Zena Agha is a Palestinian-Iraqi poet, writer, activist and public speaker from London. She graduated from Warwick University (UK) with First Class Honours in History and Politics in 2015 and was awarded the Outstanding Student Contribution Award. She spent her year abroad spent reading International Relations at Sciences Po Paris. Zena is currently studying Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, having been one of nine students awarded the prestigious Kennedy Scholarship.
At 17, Zena was the youngest ever member of Operation Black Vote’s (OBV) MP Shadowing scheme working in the British Parliament under the mentorship of Fiona MacTaggart, MP for Slough, where she campaigned for a boycott of Israeli settlement foodstuffs. In recognition her voluntary work, Zena was nominated for the London Mayor Young Peace Prize.
Zena founded and coordinated Warwick University’s largest poetry collective ‘Shoot from the Lip’ running poetry slams in Leamington Spa and delivering poetry workshops to young people in the surrounding area. Zena has performed poetry in London, the Midlands and Paris and has amassed thousands of YouTube views. She worked with Operation Black Vote to produce and direct a series of spoken word films and interviews called ‘The Power of Poetry‘ project in 2013.
Zena co-founded ‘Infita7’ – a website which examines the Middle East and Arab world with a Palestinian-American writer she met whilst studying in Paris. It attempts to de-emphasise the East/West dichotomy and geo-political divide. Zena speaks Arabic, English and French and is a passionate activist for Palestine.
Media credits include The Independent, BBC Arabic and the BBC world service. Zena is fascinated by the Middle East, its diaspora and its relationship with the West, she holds the Middle East very dear and uses words to unknit its complexity.
Zena currently studies at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.