At the age of twenty-four, Zarifa Ghafari became mayor of Maidan Wardak, a province of Kabul, Afghanistan; before that she had launched and operated a women-focused radio station. During her tenure, violent threats were made against her to dissuade her from taking up her role, including six attempts made on her life, and her father murdered in retribution. After overseeing 70,000 families during the fall of Kabul, she escaped from the Taliban in August 2021 to seek refuge in Germany. Ghafari was included by the BBC as one of the '100 most inspiring and influential women in the world' in 2019, received the International Woman of Courage Award from the US State Department in 2020 and the Oxi Day Foundation Award for Courage in 2021. She is now setting up a foundation for women in Afghanistan.
Hannah Lucinda Smith
Hannah Lucinda Smith, author of Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey (HarperCollins/William Collins 2019), is The Times correspondent in Turkey, where she has covered conflicts, a coup attempt and the rise of controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During her time in the region, she has also reported on the Middle East, from inside rebel-held Syria, on the front lines of the battle against Isis in Iraq, and joined the mass movement of migrants on their journey to Europe in 2015. She has also worked also for the BBC, contributed to the Atlantic and the Spectator, and has been awarded a Pulitzer grant to write for Wired magazine.