University: University of Georgia
Organizations: Students for Justice in Palestine, Friends of Sabeel – North America, Orthodox Christian Campus Ministries, Eshhad: Center for the Protection of Minorities
Raphael Mina Eissa is an Egyptian-American student at the University of Georgia who has dedicated much of his academic life to advocating for oppressed peoples and marginalized communities around the world, and hopes to continue the work for years to come. He has been on the executive board of his campus SJP for several years, and is now the acting co-president. Raphael is particularly passionate about the plight of Christians and other religious minorities throughout the Middle East/North Africa (MENA). As a member of the largest Christian minority in the region, the Copts of Egypt, he regularly hosts protests, vigils, and commemorative events meant to express solidarity with various persecuted groups.
Additionally, his work with religious minorities has expanded to integrate advocacy for Palestinian Christians, having established the first campus chapter of Christians United for Palestine to underscore the experiences of an ancient community suffering under military occupation and decades-long ethnic cleansing. He has been interning for Friends of Sabeel – North America, a Palestinian Christian ecumenical organization, since 2015.
Raphael has also hosted a week-long event entitled “Armenian Genocide Awareness Week” for several years in a row on his university campus, having organized a number of successful marches which demanded federal and international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Raphael has also conducted research on state violations of physical integrity rights for the purpose of the Sub-National Analysis of Repression Project, and is currently interning for Eshhad: Center for the Protection of Minorities which aggregates and collates sectarian incidents throughout Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.
“Shame on the international community. Shame on our own brothers and sisters in the diaspora that ignore the sectarianism of our communities because they can’t be conveniently packaged as a product of Western imperialism. Shame on you for turning a blind eye to the suffering of my people. No one will save the Christians of the Middle East/North Africa– only God.”