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civil & human rights activist | interfaith​ advocate | blogger

zainab chaudry

Zainab Chaudry is Spokeswoman and Maryland Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, America's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. She is the first known Muslim to be appointed to the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights - an independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress in 1957 that is charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters. She is a Fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and the Maryland Public Policy Conflict Resolution Fellows Program at the University Of Maryland Carey School Of Law. 

She was a 'Nominated Changemaker' at the White House Summit on the United State of Women, and has been recognized by the Baltimore Sun as '25 Women to Watch.' She was invited by the White House to attend President Barack Obama's first U.S. mosque visit at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. She has been appointed as 'Ambassador for Peace' by a UN Partner Organization, and has been featured by ABC News as a 'Female Leader.' She has been recognized by the Baltimore City State's Attorney's office for supporting underprivileged communities. 

In 2023, Zainab coordinated the #PowerUp2023 Young Muslims Executive Leadership Tour, featuring a tour of the White House and executive level meetings for young Muslim leaders in Maryland nominated and selected during a competitive process to participate in the program. In 2022, Zainab was recognized with a Trailblazer Award by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, and presented a medal by the National Security Agency for leading a cultural sensitivity training on Islam and Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Zainab serves on the Baltimore County's Women's Commission and the Maryland Attorney General's Hate Crimes Prevention Commission. Zainab has served on the Howard County Racial Equity Taskforce, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott's transition team. She has served on various Advisory Boards including the Interfaith Action for Human Rights and Tarbiyah Academy, a Muslim leadership school that is the first International Baccalaureate Islamic primary school in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia region. She has served on the task force of the Bilal Initiative, which was launched to expand conversations within American Muslim communities on building a multiracial, multigenerational, and women-friendly society. 

Zainab was presented with a Community Service Award by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and the United Maryland Muslim Council in 2018. She joined the Mayor of Baltimore, members of Congress, and other dignitaries to speak at the Baltimore Women’s March 2018 before thousands gathered at Baltimore City Hall. Zainab has been nominated for the El-Hibri Foundation Peace Awards.

In 2018, Zainab co-founded and served as a steering committee member of United for Muslim Mental Advocacy and Health (UMMAH) - an initiative launched in partnership with Maryland area activists and mental health experts to address the mental health crisis within the state's Muslim communities. Zainab has extensively been involved in interfaith initiatives and youth leadership programs. She has been recognized by the Governor of Maryland for organizing the state's first Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium.​ 

She is a recipient of the Governor's Service Award for her work in interfaith communities across Maryland, and regularly comments on social justice and women's rights issues as well as the American Muslim perspective on national and global affairs. She has been recognized as a 'Community Quarterback' for the National Football League's Baltimore Ravens team. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her activism and public service.  She has completed emergency preparedness training from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security/FEMA, and was recognized for her community work with an Honorable Mention in FEMA's 'Individual and Community Preparedness' awards.

In partnership with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the Governor's Office on Community Initiatives, she coordinated Maryland's first statewide emergency preparedness summit for interfaith leaders featuring experts from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal, state, and local agencies. 

In November 2017, Zainab presented two TEDx talks. At TEDxMtHebronWomen, she presented on the idea of crafting social currency for social change. Later, she presented at TEDxUniversityofBaltimore on the role of media and activism in dispelling stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. 

She has appeared or been quoted extensively in international and national media outlets including TIME, MSNBC, Huffington Post, PolicyMic, The Guardian, New York Times, Mediate, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Reuters, CCTV, AP, VICE, and others.  Prior to switching career tracks to nonprofit work and activism, Zainab earned her Doctorate in Pharmacy at a U.S. top-ten ranked pharmacy school,.

Zainab avidly follows U.S. and international politics. She passionately champions women's rights and correcting misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. She also enjoys comedy, reading, traveling, debate and football. ​She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland.