Maryam Elahi

Board Member

Maryam Elahi joined the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut after 25 years of leadership in the international human rights community as an advocate, teacher and grantmaker.  Before her work with CFECT, she was director of the International Women’s Program at the Open Society Foundations, a global philanthropic organization, where she supported organizations empowering women in conflict and post-conflict countries.

Prior to OSF, Elahi was the founding director of the Human Rights Program at Trinity College in Hartford. She established the first undergraduate college human rights major in the United States.  A graduate of Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Boston College Law School, and Williams College, she taught courses on international human rights law at Trinity and the Oxford University Summer International Human Rights Program. During her ten years at Trinity, she traveled extensively to set up international study programs with a human rights focus, resulting in the establishment of such programs in Cape Town, Santiago, Trinidad, and Hong Kong.

Elahi served as the Advocacy Director on the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe for Amnesty International in DC from 1990 to 1997. During this period, she testified frequently before Congressional committees, lectured widely, and made presentations before the media, policy and academic institutions. She had previously developed Amnesty’s work on gender and human rights. She carried out missions for Amnesty International and other human rights organizations to numerous countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Northern Ireland, and Guatemala.

Elahi was the chair of the International Human Rights Committee of the American Bar Association, and has served on numerous boards including the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, the ACLU of Connecticut, CT Public Broadcasting Network, and AI’s Policy Board. She has written and lectured on a wide range of human rights and foreign policy issues.

Elahi is a recipient of the 2014 Boston College David S. Nelson Public Interest Law Award, which recognizes an alum who has made significant contributions to the public sector. She was also recognized as a Global Impact Honoree by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.


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