Avan Shwany

Iraq Program Manager, Human Rights

Avan is the Iraq Program Manager for the Human Rights team. In this role, she supports the team in various capacities, specific to the Iraq region.


Name three inspiring women you’ve met in your own life.

My Mother, Leyla Zana, Gultan Kashnak


List five things that people could ask you about

People usually ask me about the food I cook, and how I have time to cook every day for my family while working full time. I simply say that I have passion for it and would very much like for my family to have at least one meal together. Are you from India? Is a question I have been asked more often when I get introduced to new people, it seems I have a typical Indian woman face, but I tell them I am a Kurd from Kurdistan region of Iraq, and that I have commonality with Indians that is Kurdish and Hindi are form the same family language.


Where is your favorite place you have traveled?

Kerkuk, Kurdistan, my homelands which are the best places Ihave been to and would like all the time to travel to


What is your favorite place in D.C.?

National Mall


What was the last great book you read?

Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, Volume 1, a book which is primarily concerned with the freedom of human beings, and our capacity to create and love one another. The effects of global capital, political power, patriarchy, and exploitation are a direct threat to the meaning of out lives