Sara Minkara

Founder & President

Biography

Sara Minkara is the Founder and President of Empowerment Through Integration (ETI), a nonprofit focused on the empowerment and inclusion of youth with visual impairment in the Middle East-North Africa region. Sara herself is a Blind Lebanese American who lost her sight at the age of seven. She founded ETI out of her own personal experience and passion for empowering blind youth to be the catalysts for change in their communities. She is an internationally recognized advocate in the areas of disability inclusion and social entrepreneurship. Her personal and professional commitment to disability rights and youth empowerment began while she was an undergrad at Wellesley College and continued throughout her time at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Since founding ETI, Sara has continued her work in the social sector while also growing ETI from a summer camp to an organization that today reaches over 3,000 individuals across Lebanon and the United States. 

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

  • The Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award in 2009
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology IDEAS Global Challenge Award and Margaret Freeman Bowers Award in 2011
  • First place at the Girl’s Impact World Film Festival in 2015, for a video on ETI’s work

This past year, she has also been invited to speak on a panel at the United Nations Conference of State Parties, and to deliver a TEDx talk, slated for June 2017.

In addition, Sara currently serves as an Echoing Green Fellow, a Halcyon Incubator Fellow, and a Circle Fellow for ETI’s innovative work, and sits on ETI Lebanon's Board as a permanent member.  She was also selected as a Forbes “30 Under 30” for the 2017 class in the Social Entrepreneurs Division.

Media Appearances

  • 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)