Salmah Y. Rizvi-2014 Recipient

Salmah 150x150

Major: Law
Degree: J.D.
School: New York University School of Law
Sponsor: CAIR


Raised as a Shia Muslim, Salmah was motivated to fight inequality from an early age. In high school, she served as the youngest ever Student Human Rights Commissioner in Howard County. As a sophomore at the Johns Hopkins University, she founded the relief organization Vision XChange (V|X) which raised money through creative events to combat injustices such as child soldier recruitment. While obtaining an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, she volunteered at the Emancipation Network in Kolkata to help survivors of human trafficking.

Salmah also worked fulltime for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense as a lead linguist and analyst, mastering multiple foreign languages including Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi and gaining expertise in international security and diplomacy. Her high-value work would often inform the President’s Daily Briefs. At the Department, she also spearheaded educational initiatives to progress reporting on the Muslim world. Salmah was appointed the first Chairwoman of the Department’s Islamic Cultural Employee Resource Group, leading ninety-two individuals to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to highlight Muslims as assets, rather than threats, to American national security.

Following these leadership experiences, Salmah decided that legal training would help her advocate for the issues closest to her heart. She is currently pursuing a JD at the New York University School of Law and hopes ultimately to combine her legal, security and nonprofit experience into a role as an effective civic leader. This summer, she is working for Al-Haq as a Center for Human Rights and Global Justice Fellow, writing legal briefs and advocating for Palestinian freedoms and human rights.

Salmah graduated in 2016 and is she a legal intern at the United States Attorney’s Office -Southern District of New York.


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