Naheed is a former Afghan refugee who arrived in New Zealand 18 years ago with her family. She is currently undertaking her final years of medicine at Otago University’s Wellington branch.
Naheed is passionate about working with refugee-background individuals to improve their well-being and integration into New Zealand society, without losing everything that makes them special. Naheed has been involved with numerous refugee organisations over the past decade. She is currently the communications and marketing manager for Empower Youth – an organisation targeted at increasing refugee youth numbers in tertiary education.
“Representation of the diverse communities and minority groups that brighten New Zealand’s social tapestry is one of my greatest passions. I have seen, time and time again, the positive effects that representation can have on, not only me, but also all the communities I identify with. I want to combine all my skills and experience with my cultural background and the unique aspects of my identity – being a refugee, Muslim woman from Afghanistan – to give our people spaces to feel heard and understood. I am so excited to work with the other UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders to tackle the issues that matter to us and our communities and can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for us.”