Hana Assafiri has dedicated her professional and private life to removing barriers that prevent women from living prosperous lives. By opening her first restaurant in 1998, the popular Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy–now an institution for many Victorians, Hana has provided employment opportunities for marginalised members of the community. In 2015, she was awarded TimeOut’s Legend Award for her flair for innovation and entrepreneurship. Internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei also chose to include Hana in his famous collection of portraits of local social activists.
To foster cross-cultural conversation and discussion, Hana holds monthly events coined ‘Speed Date a Muslim’ and ‘Conversation Salons’ to bring together academics, journalists and community organisations to debate and discuss contemporary issues, with a focus on women’s issues, racism and the need for plurality and a progressive vision. She has also been a mentor for many young women, particularly from marginalised backgrounds.
In March 2017 Hana was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, celebrating her contribution made to local communities and human rights.