Maryam and Nivaal Rehman are both double-majoring in PCJ and International Relations with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. The twins run their own non-profit while also working with several global advocacy organizations.

Maryam and Nivaal chose to pursue studies in Peace, Conflict and Justice together with International Relations and Women and Gender Studies, because they wanted to be able to better understand how the world works, the issues within it, and approaches to address them from as many disciplines as possible. These programs also aligned with the work that they are already doing, which will thus help them expand their knowledge and apply it further.

The twins began their activism journey when they were only eight years old, inspiring girls in their village in Pakistan to continue their education. While they are are originally from Pakistan, Maryam and Nivaal grew up in Canada and recognized from an early age that challenges existed here too. As a result, they got involved in social-justice based clubs throughout grade school.

In 2015, they started sharing their work on social media to inspire others around the globe. This was the genesis of The World With MNR, initially a media platform designed to bridge the gap in the media between reports on problems that exist in the world and what people can do to help. Over the years, Maryam and Nivaal have interviewed with Nobel-Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, and former Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde. In 2019, Maryam and Nivaal registered The World With MNR as a non-profit and now combine storytelling, advocacy and development to take action for climate justice, gender equality, and inclusivity through multiple initiatives and projects.


Rehman Twins, The withMNR, Discover360

From L to R: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Maryam Rehman, Nobel-Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai, and Nivaal Rehman

In line with their passion for storytelling, the Maryam and Nivaal also love creating films, including one that they directed and produced for Disney and the UN Girl Up Campaign’s “Dream Big Princess” project in 2018. Their latest film was their first feature-length documentary called Destined to Soar. It highlights their work in their village in Pakistan, but also covers their journey as they learn from other education activists and change-makers across the country. It has been screened all over the world, including at the UN for the 20th anniversary of the UN Girl’s Education Initiative.

Aside from their non-profit, Maryam and Nivaal have worked with global organizations such as the Malala Fund, the UN Girl Up Campaign, the David Suzuki Foundation, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Global Partnership.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this work has expanded even more: they have been able to work with the UN Girls’ Education Initiative to host Intergenerational Dialogues, moderate discussions, and work on their Transform Education Guiding Group in order to address the various challenges COVID-19 brings to girls’ education globally. Some of the dialogues the twins moderated featured world leaders like former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard; the UK Minister for Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development, Baroness Sugg, Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation; GPE’s CEO, Alice Albright; Norway’s State Secretary for International Development, Aksel Jacobsen; and Sierra Leone’s Minister for Education, David Sengeh. They also shared the stage with incredible leaders, including Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle at the Girl Up Leadership Summit this year.

The twins have learned  to balance their advocacy work with school from their eleven years of experience doing it. They have adopted time management skills and learned how to work collaboratively to balance their advocacy work with school. Both their advocacy work and their school work is a lot more than what they began with, but their time management and ability to work together on their extracurriculars and advocacy work has also improved significantly which allows the Maryam and Nivaal to balance their passions.

Maryam and Nivaal are constantly thinking of how to apply what they learn in PCJ to their advocacy work today. Whether it’s high-level conversations, their own understanding of the world, or initiatives they run through their non-profit, they love applying what they are learning in the moment. They consider this the most exciting part of being in PCJ.