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Sherrie Westin
Most Creative People 2017

Sherrie Westin

Executive Vice President of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop

For reaching children everywhere

Zari is a 6-year-old girl who loves to learn, aspires to be a doctor—and is bright purple. She’s Sesame Workshop’s first Afghan Muppet, introduced last year on Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden), which airs throughout Afghan­istan. The hijab-wearing Muppet falls under the purview of Sherrie Westin, who works with NGOs and international production partners to identify ways to educate preschool children and their families in post-conflict areas. In a country where female literacy hovers at 24%, Zari’s lessons can change attitudes: Research conducted by the State Department (a funder of the project) has shown that fathers who watch the program cite it as the reason they permit their daughters to attend school. “Our ability to reach adults in a nonthreatening way gives us a tremendous opportunity to plant the seeds for cultural change,” says Westin. In May 2016, she began working with the International Rescue Committee to create content tailored to the experiences and needs of children in refugee camps. The program is currently being piloted in Jordan and will roll out to other countries next year. 

Sherrie Westin On The Web
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