Parwana Rezai is from Afghan origin and a first-generation refugee. Currently she is pursuing two masters: International Technology Law at the VU University and CSM: Cybersecurity Governance at Leiden University. Next to these studies, she works parttime at Deloitte in the Cyber Privacy team, specifically working on Digital Regulations, such as the AI Act, DMA, GDPR. 

Parwana is active in many different networks of Afghan diaspora, refugees and other marginalized communities. She has previously been active as the vice-president of FAM and is now active in the Advisory Board. FAM is a student association aiming to increase diversity and inclusion at Academia.

Parwana: “The evening was filled with an amazing aura to begin with, seeing so many people in the room that all contribute to the cause of diversity and inclusion was truly the highlight next to winning the law & tax award of course! I realized then, no matter the outcome, we are all winners. I am inspired by all of them.

As a little girl I was always wary of injustices around me as I have had to deal with them myself. This led to the urge to always fight for what is right around me, when things were wrong, be it in Afghanistan or the refugee camps in the Netherlands. I have to say that now I feel more motivated than ever to fight for the ideals I have set out to make our society and world a better and more just place. I see this award as a recognition for all achievements in this field and the importance thereof. I dedicate it ultimately to girls that are currently denied their right to education or any freedom, specifically girls and women in Afghanistan. But also to those that do not feel like they belong anywhere, which is a feeling that is very prevalent in people with multi-cultural identities, something I have struggled with for years and an initiative such as the ECHO Award make us visible to each other and serve as a reminder that we do belong, in these inbetween spaces. 

My plans are to combine my lived experiences, my work as a community builder and academic interests to hopefully one day, with these assets, become a pioneer in the field of technology law with an eye for diversity, inclusion, equity and human rights - and translate my vision into concrete policies specifically when it comes to technologies that have the ability to have an impact of potentially causing divides, unfair treatment and more inequality. In the meantime, I will be myself and continue what I have been doing so far, committing to the cause and spirit of diversity, inclusion and equity.”

ECHO Award

Every year, Diversity Policy Expertise Center ECHO presents the ECHO Awards. The ECHO Award’s aim is to generate positive attention for individual successes of multicultural students. The winners receive a fully catered summer course at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles.