Zarifa Ghafari is an Afghan activist, politician and entrepreneur. In November 2019, she became the mayor of Maidan Shahr, the capital city of the Wardak Province, Afghanistan. She is one of the only female mayors in Afghan history and the youngest – appointed at age 26. As mayor, Zarifa became a role model to women in Afghanistan. She introduced an anti-litter campaign and made a special appeal to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to safeguard women’s rights following the uncertainties posed by the Taliban USA negotiations. In 2020, Zarifa was chosen as an International Woman of Courage by the US Secretary of State.
Hannah Lucinda Smith is the author of Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey (HarperCollins/William Collins 2019) and is The Times correspondent in Turkey, where she has covered conflicts, a coup attempt, and the rise of controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During her time in the region, she has also reported on the Middle East, from inside rebel-held Syria, on the front lines of the battle against Isis in Iraq, and joined the mass movement of migrants on their journey to Europe in 2015. She has also worked for the BBC, contributed to the Atlantic and the Spectator, and has been awarded a Pulitzer grant to write for Wired magazine.