May 14, 2021

Contact: Pam Mola, Communications Officer

NEW LONDON - The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut announced today that President & CEO Maryam Elahi will receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Eastern Connecticut State University at the Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

Prior to joining the Community Foundation in 2013 and for more than 25 years, Elahi served in positions of leadership in the international human rights community as an advocate, teacher, and grant-maker.

Elahi was the director of the International Women’s Program at the Open Society Foundations in NYC from 2007 until 2013. She had previously been the founding director of the Human Rights Program at Trinity College in Hartford, establishing the first undergraduate college Human Rights Program in the United States. She taught courses on international human rights law at Trinity College, as well as at the Oxford University Summer International Human Rights Program. Elahi served as the Advocacy Director on the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe for Amnesty International in Washington, DC from 1990 to 1997. Over the years, she has led human rights missions to dozens of countries around the world.

Elahi is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston College Law School, and Williams College. She is also on the advisory boards of numerous international human rights organizations. She was a former chair of the International Human Rights Committee of the American Bar Association and previously served on the boards of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, Center for Justice and Accountability, and ACLU of CT.

Elahi noted, “I am honored by this recognition from Eastern Connecticut State University and proud to be a part of the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021.”

Elahi will also be a speaker at the Commencement Exercises for the 2021 Graduate Students.

Watch Elahi Message to Graduates

About the Community Foundation
Serving 42 towns and comprised of over 570 charitable funds, the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut puts philanthropy into action to address the needs, rights and interests of the region, focusing on four priority areas: empowering youth, promoting basic needs and rights, preserving the environment, and advancing animal welfare. The Foundation manages a permanent community endowment and has awarded more than $72 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofits and students since its founding in 1983. To learn more, visit