Catherine Labiran is a 23 year old poet and human rights coordinator at the US Human Rights Network. She was born in Staten Island, New York, raised in Harrow, London and is now living in New Haven, Conneticut where she is studying for her Master’s Degree in African Studies at Yale University.
Catherine strives to infuse her diverse cultural experiences into exhilarating bodies of work, enabling them to live lives of their own. She was selected as a winner of SLAMbassadors UK 2010, a winner of 30 Nigeria House, and was conferred the honour of writing the official Olympic Poem for London 2012 as one of London’s “12 Poets for 2012”. In the past, she has been the poet in residence for Bang Said The Gun and Larmer Tree Festival. Her work has been translated into several languages and she has worked as a translator of arabic poems. She was the buddy poet for Wole Soyinka and TJ Dema during Poetry Parnassus and thousands of her poems were dropped by helicopter over Jubilee Gardens during this same event. Catherine is featured in the National Association for the Teaching of English’s ‘SLAM’ DVD that was sent to every high school in the United Kingdom. Her poems have not only been studied at high school level, but also at university level. She has performed in venues such as The House of Commons, The Royal Festival Hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, to name but a few. She has managed to perform across Europe, Africa and America. Catherine’s first book entitled ‘Ayisat’ was launched in Cape Town, South Africa in Novemeber 2013. ‘Ayisat’, which is stocked and sold internationally, can be read in Southbank Poetry Library.
At the US Human Rights Network, Catherine helps cultivate grassroots organizing power by supporting USHRN’s members and linking their work to events and activities happening at the United Nations. Catherine’s area of focus is the UN’s international Decade for People of African Descent where she coordinates a Working Group of individuals who are striving to help actualize the Decade’s goal of achieving recognition, justice and develop for people of African descent by 2024.
Outside of writing, studying and working Catherine prioritizes volunteering for local organizations. Catherine has held volunteer placements with the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the International Human Trafficking Institute and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence to name but a few.