Human rights activist and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, Nadia Murad is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, is a harrowing account of the genocide against the Yazidi people of Iraq and Nadia’s imprisonment by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
Nadia grew up in a small farming village in the Sinjar region of Northern Iraq. In 2014, ISIS attacked her village and killed thousands of Yazidis, including her beloved mother and several of her brothers. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into sexual slavery. After escaping captivity, Nadia relocated to Germany as a refugee and began raising awareness of the ongoing plight of the Yazidi community and the need to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Nadia is the Founder and President of Nadia’s Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding communities in crisis and advocating for survivors of sexual violence. Nadia’s Initiative’s current work is focused on the sustainable re-development of the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar, Iraq, and pursuing holistic justice for survivors of ISIS atrocities.
Prior to founding Nadia’s Initiative, in 2016, Nadia became the first United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. That year, she was also awarded the Council of Europe Václav Havel Award for Human Rights and Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In 2018, she won the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege. Together, they founded the Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. In 2019, Nadia was appointed as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate.
In her capacity as a member of France’s Gender Advisory Council, Nadia has also advocated G7 member states to adopt legislation that protects and promotes women’s rights. Nadia worked with the German Mission to the United Nations to pass UN Security Council Resolution 2467, which expands the UN’s commitments to end sexual violence in conflict. Nadia was also a driving force behind the drafting and passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2379, which established the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD). Since 2015, Nadia has been working with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to bring ISIS before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Opening Plenary Sponsorship
NAFSA, the world’s largest association dedicated to international education and exchange, invites you to partner with us as a 75th NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo sponsor of this year's opening plenary featuring Nadia Murad. Contact us.