Iran native and third-​​year law school stu­dent Sohrab Ahmari has co-​​edited an anthology of essays penned by young Middle Eastern dis­si­dents enti­tled “Arab Spring Dreams.”

The book, which includes a for­ward by activist and author Gloria Steinem, will be pub­lished by Pal­grave Macmillan on May 8.

The col­lec­tion of essays fea­tures more than three-​​dozen sto­ries of life under the region’s oppres­sive regimes, ranging from tales of pre­mar­ital sex to the fight for polit­ical freedom in coun­tries including Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Algeria.

This isn’t an aca­d­emic journal that has an ax to grind,” Ahmari explained. “We’re giving raw access to authentic voices.”

Lech Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the former pres­i­dent of Poland, praised the book, which, he said, “clearly demon­strates that no matter where we live or what reli­gion we follow, cer­tain fun­da­mental values are universal.”

The Amer­ican Islamic Con­gress, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to building both inter­faith and interethnic under­standing, spon­sored an essay con­test in 2005 in which young Middle Eastern dis­si­dents were asked to speak out in sup­port of freedom and jus­tice. The win­ners were selected to appear in the anthology.

The non­profit picked the per­fect co-​​editor. Over the last five years, Ahmari has penned columns, fea­ture sto­ries and book reviews for The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The New Republic, for which he recently cri­tiqued late Chilean nov­elist Roberto Bolaño’s final book, “The Third Reich.”

Protests fol­lowing the 2009 Iranian pres­i­den­tial elec­tion prompted Ahmari to pub­lish columns on polit­ical tur­moil in his home country under his own name. “The brutal crack­down by the Iranian regime made me decide to speak out and write on the record,” he explained. “After that, I started cold pitching edi­tors and magazines.”

Ahmari — who serves as a non­res­i­dent asso­ciate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, a cross-​​partisan, British-​​based think tank ded­i­cated to freedom, lib­erty and con­sti­tu­tional rights — observes Iran from the com­fort of the United States. “The Iranian regime is prob­ably aware of me and I would prob­ably be arrested upon leaving the country’s air­port,” he said.

Ahmari recently had the oppor­tu­nity to chat with Steinem at her Man­hattan apart­ment, where she asked him to edit her for­ward to the anthology. “It was a hum­bling expe­ri­ence,” Ahmari noted. “I told her that she writes beautifully.”

What does the fem­i­nist icon think of “Arab Spring Dreams?” As Ahmari put it, “She said it was an oppor­tu­nity to hear what’s going on in the Middle East beyond the cen­sored mate­rial that Western audi­ences get from the region.”