On AHA Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we look to the future: AHA Executive Director George Zarubin unveils our revamped mission

Published 10/19/2022

15 Years of Achievements

I still can’t quite believe that it’s been over 5 years since I became AHA Foundation’s Executive Director. We’ve had many victories in this time. We’ve seen a slew of new laws passed banning female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage across the nation, including the bumper year of 2019 when we witnessed the highest ever number of state FGM bans in a single year.

We fulfilled our founder Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s dream of reaching out to college students when we launched a campus program, the Critical Thinking Fellowship (CTF), to promote free speech and Enlightenment ideas at colleges across the nation. We have spearheaded the creation of a new network committed to exposing and opposing Islamism, the CLARITy Coalition.

But this period represents only about a third of AHA’s history, which stretches back to October 19, 2007, when we were incorporated as The Foundation for Freedom of Expression in the District of Columbia. As the original name shows, we started out with a narrower focus, but we broadened out very quickly to helping the most vulnerable in our society: women and girls at risk of FGM, child/forced marriage, honor violence, and other such abuses.

Yet, as our campus program shows, we never lost sight of that original ideal, either: we saw these seemingly disparate projects as rooted in the same underlying principle of fighting for liberty for all.

And that is also why our name became AHA Foundation, after our founder, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. AHA was set up to put Ayaan’s ideas into practice, and ever since our incorporation, that is exactly what we have done. Ayaan is a tireless champion for women’s rights and free speech and inquiry as well as a committed opponent of Islamist extremism. AHA Foundation stands for these things, too, and we are proud to stand alongside our founder in these difficult and often sensitive but essential battles.

A Revamped Mission for the Future

As we celebrate 15 years, we have some news for you. AHA Foundation has a revamped mission statement, one that will hopefully carry us into the next 15 years and possibly even beyond. It is a call to arms: “to preserve, protect, and promote Western freedoms and ideals.” 


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