Anahita Neghabat is Young European of the Year: online activist fights right-wing populism with memes

The Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe awards Anahita Neghabat as Young European of 2022. Anahita Neghabat, 26, from Austria is a social anthropologist and political educator. She uses political memes to counter ring-wing populism and racism and to advocate for gender justice, involving thousands of young people with political topics. For her activism and commitment to strengthening democracy with digital tools, she is awarded 5000 Euro.

Anahita Neghabat ©private

With her channel @ibiza_austrian_memes, Anahita Neghabat reaches an audience of almost 24 thousand people on Instagram. She creatively and critically comments on Austrian interior politics to add her perspective to public political discourses. Over the last few years, she has also built networks of like-minded individuals from different European countries, fighting for intersectional feminism and against racism.

Anahita would like to use the award grant to further strengthen alliances for social justice: “As activists, our work often tends to remain unpaid and unrecognized. All the more, it is with deep humility and gratitude that I am receiving this exceptional recognition. Our struggles for equality are always interconnected, and our fight for a better future must be collective”, the awardee states.

The jury is impressed by Anahitas Neghabats sensitivity to support other people and her extraordinary and artistic way of creating a critical political discourse. Luisa Seiler, Executive Director of the Schwarzkopf Foundation states: “Anahita is a dedicated, creative, and authentic person, who shows us a way how to communicate our criticism regarding power imbalances, injustice, and racism in different societies on point and how to reach a broad young audience with it.” Maria Atanosova, member of the Jury and Young European of 2020, comments: “I voted for Anahita because of her engagement and passion to create alliances and raise marginalized voices through academia and activism.” Jury member Christiana Xenofontos from the European Youth Forum says “Anahita is a brilliant young woman, a spectacular combination of anthropologist, activist, and artist who manages to communicate critical messages through the power of images.”

Each Year the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe awards the Young European of the Year Award to young people between the ages of 18 and 26 who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to a peaceful, diverse and inclusive Europe. This year’s jury consists of Luisa Seiler (Executive director of Schwarzkopf Foundation), Christiana Xenofontos (European Youth Forum), Maria Atansova (Young European of 2020), and Alexandru Manda (Young European of 2021).

We gladly arrange an interview with the awardee and jury members.

Anahita Neghabat introduces herself