Health & Medicine is pleased to announce our 2023 award winners! These Chicago-area leaders exemplify the Health & Medicine mission to build power and momentum for social justice and health equity in Illinois.
Help us celebrate the public health champions in our community! Join us for our 2023 Health & Medicine Awards Gala on September 20 as we recognize these public health leaders.
Nasir Zakaria, Rohingya Culture Center
Nasir Zakaria is a Rohingya refugee who fled from Burma to Bangladesh at the age of 14. In 2013, after traveling to Thailand and Malaysia, he resettled in Chicago with his wife, daughter, and grandfather. While learning English, Nasir got a job as a dishwasher at the Rivers Casino. He saw the need for a place for the Rohingya population to gather and receive services as there were no Rohingya people in Chicago before refugees began arriving in 2010. In 2016, he founded the Rohingya Culture Center, with help from the Zakat Foundation of America, to support his community, splitting his time between his dishwashing job and the Center. Nasir remains Executive Director for the Center, which has become not only a place for programs serving Rohingya and other refugees but a place that offers community-building activities.
Nasir is a community leader for the Rohingya population and is known nationally and internationally throughout the Rohingya community for establishing the first-of-its-kind Rohingya Culture Center. He is highly respected for his integrity and dedication, always putting the needs of others before his own. He has a deep understanding of the culture and traditions of his people and uses this knowledge to create meaningful initiatives that strengthen the community. Nasir is a proud Rohingya American who is thankful to be welcomed into the United States and uses this opportunity to help others.