Mouhanad Al Rifay
AM Candidate in Regional Studies—Middle East
Mouhanad Al Rifay, is a Syrian-American award-winning documentary filmmaker, humanitarian and human rights activist. At Harvard's CMES he will focus on journalism and narrative writing, and further develop expertise in Middle-East-focused critical political and cultural commentary. After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology, International Development and Conflict Management, Al Rifay managed various USAID-funded programs at leading international development organizations in Washington, D.C. He also co-founded the Syrian-American Network for Aid and Development, SANAD, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the education of Syrian children. In 2018, Al Rifay released his first short documentary, Tomorrow's Children, that exposes the suffering of six Syrian refugee children forced into child labor. Tomorrow's Children won the Impact Award at the 2018 San Francisco International Festival of Short Films, and is now available on Amazon Prime. Al Rifay also helped produce a weekly Arabic-speaking political program that interviewed U.S. policymakers, and published many articles in leading publications like the Huffington Post and Lebanese Daily Star. He has been involved in the Syrian democracy movement years before the uprising, disseminating information about human rights violations to Western media, and was featured in many media outlets including The Washington Post, Lawfare, NPR, AJ+, Al Jazeera Arabic, and Harvard Gazette. Al Rifay was a political asylee and received U.S. citizenship in 2015.