My Ted talk  go.ted.com/mariamveiszadeh 

Mariam Veiszadeh is an award winning human rights champion, lawyer, diversity & inclusion practitioner, contributing author and social commentator.

In 2021,  Mariam was appointed CEO of Media Diversity Australia. She has also founded the Islamophobia Register Australia, and has held multiple board positions including formerly as Co-Chair of Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights and Our Watch.

Mariam has worked as radio commentator for the ABC radio and as a columnist for Fairfax media.

Mariam’s roles have included:

  • Founder & Chair Islamophobia Register Australia
  • CEO Media Diversity Australia
  • Executive member Afghan Australian Advocacy Network #ActionForAfghanistan
  • Multicultural Advisory Group Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Expert Advisory Group Workplace Cultural Diversity Tool Australian Human Rights Commission 
  • Advisory Committee Welcoming Australia 
  • Former Co-Chair Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights 
  • Former Membership & Advisory Director Diversity Council Australia
  • Former Board Director Our Watch 

Mariam has also delivered a TEDxSydney speech and featured as an Anti-Racism Champion by the Australian Human Rights Commission. 

With many accolades to her name including Fairfax Daily Life 2016 Woman of the year, she’s renowned for influencing positive change both in the workplace and in society more broadly and her influence is felt in the many initiatives she promotes across her social media platforms in which she collectively has over 50,000 + followers.

In 2016, Mariam addressed an audience of approximately 4000+ in her TEDx Sydney talk (which has been featured on Ted.com reaching over 150,000 viewers) to shed light on the issue of societal privilege and how it creates an unequal playing field for diverse minority groups. She successfully mounted the case for why cultural diversity targets are required to help create more of a meritocracy and stamp out racism and discrimination in the corporate sector.

She has been described as a woman who uses her “considerable wit and smarts to punch holes in the stupidity of racism, sexism and xenophobia in general” and someone who has “courage, tenacity and perseverance without the protection and resources afforded by public office.”

As a fearless advocate, Mariam is accustomed to being both an advocate against and a victim of xenophobia.  In 2015, she made global headlines as she endured months of cyber-bullying for simply speaking out against bigotry. Australians responded by rallying behind Mariam using the hashtag #IstandwithMariam.

Mariam was born in Afghanistan and came to Australia in 1990 with her family as a refugee and has long been a vocal champion of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. When Kabul fell in August last year, Mariam was at the forefront of advocating for Australia to increase its humanitarian intake.

Mariam has many accolades to her name which include the following:

    • Ted speaker 2023 go.ted.com/mariamveiszadeh
    • Professional Excellence Award Winner Western Syd Uni Alumni Awards 2022
    • Finalist Emerging NFP Leader Womens Agenda Awards 2022
    • Impact 25 Pro Bono Australia Awards Finalist 2022
    • Welcoming Australia Life Member Award 2021
    • Australia Post Inspiring Australians Series 2021
    • Distinguished Service Award Our Watch Board 2020
    • Finalist Human Rights Awards Australian Human Rights Commission 2018
    • Community Champion Finalist Western Sydney Uni Alumni Awards 2017
    • Woman of the Year Fairfax Daily Life 2016
    • TedXSydney Speaker Alumni 2016
    • Woman of Influence Westpac Group 2015
    • 12 Women Changing the World Change Maker Elle Magazine Malaysia 2015
    • Woman of the Year Australian Muslim Achievement Awards 2015
    • Role Model of the Year Australian Muslim Achievement Awards 2015
    • Woman of the Year Finalist Daily Life Fairfax 2015
    • Get Up International Women’s Day Honours 2015

Through her various ambassador roles, including as an ambassador for Welcome to Australia which provides a positive voice in the public conversation around asylum seekers and refugees, and her social media platforms, Mariam advocates for equal opportunity and inclusion for all people within our society.


<Why I no longer wear hijab? –> read my post here >


My story of my journey to Australia on Welcome to Australia:

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan during the Soviet War in 1984.

I, like every other human being living on this earth, didn’t exercise any choice in where, or the circumstances in which I would be born.

Due to the Soviet war my family had to flee Afghanistan in 1988.

Our journey took us from Kabul to India, to the Czech Republic, followed by Germany and then finally we were granted asylum in Australia in 1991 under the Refugee and Special Humanitarian program.

I was enrolled in school both in India and Germany, each time making new friends and learning a completely new language.

Upon arrival in Australia I was immediately enrolled into English as Second Language (ESL) classes.

Now when I reflect on my humble beginnings, it is still unbelievable to think that I arrived in Australia as a shy 7 year old who couldn’t speak a word of English.

I will be forever grateful to Australia for the educational opportunities I have been given and for allowing my family and I, to call Australia our ‘home’.

I am often saddened though by the conduct of some of our politicians and media personalities who seem to be peddling peoples’ prejudices rather than challenging them.

Multiculturalism is here to stay and not just in the form of Chinese dumplings and Turkish kebabs so let’s all work towards ensuring that the Australia that we all call home, doesn’t just seek to tolerate diversity, but rather, celebrates it.

Mariam Veiszadeh, Lawyer and Muslim Community Advocate

Originally published on Welcome to Australia website


Thank you Jenna Price for writing this wonderful piece about me.

Freedom of Religion is a really great thing Jenna Price 18 Sept 2012

Photo credit: Sammer Affridi Hero Shot Photography

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Mariam,
    I don’t know if you ever read these blogs but I was so inspired by your article post Sydney seige. Often it is adversity which brings us together and we are all Australians no matter the colour, race, or creed. The Muslims that I have met in Australia, are compassionate, loving and friendly people and no matter our beliefs, we all must come together as one, to promote equality and freedom. As Malcolm Turnbull said, we all must engender love. Love is what must hold us together-Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist. Love is in every religion.


  2. Mariam it makes be so proud….you have taken so much risk, worked so hard and devoted so much time in promoting the Truth about Islam and defending Muslim rights in Australia.

    Most people get their news through main stream media that can be biased and twist the facts to suit their own agenda. Well done sister keep up the good work we need
    advocates like yourself to speak out the truth.

    And as Allah (God) has always promised that the truth will always prevail.

    Australians need to know that not all Muslim Women wear hijab and are stay home mums.

    There are professional Muslims out there like yourself that apart from doing their professional jobs they are also there to raise community awareness, remove the barriers, prejudice and pave the way to better understanding of their religion and culture to the wider community and promote peace and harmony in the community.

    The Muslim world is going through hard time at present with most of Civil wars being inflicted up on them but truth will always prevail.

    We are proud of you and always behind you and above all of us Allah is in your side.

    Liked by 1 person

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