Evan Mawarire came to prominence as a democracy activist in Zimbabwe as a clergyman who founded #ThisFlag Citizen’s Movement, which challenged the brutal dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Through the use of social media and tech, the movement mobilized millions to participate in protests. For organizing protests and training citizens, Mawarire was imprisoned and tortured in 2016, 2017, and 2019 and charged with treason, facing 80 years in prison.
Mawarire has addressed audiences at the Atlantic Council, Yale, Harvard, the Oxford Union (UK), the Oslo Freedom Forum, and the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Foreign Policy magazine named him among 100 global thinkers of 2016. The Daily Maverick Newspaper of South Africa named him 2016 African person of the year.
Mawarire was a nominee for the 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards and the prestigious 2018 Swedish government’s Per Anger Prize for democracy actors. He is a 2018 Draper Hills Fellow of Stanford University’s Centre for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law and a 2020 Maurice Greenberg Yale World Fellow. He sits on the advisory board of Yale International Leadership Centre. He is a 2022 Regan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Currently, he is the director for education at Renew Democracy Initiative, a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose aim is to strengthen democracy in America and globally.