Fatima Bunafoor
Year
2019
Chapter

Fatima Bunafoor was born in Bahrain and moved to the U.S. in 2010 to attend the ear East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa Undergraduate Exchange Program (NESA UGRAD). In 2011, the Arab Spring movement spread to Bahrain. Shortly after, Fatima applied for political asylum in the U.S. due to her history of documenting human rights violations by the Bahraini regime and advocacy work to support organizers on the ground in Bahrain. This experience shifted her focus from international law and politics to local organizing. She spent the following year lobbying on Capitol Hill to support U.S. pressure on the Bahraini regime and promote the rights of human rights defenders in the country.

In 2015, after completing her BA in International Studies at Juniata College, Fatima moved to Pittsburgh to join the CORO Fellowship in Public Affairs where she worked on several consulting projects that focused on youth engagement, community development, social justice and advocacy. After CORO, she worked on two political organizing campaigns that focused on economic justice and civic engagement. Fatima is focused on furthering equity and inclusion and her work in Pittsburgh has driven her to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy and Management Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy where she focused on furthering inclusion and challenged institutional racism. As a Pittsburgh-transplant, Fatima is focused on promoting the well-being of the most vulnerable members of the Pittsburgh community. After completing her Masters in 2018, Fatima is focused on entering the workforce and dedicating her career to support equity for underrepresented and marginalized groups in the Pittsburgh region.

Fatima also serves as a Board Member of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh’s social justice center that is focused on coalition-building ensuring dignity of all human beings. As a Board Member, she is focused on creating spaces to engage in dialogue and improve the internal culture to promote a welcoming environment for social justice advocates from different communities and identities. Fatima firmly believes that organizations need to aspire to transcend social norms and aim to apply their values internally and externally.