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North Africa has been through a lot recently, such as the fight against terrorism and the Arab Spring. However these instances have not prevented the youth from striving to represent the region in a good light. Check out this list of eight achievers making a difference.

Ahmed Di Ahmedou

Ahmed is an undergraduate student and a young rising Mauritanian soccer player based in England. Despite his young age, he plays for the English Three Bridges F.C. football team and the Mauritanian national team. When he isn’t studying, he is dividing his time between the Bridges and traveling the world to play for Mauritania.

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Tweet him @hmedDiAhmedou.

Samia Errazzouki

Samia is a Moroccan journalist, writer, and activist. She is currently pursuing her graduate studies at the University of Georgetown, USA. She is also the co-editor of Jadaliyya, an online magazine that focuses on North African and Middle Eastern affairs. She has contributed her work to Aljazeera, Foreign Policy, and other international newspapers and is the author of the recently published, ‘Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara.’ Last month, Samia traveled to Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria and upon her return to America, she has become the voice on the Western Sahara issue.

Follow her @charquaouia

Imad Mesdoua

Imad is a former Algerian journalist who has contributed to numerous newspapers such as the Ceasefire and Huffington Post. His expertise on the Maghreb, Sahel, and West African affairs has made him one of the youngest and most respected political analysts on the region. Imad regularly appears on Aljazeera and the BBC.

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Follow him @ImadMesdoua.

Mohamed Salem Werad

Mohamed is a Saharawi journalist and the founder of Saharawi Voice, a blog that is run directly from the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. Despite the lack of technology and lac of an internet connection, Mohamed depends on videos, photographic essays, and articles to spread the Saharawi news out to the world. He specialises in  Western Saharan issues and the harsh refugee camp conditions experience by the Saharawi.

Tweet him @mohamedsalemw

Naila Missous

Naila is an Algerian journalist and writer who has contributed to The Guardian, Huffington Post, The Independent, BBC, and Your Middle East. She is a graduate with a major in Literature and Linguistics from the University of Manchester. Naila is also the founder and editor in chief of the online magazine VOIX.

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Follow her @nsabrinem

Maher Mezahi

Maher is an Algerian football journalist based in Canada. He is the North African football correspondent for Sandals for Goalposts and has contributed to The Telegraph, ESPN FC, Al Jazeera English, and Four Four Two magazine.

Follow him @MezahiMaher

Nadir Bouhmouch

Nadir is a Moroccan award-winning filmmaker. He is also a human rights activist and feminist based in the United States. He is an active member of the Moroccan pro-democracy ‘February 20th movement,’ which as been responsible for the widespread protests against the Moroccan regime. Nadir is the co-founder of the Guerilla Cinema movement, which aims to empower Moroccan filmmakers and liberalize the film-making regulations in Morocco. Two of his award-winning documentaries are “My Makhzen & Me” and “The Bobs.”

Tweet him @LeJebly

Laila Moulay

Laila is a rising Mauritanian singer, whose unique voice has made her a star in her homeland. Her controversial modern style and her refusal to wear the head scarf has prompted her arrest several times which have failed to deter her from following her passion for music. She continues to make music and her music is widely listened to by many in her country.

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Find her on social media here.

Agaila Abba (@Agailita) is a freelance writer specializing in African, North African and Middle Eastern affairs.

 

 

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