Sustainable development

First Nominee


Zainab Salbi

Humanitarian, Author, and Media Personality

Oprah Winfrey named her as one of 25 women changing the world to People Magazine (2015), President Clinton named her as one of the 21st Century heroes to Harper’s Bazaar (2011) and Foreign Policy Magazine named her as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers (2016)


At the age of 23, Zainab founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives. Under her leadership as the organization’s CEO (1993-2011), the organization grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to over 460 000 women in 8 conflict areas leading to a distribution of more than $140 million dollars in aid and loans, it has impacted more than 1.7 million family members.


In 2015, Zainab launched Adin Productions, a company specializing in content for women and by women. Under her leadership, she created and hosted the award winning The Nida’A show a talk show dedicated to addressing and inspiring women in the Arab world, The Zainab Salbi Project, an original global series in collaboration with Huffington Post US and AOL, #MeToo, Now What? original series with PBS and Trough Her Eyes with Yahoo News.


Zainab is the author of several books including the national bestseller Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam; The Other side of War; Women’s Stories of Survivor and Hope; If You Knew me you Would Care; and Freedom is an Inside Job. She is consistently identified as one of the most influential women around the world by Newsweek (2011), The Guardian (2015) and Fast Company (2015), Arabian Business (2016/17/18).


She is currently focused on Herflix, a platform of films about women and by women from all over the world as its co-founder and Chief Content Officer. She also serves as a jury member of The Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize (a 2.5 million dollars annual award), and a board member of Synergos Institute, and International refugee Assistant Project.

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