North Africa. Individuals whose work contributes to advancing civic issues at the intersection of technology and society, including data scientists, sociologists, policy experts, journalists, digital rights activists, economists, artists, and actors from relevant areas, are encouraged to apply. Since projects will heavily rely on research, we invite those currently enrolled in or recently completed postgraduate work to apply for this fellowship.

About Mariam A-Shafei

This fellowship owes its name to our dear friend and colleague, Mariam Al-Shafei, who left this world on December 29, 2022. Mariam’s sudden death occurred just as SMEX was launching this fellowship, and she was part of the team that put it together. Renaming the fellowship in her name is a tribute to Mariam’s memory and contribution to the lives of everyone who knew her and those yet to know her story. Read more about Mariam Al-Shafei’s life and her championing of internet accessibility for people with language impairment.

Some of her writings

Mariam S • 25 Jun 2021

Is the Internet Accessible for People with language impairment?

Can you imagine going on the web to find an ocean of knowledge, but you can’t read any of it?...
Mariam S • 22 Jan 2019

Help us map blocked websites in 2019!

In November 2018, the Lebanese Government issued an order to block all access to the online website building platform, Wix,...
Mariam S • 22 Jul 2015

مايكروسفت بينغ تفرض الحجب على الشرق الأوسط

لم يمض وقت طويل بعد إطلاق محرك البحث مايكروسفت بينغ عام ٢٠٠٩، حتى وجد الباحثون في مركز بيركمان للانترنت والمجتمع...