Zainab Chaudry is Spokeswoman and Maryland Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, America’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. She is the first known Muslim to be appointed to the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights – an independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress in 1957 that is charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters. She is a Fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and graduated from the Maryland Public Policy Conflict Resolution Fellows Program at the University Of Maryland Carey School Of Law.
As of Fall 2020, Zainab serves on the Howard County Racial Equity Taskforce, and the Baltimore Mayor-Elect Brandon Scott’s transition team. She is on the Advisory Board of the Interfaith Action for Human Rights. She has served on the Advisory Board of Tarbiyah Academy, a Muslim leadership school that is the first International Baccalaureate Islamic primary school in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia region. She is a former Task Force member of the Bilal Initiative, which was launched to expand conversations within American Muslim communities on building a multiracial, multigenerational, and women-friendly society.
Zainab is co-founder and Steering Committee Member of United for Muslim Mental Advocacy and Health (UMMAH) – an initiative launched in conjunction with Maryland area activists and mental health experts to address the mental health crisis and youth suicides plaguing the state’s Muslim communities.
Zainab has extensively been involved in interfaith initiatives, particularly Jewish-Muslim interfaith dialogue groups. She has been recognized by the Governor of Maryland for organizing the state’s first Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium.
In 2018, Zainab was presented with a Community Service Award by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and the United Maryland Muslim Council. She joined the Mayor of Baltimore, members of Congress, and other dignitaries to speak at the Baltimore Women’s March 2018 before thousands gathered at Baltimore City Hall.
She was a ‘Nominated Changemaker’ at the White House Summit on the United State of Women, and has been recognized among the Baltimore Sun’s 2016 ’25 Women to Watch.’ She was invited by the White House to attend President Barack Obama’s first U.S. mosque visit at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. She has been appointed as ‘Ambassador for Peace’ by a UN Partner Organization, and has accepted recognition from the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office for supporting underprivileged communities. In 2017, she was featured by ABC News as a ‘Female Leader.’
She is a recipient of the Governor’s Service Award for her work in interfaith communities across Maryland, and regularly comments on social justice and women’s rights issues as well as the American Muslim perspective on national and global affairs. She has been recognized as a ‘Community Quarterback’ for the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens team, and received numerous awards and recognition for her activism and public service.
In 2018, Zainab was nominated for the El-Hibri Foundation Peace Awards. She has completed emergency preparedness training from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security/FEMA, and was recognized for her community work with an Honorable Mention in FEMA’s ‘Individual and Community Preparedness’ awards. In partnership with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the Governor’s Office on Community Initiatives, she coordinated Maryland’s first statewide emergency preparedness summit for interfaith leaders featuring experts from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and other federal, state, and local agencies.
In November 2017, Zainab presented two TEDx talks. At TEDxMtHebronWomen, she presented on the idea of crafting social currency for social change. Later, she presented at TEDxUniversityofBaltimore on the role of media and activism in dispelling stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.
She has appeared or been quoted extensively in international and national media outlets including TIME, MSNBC, Huffington Post, PolicyMic, The Guardian, New York Times, Mediate, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Reuters, CCTV, AP, VICE, and others. Prior to switching career tracks to nonprofit work and activism, Zainab earned her Doctorate in Pharmacy at a U.S. top-ten ranked pharmacy school, where she was the second youngest graduating member of her class.
Zainab avidly follows U.S. and international politics. She passionately champions women’s rights and correcting misconceptions about Muslims and Islam. She also enjoys comedy, reading, traveling, debate and football. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland.