Interview with Munira Mohamud, Young European of 2024

In this interview, our Young European of 2024, Munira Mohamud, introduces herself and her work as an activist and artist dedicated to addressing racism, social injustices, and identity. She talks about her goals and challanges she is facing - and tells us how she is trying to inspire other young people to get involved and make a difference.

Photo: Stefanie Loos

Congratulations, dear Munira! Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what inspired you to work towards a more just European society?  

I am an activist, academic, and artist from Austria, currently studying sinology and working on topics like antiracism, identity, intersectionality, community building, and social justice. My inspirations in working towards a more just Europe lie in my own identity and personal experiences of being a Black Muslim woman. Being familiar with several injustices firsthand made me determined to advocate for active change and the same rights for all regardless of looks, backgrounds, beliefs, sexualities, dis/ability, and other identity markers.

How exactly does your work look like?

I always try my best to engage in different initiatives, projects and works aimed at combating racism and discrimination on both national and European levels. I held various workshops and trainings for different kinds of marginalized groups, especially youth. As a researcher and project manager in the EU project “Butterfly Effect,” I focus on tackling hate incidents and supporting young victims through an intersectional and gender-sensitive approach. As an artist and poet, I address themes of identity, belonging, and social justice, which further amplifies marginalized voices and opens dialogue for change.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced? Could thus award support you in overcoming them?    
I have faced several challenges in my work towards social justice, including navigating societal and institutional barriers due to my intersecting identities as a Muslim, a Black woman, and a non-citizen in Austria. These challenges include being underestimated, overlooked, and made to feel like an outsider. Despite these barriers, I have found alternative ways to engage and advocate for change, such as through my art and activism. I would like to use the recognition and the money of the Young European of the Year award to expand my workshops and training sessions, so that I reach a broader audience, enhance my networking opportunities, and strengthen my ability to influence policies and create systemic change.

How do you think your work and dedication can inspire other young people? What do want to show them?

Despite of having stones thrown in my path by being made different, I have developed a resilient, creative, and strategic approach to advocating for social justice. I always try to transform various spaces and projects by highlighting the importance of intersectionality, community building, and the value of diverse perspectives in effecting positive change. By showcasing my work and art philosophy, I hope to motivate young people to realize how powerful and great they are and can be.

Thank you!