Founder and CEO, Women for Women International
Helping Women Rebuild
About the Speaker
Zainab Salbi grew up in the shadow of Saddam Hussein and runs a nonprofit organization, Women for Women International. Her group promotes peace and has helped hundreds of thousands of women, who have endured war and civil unrest, gain the resources to become self-sufficient citizens. Holding a master’s degree in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Ms. Salbi founded the organization, based in Washington, D.C., in 1993. It has distributed $42 million in direct aid, microcredit loans, and other program services. It currently operates in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Women who survive war are strong, resilient and courageous; they just need some support dealing with the aftermath of conflict,” Ms. Salbi says. “So, we give them the tools they need to help themselves and their families, while providing them with the education to be leaders and advocates in their communities.” The daughter of Saddam’s pilot, Ms. Salbi fled Iraq at 19 and moved to the United States. She has received numerous recognitions for her work, including the 2007 New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and was honored in 1995 for humanitarian work in Bosnia at the White House by President Bill Clinton. She has written a memoir, Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam and The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope.