Maryam Monsef is the new MP for Peterborough–Kawartha and the new Minister for Democratic Institutions.
Monsef was born in Afghanistan. Her father died in unclear circumstances and in 1996, when she was 11 years old, Monsef’s mother opted to bring the family to Canada. After travelling through Iran, Pakistan and Jordan before arriving in Peterborough as refugees.
She is the first Afghan-born Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons.
Monsef is a co-recipient of the YMCA Peace Medallion and represented Peterborough at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2013.
She is an active volunteer and has served as president of the YWCA of Peterborough and Haliburton board and was director of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group. She also served as director of the New Canadian Centre, a non-profit organization supporting immigrants, refugees and other newcomers to the region.
While working on a Bachelor of Science in psychology at Trent University she co-founded the Red Pashmina Campaign, which has raised over $150,000 to support women in Afghanistan. She speaks English, Farsi and Dari.
In 2014 Monsef placed second in Peterborough’s mayoral race and later that year was selected as the Liberal Party’s candidate for the riding.