Our Team

Mustafa Akhwand 
Executive Director

Mustafa Akhwand is the founder and Executive director of Shia Rights Watch, with a background in Journalism and Media publishing. He is awarded by Human Rights Education Association for minority rights. He worked as an advisor for numbers of non-violence organization such as Freemuslim (Center for De-Radicalization & Extremism Prevention).

In promotion to his work in Freemuslim Association, he was assigned to work as director for the organization for 2 years prior of founding and directing Shia Rights Watch.

Mustafa holds a BA in Applied Information Technology from George Mason University and is continuing his postgraduate studies in Conflict Analysis and Resolution in George Mason University.

He founded Shia Rights Watch in 2011, a one of the kind organization with full concern of humanitarian rights of Shia Muslims. He believes Shia rights are being violated around the world and we, as humans, must defend our collective rights. With Mustafa’s immense dedication, SRW obtained an ECOSOC within (3 years) of activity, and now holds a special consultative status with the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Now, with a network of over 600 people. Shia Rights Watch plays a critical role in improving the quality of life for all minority populations around the world.

Mustafa holds a variety of certificates from NGOs, human rights and peace keeper organizations for his human rights advocacies.

Mustafa has received:

  •         Social Justice Leader Certificate from Freemuslim (Center for De-Radicalization & Extremism Prevention)
  •         Certificate of Appreciation from Amnesty International
  •         Certificate in Minority Rights Education from Human Rights Education Association
  •         Certificate in Conflict Analysis from United States Institute of Peace
  •         Certificate in Capacity Building and Advocating for Peace from Adam Center for Defending Rights and Beliefs
  •         Certificate Mediation and Dialogue facilitation form Center for Strategic Studies in Iraq

Mustafa works to spread his knowledge through his numerous publications in various digital news agencies. In addition, Mustafa is the author of the “Shia Sentinel” column.

Mustafa’s peace advocacy efforts span from West to East as he facilitates non-violence on the ground in war-ridden nations such as Iraq.

Alan Williams
Director of Congressional Affairs

Alan is a Global Affairs major and an experienced intern who has enhanced his world view by advocating for minority rights. As a young activist who belongs to the African American minority group, he has dedicated his professional and academic life to research and writing about minorities who need to be heard, such as Shia Muslims. He has contributed to the Shia Rights Watch news section and has conducted research in Yemen and Egypt.

Ammar Hussain
Ammar was born in Iraq and was a victim of sectarian violence of Saddam Hussein against Iraqi Shia. He left Iraq during his childhood and lived in different countries in the Middle East region. In the year 2000, Ammar moved to United States and has been there until present day.
Ammar earned his Bachelor Degree in Political science and International Studies from the University of North Florida(UNF), and a Certificate in Turkish politics and relations with USA from Yeditepe University of Istanbul.

Hawraa Zakery
Director of Researcher Department

Zakery holds Master degree in Social Justice Counseling from George Mason University in Virginia, Bachelor degree in Psychology, minor in Especial Education and an Associate in Liberal Arts.

Hawraa left teaching filed after 10 year experience to join Shia Rights Watch research and advocacy team.  She has number of certifications from different organizations such as Certificate of Leadership from Nova Community College of Virginia, Certificate of Friendship from Laurel Church of Maryland, and Certificate of Best Teacher from Roshd School.

Mrs Zakery has contributed in number of academic, research and news outlets such as Academia.edu, Communities Digital News, Deliberation.info and more. Her research and reports can be found on her web page and ShiaRightsWatch.org.

Hawraa wishes to use her experience is teaching, research, mental and social just counseling in order to serve marginalized Shia population.

Jostin Schwegel
Volunteer Editor

Justin Schwegel is an occasional contributor and editor for Shia Rights Watch. He graduated from Minnesota State University, Moorhead with a bachelor’s degree in political science and cultural anthropology in 2007 before serving as a public health educator with the United States Peace Corps in Guinea, Conakry.

Mr. Schwegel was a Global Law Scholar at Georgetown University Law Center where he earned a JD, a certificate in World Trade Organization Studies, competed for the international arbitration team and contributed to the International Migrants Bill of Rights. He also has an LLM in international economic law from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

A human rights activist, feminist, and freelance writer, Justin Schwegel’s writing has appeared in the Asia Times, Communities Digital News, the Pine River Journal, and Mondoweiss.