Colette Ghunim, Co-Founder of Mezcla Media Collective, Named Obama Foundation United States Leader

Mezcla Media Collective announced that Co-Founder Colette Ghunim is among the first cohort of 100 emerging changemakers selected to participate in the Obama Foundation’s Leaders USA program. The Obama Leaders program is a six-month virtual program that supports and connects emerging leaders in the United States, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe through a values-based leadership framework inspired by the ideals and legacy of President and Mrs. Obama. Chosen from a highly competitive pool of applications, Colette Ghunim was selected to join the program for their work to cultivate a thriving ecosystem for women and non-binary filmmakers of color and is ready to build their skills and expand their impact across public, private, and nonprofit sectors. 

The inaugural cohort of United States “Obama Leaders” is composed of values-driven changemakers    from every corner of the country. Hailing from 37 states; Washington, D.C.; American Samoa; Guam; and five tribal nations, these Obama Leaders are united by their passion for building a stronger, more sustainable, and more inclusive world.

As a documentary filmmaker and nonprofit co-founder, Colette Ghunim’s passion lies at the cross section of social impact and visual storytelling. Her first documentary, The People’s Girls (2016), received over 2 million views and won Best Short Documentary at the Arab Film Festival for its bold spotlight on street harassment in Egypt.

Here is a look at the trailer for this impactful film…

In co-production with Kartemquin Films, she is directing Traces of Home, her first feature-length film documenting her quest to find home via two trips to Mexico and Palestine to locate the houses her parents were forced to leave decades ago. Colette’s work has been highlighted on international outlets such as Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Univision, and TEDx. She was named 2020 Filmmaker of the Moment by Newcity’s Chicago Film 50 List and was listed on Arab America’s “30 Under 30” list. Colette is also the co-founder of Mezcla Media Collective, a nonprofit that unites over 700 women and non-binary filmmakers of color in Chicago to thrive as storytellers and healers of their communities. 

“We are excited to welcome these 100 changemakers from across the United States into the Obama Foundation family,” said Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “Our newest Obama Leaders are already making a difference in their communities and are ready to take their work to the next level. They embody the values of President and Mrs. Obama, and their impactful work will create positive change in communities across the country.”

The Leaders USA program offers participants a unique and comprehensive experience, including a values-driven leadership curriculum, action labs focused on strengthening democratic institutions and culture in the U.S., community groups for fostering constructive dialogue in a polarized environment, and one-on-one support to help tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. As part of the six-month program, Colette Ghunim will convene virtually each week with the United States Obama Leaders cohort for interactive sessions designed to help them drive change by honing their leadership skills, building deep relationships with their peers, and engaging with thought leaders and members of the Obama Foundation community. Colette will also have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, participate in various virtual experiences and special events, including one-on-one conversations with experienced mentors in the Foundation’s global network.  

To learn more about Colette Ghunim and Mezcla Media Collective, visit mezclamediacollective.org

To learn more about the program and the individuals who make up the inaugural cohort, visit obama.org/programs/leaders/usa/

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