Bnyad Sharef

“My ambition is to be able to raise the most awareness in the larger American society about immigrants and refugees especially those from the Middle East. There is a lot of misinformation and false facts about these communities among many US communities, politicians and officials. I want to use my voice to bring about positive relations, change, and harmony in this area.”

Bnyad Sharef is an activist who advocates for refugee and immigrant rights and for a more harmonious, peaceful, and prosperous world free of discrimination and injustice. He has been involved in activism since he and his family were affected by the travel ban while en route to the U.S. with Special Immigrant Visas that were issued to them as a result of his father’s work as a translator for the U.S. government in Iraq. After being sent back to Iraq in January 2017, they were able to mobilize family, friends, media and elected officials in the U.S., ultimately resulting in an exception being granted to allow them to enter the U.S. They immediately flew to Nashville, Tennessee, where they landed on February 5, 2017 to the cheers and warm greeting of celebrities and hundreds from the local community.  Bnyad is very passionate and motivated to speak about immigrant and refugee issues, having lived through it and understanding the pain and journey involved. He has already shared his story in several churches, synagogues, mosques, community centers and events. Bnyad has also been active in refugee rights advocacy through Church World Service and Catholic Relief Services, and is currently a Community Organizer for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

Topics include: refugees, immigration, the Travel Ban, Iraq, solidarity, activism, advocacy, leadership, public narrative, diversity, leadership, youth empowerment, changing perspectives, transforming stereotypes, building trust & understanding and community organizing.

To request Bnyad as a speaker for your school, community or event, please complete the request form here or email