IWF welcomes Crystal Bayat to our team as a visiting fellow. Crystal has first-hand experience being born in Kabul and is now an Afghan social activist and human rights advocate. Crystal will add an important voice to the IW team.

Meet Crystal below. 

Crystal Bayat is an Afghan social activist and human rights advocate known for her protests against the Taliban takeover, advocacy for women’s rights, and political activism inside and outside Afghanistan. A native of the Ghazni province, Shia (coming from the Bayat family, a Turkic ethnicity minority). Bayat was born in 1997 in Kabul. She grew up most of her life with democracy and positive societal changes. She is currently continuing the fight to preserve Afghan human rights achievements as an agent of change.

She went on to join Daulat Ram College in Delhi and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2019 in the first ranking. She holds a master’s degree from the United Nations Institute in Delhi. In 2021, Bayat started her PhD at Delhi University in Political Management but her program was cut short due to the Taliban takeover. Bayat has been accepted into the Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College Masters of Public Policy program. She plans to start the MPP as a full-time student in the fall of 2023.

After returning from school in India to Afghanistan in 2020, Bayat started the civil rights political think tank, Justice and Equality Trend, and the Crystal Bayat Foundation, a human rights charity foundation focused on helping Afghan people at risk. 

In 2020, Bayat received the Rumi Award (2nd place) in the “Literature Category” and was also named one of the 50 Influential Women by Rumi Award organizers. She was also recognized by the former Afghan president and parliament in early 2020 for activism in passing the minority rights bill.

On December 7, 2021, Crystal Bayat was named in the BBC 100 Women 2021 list for her social activist and human rights advocacy, which figured prominently in protests against the Taliban takeover in 2021.

She was also awarded as the emerging leader for 17 UN-SDG by Utah Citizen Diplomacy in 2022.