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HomeArticlesHarrow Councillor announced as new Obama Foundation European Leader

Harrow Councillor announced as new Obama Foundation European Leader

Cllr Peymana Assad has announced that she has been selected as part of the inaugural, all-virtual Obama Foundation Leaders: Europe program, which kicked off on September 8, 2020.


The first cohort is composed of 35 emerging leaders who represent 18 countries throughout Europe. Through their work in government, civil society, and the private sector, these leaders have demonstrated a commitment to values-based leadership and effected transformational change in their communities. They work on a broad range of issues and focus areas, including, but not limited to: economic inequality; anti-racism; public health; strengthening democracy; technology and data privacy; the climate crisis; and building a stronger Europe.


Peymana Assad was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and came to the UK as a child refugee, growing up in North West London. In 2018, Peymana became the first person of Afghan origin to be elected to public office in the UK when she was elected as a Councillor in the London Borough of Harrow Council – a local government authority in London that provides vital services to citizens including education, health, and policing. She also stood as a Parliamentary Candidate in the 2019 General Election, making her the first person of Afghan origin to stand in a General Election for a major political party in the UK.


Peymana ran an initiative to encourage local community members to run for public office through the creation of atraining and mentoring program. Her efforts have resulted in a number of newly elected officials who are more representative of their community and are already beginning to shape moreinclusive decision-making in local institutions. Peymana believes that a standard quality of life, including decent housing, education and healthcare, is a basic human right.


Aside from running initiatives in her local community, Peymanahas also connected global communities with her own, when in 2019 in partnership with the University of Oxford she broughtAfghanistan’s only female orchestra to the UK for a cultural musical exchange. The Afghan orchestra played in her hometown of Harrow alongside local musicians the Harrow Young Musicians and the Harrow Community Gospel Choir.


Peymana has demonstrated effective leadership through her work in the UK that is sought in Obama Leaders. She has been chosen as one of the 35 emerging Obama Leaders in Europe with a proven track record of being able to create positive impact in her country, the region, and the world.


While past Obama Leaders programs began with a multi-day, in-person convening, before continuing online, Leaders: Europe has been adapted to a fully virtual program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the six-month, non-residential program, these European changemakers will convene online weekly for interactive virtual sessions, through which they will hone their leadership skills, build deep relationships with a small group of European peers, and engage with thought leaders and members of the Obama Foundation community on ways to drive and scale change. The leaders will also have an opportunity to participate in other virtual programming, including a variety of special events and one-on-one conversations with experienced mentors and other leaders within the Foundation’s global network.


As an extension of the Obama Foundation’s international Leaders regional programs, which started in Africa in 2018 and the Asia Pacific in 2019, Leaders: Europe is designed to further inspire, empower, and connect the emerging leaders to change their world. The Foundation’s programming in Europe began in 2019 with a town hall in Berlin, where President Obama was joined by more than 300 young leaders from across Europe to discuss the importance of community, leadership, and civic engagement. The Leaders: Europe program demonstrates the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to the region, along with the belief that these 35 emerging leaders, through their extraordinary work in their communities, have the potential to positively impact their countries, the region, and the world.


The launch of this program also comes on the heels of President Obama’s call earlier this year for a new generation of leaders to translate their justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action. The all-virtual program will run from September 2020 through February 2021.


Leaders: Europe is made possible through generous contributions from sponsors, including The Rumi Foundation, an organization focused on supporting the next generation of young leaders through education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.


To learn more about Councillor Peymana Assad, click here.


Meet the inaugural Leaders: Europe cohort and learn more about the program here.