Zainab Salbi is co-founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a grassroots international humanitarian and development organization helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives, families and communities. Since 1993, the organization has helped 250,000 women survivors of wars access social and economic opportunities through a program of rights awareness training, vocational skills education and access to income generating opportunities, thereby ultimately contributing to the political and economic health of their societies. Women for Women International programs worldwide have also engaged community leaders to advance women’s rights and socioeconomic opportunities, and have impacted more than 800,000 family and community members. In its 17-year history, the organization has distributed more than $79 million in direct aid, micro credit loans, and other program services.
Salbi has been honored by Former President Bill Clinton for her work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, named Time Magazine‘s “Innovator of the Month” and received Forbes’ Trailblazer Award. Salbi is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a member of the International Women’s Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations. She is also currently serving on the WITNESS Board of Directors and as a member of the UN Civil Society Advisory Group formed in the spirit of Security Council Resolution 1325 to advise on greater integration of women in peace and security efforts. She was also recently awarded the 2010 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award for her work in helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives. Her work has been featured in major media outlets, including 8 appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as well as CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Salbi is the author (with Laurie Becklund) of the national best selling book “Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam,” that is an account of life in Iraq and the hold that Saddam Hussein had over her family. She documents the stories of women survivors of wars in her second book “The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope.”
Salbi has a master’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies from George Mason University. She is a blogger for Marie Claire Magazine and the Huffington Post and documents her travels and encounters with women worldwide on Twitter.