Scholar Class – 2013
Mira Patel grew up in Massachusetts and is a proud graduate of Wellesley College. After working for Hillary Clinton in the Senate on defense and finance policy, Secretary Clinton asked Mira to join the State Department on the Policy Planning Staff where Mira advised her on gender and human rights issues. As one of the few openly gay woman of color in the Obama Administration and motivated by her experience of being rejected by her parents upon coming out as a teenager, Mira has pushed the United States to lead the fight to champion human rights for all. Identifying LGBT human rights as a priority, she proposed and helped Secretary Clinton to craft a major global address asserting that, “Gay rights are human rights,” and announcing the Global Equality Fund, a $5 million public private partnership that Mira conceived of and established with a team of interagency officials. The Fund has supported advocacy organizations in over 30 countries and is the largest U.S. government spending on LGBT human rights. In the first Presidential Memorandum on international LGBT rights, President Barack Obama highlighted the rapid response mechanism Mira established that marshals U.S. resources following anti-LGBT attacks, which has since been deployed successfully globally. In recognition, Mira was named in the “Out 100” in 2012 by Out Magazine.
As an MBA student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Mira strives to be an ambassador between the public and private sectors, facilitating innovative partnerships that further human rights, economic development, and social justice internationally.