Leadership in Public Life, 2020
Nadia Murad is a Yazidi human rights activist who mobilizes awareness and support for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. Born into a farming community in Sinjar, Iraq, Nadia was 21 when ISIS attacked her homeland as part of a genocidal campaign to ethnically cleanse Iraq of all Yazidis. Several of her family members were killed before Nadia was taken to Mosul, where she and thousands of other Yazidi women were tortured and forced into sexual slavery.
Nadia managed to escape. She was offered asylum in Germany and began advocating on behalf of her community and the thousands of women and children who to this day remain captive. In pursuit of justice, she meets with global leaders to lobby for action and has initiated a historic suit against ISIS for crimes against humanity.
“The perpetrators of sexual violence against Yazidi and other women and girls are yet to be prosecuted for these crimes,” said Nadia. “If justice is not done, this genocide will be repeated against us and other vulnerable communities. Justice is the only way to achieve peace and co-existence among the various components of Iraq.”
In 2018, she established Nadia’ s Initiative, which provides urgent assistance to survivors of sexual violence and works towards the sustainable redevelopment of the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar. Survivor-centric and locally led projects focus on health, livelihoods, education, and women’ s rights – reviving hope for a persecuted minority that continues to be under attack.
Nadia was selected as a 2020 Global Leadership Awards Honoree.