Sara Minkara

Founder & CEO

Biography

Sara Minkara is the Founder and CEO of Empowerment Through Integration (ETI), a nonprofit working to achieve an inclusive society through the recognition and elimination of social and cultural stigma against disabilities. ETI promotes the elevation of marginalized voices and viewpoints, and a robust and authentic respect for individual value across the globe. A Lebanese American woman who lost her sight at the young age of seven, Sara founded ETI as a college student, in 2011. ETI is both a testament to Sara's personal triumphs and an extension of her unwavering passion for empowering persons with disabilities to be catalysts for change in their own lives, their communities, and beyond. Her personal pledge to equip young people with disabilities with the confidence and skills to succeed as individuals and advocates blossomed during her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College. Sara's deeply personal mission was further cemented during her time at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, where she earned an MA in Public Policy. Since founding ETI, Sara has become an internationally recognized advocate in the areas of disability inclusion, female leadership and social entrepreneurship. 

Sara has received numerous awards and fellowships for her passionate advocacy of disability rights, including:  

Awards 

  • Member of the inaugural Cohort of Cafe 100 in 2018
  • Forbes "30 Under 30" class of 2017 in the Social Entrepreneurs Division
  • First place at the Girl’s Impact World Film Festival in 2015, for a video on ETI’s work
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology IDEAS Global Challenge Award in 2011
  • The Margaret Freeman Bowers Award in 2011 
  • The Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award in 2009  

 

Fellowships 

A dynamic and memorable speaker, Sara gives talks and facilitates workshops across the globe, relying on her personal and professional background and her expertise to discuss topics such as disability inclusion, social entrepreneurship, empowerment, and women’s leadership. Over the years, Sara has been invited to speak at wide ranging events, including: 

  • US State Department Speaker’s Program, including a speaking tour in Kyrgyzstan in early 2018 
  • 2017 World Government Summit
  • 2017 Second Annual Harkin International Disability Employment Summit  
  • 2017 TEDx talk on the theme of “Impact” 
  • 2017 UNESCO’s Seventh Annual Youth Forum
  • 2016 Ninth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Certified in teambuilding and negotiation, Sara also serves as the primary facilitator for ETI’s exclusive “In the Dark” series, provocative and rewarding experiences that have been customized for clients including the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, Airbnb, Exelon and Vital Voices. Through these experiences, Sara is able to incorporate all aspects of her identity—as a Blind, Muslim, Arab-American woman—together to foster in others an understanding of the complex nature of their own identities, and to reconsider how they view and value others, within society’s many preconceived “–isms.”  Through her expert facilitation, Sara uses artifical blindness as a tool to encourage guests to embrace their own and others’ multiple identities, ultimately leading to true empowerment and inclusion. 

For “In the Dark” Experiences and Speaking Engagements: 

If you would like to have a customized “In the Dark” experience facilitated for your group, please contact Lauren Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, at ljohnson@etivision.org

If you would like to contact Sara for a speaking engagement, please email info@etivision.org

Media Appearances

  • Featured in RedBull piece on Story Telling for Social Entrepreneurship, August 2018
  • Inkline Magazine Go-Getter's Feature, May 2018
  • Interview on a NTS Morning Show in Kyrgyzstan in the Kyrgyz Language, February 2018.
  • Featured Interview in Women in Foreign Policy Website, January 2018
  • Interviewed by Judith Heumann for Heumann Perspective Series, March 2017
  • ETI was featured on Lebanon's Ministry of Social Affairs website, February 2017
  • BBC Arabic radio, February 2017
  • Interview on the Lebanese show, Btehla El Hayet, January 2017
  • Profile on the New Arab, January 2017
  • Featured in the Daily Star of Lebanon, January 2017
  • Featured in Technical.ly DC, January 2017
  • Selected as a Forbes "30 Under 30" honoree, January 2017
  • Featured in The Tempest's #40WomentoWatch, December 2016
  • Profile of Camp Rafiqi on UCIP-Lebanon, November 2016
  • Article about Camp Rafiqi in Annahar Newspaper (Lebanon), November 2016
  • ETI's tree planting projected featured on Koura.org's Facebook page featured ETI's tree planting project, November 2016
  • Med News in Lebanon posted about ETI’s recycling project on its Facebook page, October 2016
  • Featured on Outlook AUB's website, October 2016
  • Article about Camp Rafiqi on Al Mustaqbal newspaper’s website, July 2016
  • Featured on Kourapress.org's Facebook page, July 2016
  • Camp Rafiqi featured on the National News Agency's website (Lebanon), July 2017
  • Two articles on Camp Rafiqi on koura.org (Lebanon). They can be found here and here. More information and pictures can be found on their Facebook page here
  • Named a Halcyon Incubator Fellow for her work growing ETI, June 2015
  • Profiled on the Harvard Gazette, along with the short film about her, "Losing Sight, But Gaining a Vision," February 2015
  • Mentioned in this piece from Bustle, along with the short film about her, "Empowerment Through Integration: A Portrait of Sara Minkara," December 2015
  • Selected as a finalist in the 2013 President's Challenge for social entrepreneurship at Harvard University, March 2013

Speaking Appearances

  • Invited Speaker, TEDxTysons (June 2017, Washington, DC)
  • Invited Presenter, 2017 Conference, The Society for Diversity (June 2017, Chicago, IL)
  • Invited Panelist, Conference of States Parties (COSP) to UN CRPD (June 2016, New York City, NY)
  • Panelist and Speaker, 2017 World Government Summit (February 2017, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Keynote Speaker, Muhsn Gala (October 2015, Chicago, IL)
  • Invited Speaker, Isna Convention on Disability (September 2015, Chicago, IL)
  • Keynote Speaker, Women Empowerment Session for Anti-Arab American Discrimination Conference (June 2014, Washington, DC)
  • Commencement Speaker, Harvard Arab (Students) Graduation (May 2014, Cambridge, MA)
  • Invited Panelist, CGI U 3rd & 6th Annual Meeting (April 2013, St. Louis, MO; April 2010, Miami, FL)
  • Invited Advocacy & Awareness Mentor, CGI U 4th Annual Meeting (April 2011, San Diego, CA)