Lina Abirafeh
Director General Arab Institute for Women

Dr. Lina Abirafeh has served as Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women (AiW) since 2015. Lina brings a strong feminist activist orientation to the Institute, promoting education and research to advance social change and policy change – and ultimately to improve the lives of women and girls in the Arab region. Prior to joining AiW, Lina spent over 20 years in development and humanitarian contexts, working with the United Nations and other international organizations in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, and others. Her specific expertise is in gender-based violence prevention and response, summarized by her 2015 TEDx talk, her 2019 Women Deliver PowerTalk, and her 2019 keynote address for Swedish International Development Agency annual meeting, amongst others. Additionally, Lina is a board member of various organizations including SheDecides, Forced Migration Review, and Greenpeace MENA, amongst others. In 2018, Lina was listed as one of the Gender Equality Top 100: The Most Influential People in Global Policy - one of only two Arabs to make the list. She received this honor again in 2019 from over 9000 nominations. Lina completed her doctoral work from the London School of Economics and published “Gender and International Aid in Afghanistan: The Politics and Effects of Intervention” based on her research.

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