2013-2014 Luce Scholar
Aya Saed was born to Nubian parents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and subsequently lived in Khartoum and Washington, D.C. Living in such politically charged regions heightened her awareness of global affairs. Embracing the fact that she was part of a lucky few fleeting refugees from the firm grip of a racist Sudanese government has sparked in her the need to create opportunities for those she left behind. This, she hopes to accomplish in two ways: journalism and entrepreneurship in the technology sphere. As a blogger for The Huffington Post and a columnist for the Daily Pennsylvania, writing has become both a hobby and a passion. Aya uses journalism to give voice to minority communities globally, and challenge community members in hopes of catalyzing progressive political movements. Additionally, she has been at the forefront of business ventures playing instrumental roles in shifting the wealth paradigm. Aya was given the opportunity to explore the potential of technology and business as a means of empowerment in her capacity as a New Business Development intern at Google. As a Google intern, she worked to cultivate a sense of enablement as the people of Egypt and Sudan protested through the Speak2Tweet product. Moreover, her experience at Google complemented her studies in Ghana and the Middle East. As a student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Aya worked on projects that linked technology leaders with educators. There, she helped to implement a project that equipped every classroom with a laptop and the resources needed to create content for the web. Further, Aya's commitment to technology and content creation online can be seen in her establishment of a journalism school for Arabs living inside Israel as an Ibrahim Fellow, a program funded by the International Institute of Education. More than anything, these experiences allowed Aya to merge her interest in technology, social innovation and business, something she hopes to pursue as a career. Aya's passion stems from her adventures abroad and her understanding that marginalized communities abroad have little to no access to the world wide web, and also have much to add in terms of content, opinions and knowledge. While she may not succeed in alleviating poverty for all, she can help to create a virtual democracy wherein which everyone has a chance to speak freely, and profit from the monetary and academic riches of the Internet.
Launched in 1999, Malaysiakini.com offers daily news and views in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil, delivering over 40 million page views and 1 million hours of reading time to over 2 million unique visitors. It is the most read and the most popular Malaysian website. Malaysiakini's editorial position is built on fast, accurate and independent news, and well-informed and diverse views.