Zainab Salbi

  • Founder, Women for Women International
  • Best-Selling Author & TV Host
  • Humanitarian Serving Women Survivors of Wars
  • Named One of the top 100 "Most Creative People in Business" by Fast Company

Every once in a while a new voice emerges with the power to change the world. Zainab Salbi, activist and social entrepreneur, is such a voice. Ms. Salbi inspires and moves audiences with the passion of her personal experience as a survivor of war and her dedication to rebuilding communities after war, one woman at a time.


Zainab Salbi headshot
Past Hosts Include:
  • #movethedial
  • Mt. Holyoke College
  • Council of Foundations
  • The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Rave Reviews About Zainab Salbi as a Speaker
Zainab was phenomenal. She received a standing ovation from the audience and all the feedback on her presentation was great. I also think things had gone very smoothly in working with your agency. Both Laura and you were great to work with so I truly want to thank you for all your help in making our conference a huge success! I look forward to working with you again next year.

In conversation clip - On #MeToo and Showing Up Authentically | HOW Matters [2:29] - Get Sharable Link
Talks & Conversations with Zainab Salbi
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The Other Side of War

Ms. Salbi passionately engages audiences with her personal experience as a survivor of war and her dedication to rebuilding communities after war, one woman at a time. ...

Ms. Salbi passionately engages audiences with her personal experience as a survivor of war and her dedication to rebuilding communities after war, one woman at a time.

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Books by Zainab Salbi
Press & Media

People Magazine named her as one of the “25 Women Changing The World” in 2016, Foreign Policy Magazine named her as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers,” and Fast Company identified her as one of 100 “The Most Creative People in Business”.

At the age of 23, Zainab Salbi founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of wars by offering support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency. Under her leadership as the organization’s CEO (1993-2011), the organization grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to more than 400,000 women in 8 conflict areas. It also distributed more than $100 million in direct aid and micro credit loans that impacted more than 1.7 million family members.

Salbi is also the host and creator of several TV shows including #MeToo, Now What on PBS (2018), The Zainab Salbi Project, original series on Huffington Post(2016) and The Nidaa Show with TLC Arabic where she started with the historic first interview of Oprah Winfrey in the Arab world.

Salbi is also the author of the national bestseller Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam (with Laurie Becklund). Salbi has also authored 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.

Salbi currently serves as Editor-at-Large at Women in the World Media, which is a news platform in collaboration with the New York Times and is hosted on the NYT website. It consists of vivid journalistic narratives, stirring videos, and provocative discussions and is a premier showcase for women of impact—and for the men who champion them.

In 2010, President Clinton nominated Salbi as one of the 21st century heroes as featured by Harper’s BazaarNewsweek and The Guardian identified her in the Top 100 list of Most Influential Women (2011). The Economist Intelligent Unite named Salbi as one of most inspirational women (2011) and she was identified by Fast Company in the 100 most influential women list (2012), and by PBS Makers series as one of the women who make America. Most recently, Salbi was identified by Fortune Magazine as one of the Most Influential Women on Twitter (2014) and by Wear Your Voice as one of the Most Influential Women on Social Media (2015).

Salbi has received extensive coverage in US, UK and global media from CNN to The New York TimesFinancial TimesThe Independent, and, among many others, most notably appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show 10 times. Salbi was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and Clinton Global Initiative Lead by President Clinton in 2010.

Salbi is known for bringing international women’s issues to mainstream attention in the US, making philanthropy accessible to women at the grassroots level, and pioneering microcredit programs to post conflict areas. Salbi’s mission had always been to build programs that combine access to knowledge with access to resources to lead to lasting change in women’s lives.