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Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi-American humanitarian, entrepreneur, author, and media commentator who has dedicated herself to women’s rights and freedom. At the age of 23, she founded Women for Women International—a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of war.
Under her leadership (1993-2011), Women for Women International grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to more than 370,000 in 8 conflict areas, leading to a distribution of more than 114 million dollars in aid and loans. Salbi is also the author of three books: the national bestseller “Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam” (with Laurie Becklund); “The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope”; and “If You Knew Me, You Would Care.” Her books received support from iconic women writers such as Alice Walker and from several celebrities including, but not limited to, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, and Annie Lennox.
In 2010, President Clinton nominated Salbi as one of the 21st century heroes as featured in Harper's Bazaar. Newsweek and The Guardian named her in the Top 100 list of Most Influential Women (2011) and The Economist Intelligence Unit identified her as one of most inspirational women (2011). Most recently, Fast Company included Salbi on the list of 100 Most Influential Women (2012), and PBS’ Makers series highlighted Salbi as one of the Women Who Make America. Salbi has received extensive coverage in US, UK, and global media from CNN to The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Independent. Most notably, Salbi appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show 10 times. Salbi was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and the Clinton Global Initiative Lead by President Clinton in 2010. Salbi is currently co-producing a documentary with Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker on the role of women in the Arab Revolutions.