Zainab Salbi

Zainab Salbi is cofounder and chief executive officer of Women for Women International. In 1993, at the age of 23, Salbi established the organization to help women survivors of war move from crisis and instability to self-reliance and active citizenship. A survivor of war herself, Salbi grew up in Iraq, and was sent to America for an arranged, but ultimately abusive, marriage. Stranded in America by the Gulf War, she escaped the marriage and started her life over.

Since Women for Women International’s inception, hundreds of thousands of women have joined a global movement to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives and contribute to the political and economic health of their societies. The organization has served more than 153,000 women in nine countries around the world, providing financial assistance, job skills, and rights awareness training. Salbi, who has dedicated her life to the belief that stronger women build stronger nations, was honored by former President Bill Clinton for her work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, named Time magazine’s “Innovator of the Month,” and received the Forbes Trailblazer Award. Her work has been featured in major media outlets, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Salbi serves as a young global leader for the World Economic Forum, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum and the Council of Foreign Relations. She is author of 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.


What People are Saying About This Person

“[Zainab Salbi is] a recognized force for women’s rights and self-sufficiency.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

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