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Omaid Sharifi

Voices of Solidarity , 2023

Omaid Sharifi is a pioneering artist and activist who leads ArtLords, a global grassroots movement founded in Afghanistan to promote peace, women’s rights and social transformation through street art.

Focus Areas

Grassroots & Social Reform

Omaid Sharifi is an artivist who co-founded and presides over ArtLords, a collective of self-styled artivists who create street art in Afghanistan and around the world. A former fellow at Harvard University, Omaid is an active board member of CIVICUS, a worldwide alliance that focuses on strengthening citizen action and civil society. He also contributes his insights as a board member of the Millennium Leadership Fellowship Alumni at the Atlantic Council and serves as the Chapter Lead for the Asia Society 21 Young Leaders Initiative in Afghanistan. 

 In his role at Pen America’s ARC, Mr. Sharifi spearheads programs dedicated to protecting artists at risk globally. With a career spanning over 19 years, he has demonstrated exceptional skill in planning, designing, and implementing a wide range of projects, not only in Afghanistan and South Asia but also in various other international locations. His commitment to the arts and civil society is evident through his extensive involvement and leadership in these areas. 

Mr. Sharifi co-founded Artlords as a global grassroots movement to bring together artivists who are committed to using art and culture to create social transformation – especially for women and girls in Afghanistan. In hundreds of murals, Mr. Sharifi has leveraged visually striking and dynamic street art to draw public attention to issues including girls’ right to education, women’s rights, disability inclusion, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Last month, ArtLords partnered with Vital Voices on a campaign around the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, raising awareness about the strength and resilience of women in the face of adversity.