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Maryam Monsef: Canadian Minister of Democratic Institutions 🎓

Education: Trent University
Rookie Year: 2006 (Turf: Peterborough, Ontario)

Overcoming Difficulty As a Child

Maryam was born in Iran to Afghan parents who had fled during the Soviet-Afghan War and lived in Herat where her family struggled with the political hostilities of the country before moving to Canada in 1996. She lost her father in 1988 at the Iran-Afghanistan border and her widowed mother and two sisters hoped to find a better life in Canada.

Giving back to Afghanistan

Passionate about her community and giving back, Maryam co-founded the Red Pashmina Campaign, a grassroots initiative she started while attending Trent University to raise money in support of women in Afghanistan. Also while at university, Maryam joined College Pro in 2006.

Helping the Community That Welcomed Her

After graduation from Trent University in 2010, with several years of College Pro experience under her belt, Maryam worked as an Immigration Portal Researcher for WelcomePeterborough.ca. This role led her to the job of an Outreach Coordinator for the New Canadians Centre, then for the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough. It was evident Maryam was committed to helping those in her community and she continued her career working for the Peterborough Economic Development Commission and then at Fleming College.

Political Career

After being unable to accept a job in Afghanistan that she was offered because of security reasons, Maryam went back to Iran in 2014 to work on relief efforts for Afghan refugees. This experience is what inspired her to focus on her political career path.

In the same year she ran for mayor in Peterborough and was later in the same year chosen to be part of the Liberal Party for the federal election which she was elected in October 2015. Shortly after Maryam was was sworn into the 29th Canadian Ministry as the Minister of Democratic Institutions, in the cabinet headed by the newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She is the first Canadian MP to have been born in Afghanistan and is one of the youngest ever to appointed to the cabinet.

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