Maryam al-Khawaja is a Bahraini Woman Human Rights Defender and the founder of al-Khawaja Consulting, where she works as a human rights consultant and trainer. al-Khawaja played an instrumental role in the Bahraini Arab Spring protests in early 2011, which resulted in a widespread government crackdown, including extrajudicial killings, arrests, and torture of activists. Due to her work, she has been subjected to assault, defamation, and imprisonment. Despite these threats, al-Khawaja has emerged as a leading voice for human rights and political reform in Bahrain and the Gulf region, and has acted as a consultant for prominent European and American policymakers regarding Middle Eastern affairs. al-Khawaja has received numerous awards for her human rights work, including the Rafto Prize. Previously, she served as Co-Director for the Gulf Center for Human Rights and as Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and currently serves on the Board of the International Service for Human Rights and Urgent Action Fund.