Marvi Sirmed

Shrinking Civic Space: Exploring Trends in South Asia

Ms. Marvi Sirmed is a democracy and peace advocate, human rights defender, and journalist who has dedicated her twenty-five year career to the strengthening of democracy and progressive values such as freedom, justice, peace, equality, protection of human rights, and rule of law in Pakistan. She is the founding president of Ideas Hub, an innovative model of social entrepreneurship aimed at supporting democrats and survivors of terrorism, as well as strengthening democratic institutions. A member of the executive council of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, she also serves as board chair of Bytes for All, a digital rights organization. In recognition of her service to democracy, the government of Pakistan conferred upon her the National Human Rights Award in 2010, while the Speaker of the House awarded her the Friend of the Parliament Award in 2012. During her fellowship, Ms. Sirmed plans to explore the drivers of shrinking civic space in South Asia. She is also considering ways in which local actors and other stakeholders can work together to strengthen freedom of expression and association in the region.