Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a mechanical engineer, writer and political commentator. Born in Sudan, the 24-year-old advocates for the empowerment of youth, women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She was the 2015 QLD Young Australian of the Year. Her TED Talk, ‘What Does My Headscarf Mean to You’ (2015), went viral and racked up more than 1.5 million views in months.

Abdel-Magied’s writing tackles social issues from an intersectional perspective and her commentary has been featured in the Griffith Review, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review among others. She is the author of stereotype-smashing memoir Yassmin’s Story: Who Do You Think I Am? (2016) and is also a regular commentator on TV and radio in Australia and internationally, appearing on Q&A, The Project and BBC World. Abdel-Magied is the Chair of Youth Without Borders, an organisation she founded at 16 years old.

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Yassmin’s Story

Frank, fearless, funny, articulate and inspiring, Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a dynamo, a young Muslim dynamo offering a bracing breath of fresh air - and hope. At 21, Yassmin found herself working on a remote Australian oil and gas rig; she was the only woman and certainly the only Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian background Muslim woman. With her hijab quickly christened a ‘tea cosy’ there could not be a more unlikely place on earth for a young Muslim woman to want to be. This is the story of how she got there, where she is going, and how she wants the world to change. Born in the Sudan, Yassmin and her parents moved to Brisbane when she was two, and she has been tackling barriers ever since. At 16 she founded Youth Without Borders, an organisation focused on helping young people to work for positive change in their communities. In 2007 she was named Young Australian Muslim of the Year and in 2010 Young Queenslander of the Year. In 2011 Yassmin graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honours) and in 2012 she was named Young Leader of the Year in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards as well as an InStyle cultural leader and a Marie Claire woman of the future. Yassmin has now been awarded Youth of the Year in the Australian Muslim Achievement Awards.