Human Rights Activist | Social Entrepreneur | Bestselling Author
After escaping a decade of abuse living as a child bride in a forced marriage in Canada, Samra Zafar became a beacon of hope for many people facing exclusion, abuse, and gender-based violence. Now an award-winning international speaker, bestselling author, scholar, and social entrepreneur, she engages audiences around the world speaking about collective resilience, authentic leadership, inclusive workplaces, youth, human rights, mental health, and more.
In 2017, Zafar wrote an article about her personal experience with abuse for Toronto Life, which became a most-read article in Canada. In the same year, she delivered a TEDx talk on gender-based violence, which was named an “all-time top 10” talk. Since then, she has given a total of three TEDx talks and delivered keynotes for several major organizations, including Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, UNICEF, Yale University, Amnesty International, Art of Leadership, and many leading non-profits, corporations, and universities around the world.
In 2019, Zafar published her first book, A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose, which instantly became a national bestseller and named one of CBC’s Best Books of 2019 for Canadian Non-fiction. It is now being adapted into a TV series and published internationally. Zafar’s work has also been featured in global media outlets, including Washington Post, Huffington Post, National Post, CBC, The Globe and Mail, CBC, CTV, and Yahoo.
Zafar has been recognized as one of Canada’s “Top 100 Most Powerful Women” by Women’s Executive Network, among the “Top 25 Most Inspirational Women” by CanadianSME Magazine, and a “Top 25 Canadian Immigrant” by RBC. She is also a celebrated ambassador for Plan International Canada and a board member for Women’s College Hospital Foundation.
A graduate of the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in economics, Zafar earned the highest distinction and more than a dozen awards and scholarships. Today, she is one of the youngest alumni serving as a governor for the University of Toronto.