Lina AbiRafeh

Executive Director, The Arab Institute for Women

Lebanon

Lina AbiRafeh is a global women’s rights expert with decades of experience worldwide. For the last six years, she has served as the Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University, an academic/activist institute covering the 22 Arab states. The Institute was established in 1973 as the first women’s institute in the Arab region – and one of the first globally.

Lina spent over 20 years in development and humanitarian contexts 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 TEDx talk, Women Deliver PowerTalk, keynote address for Swedish International Development Agency annual meeting, amongst others.

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. She speaks and publishes frequently on a range of gender issues, most recently on the need for a feminist response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Arab women and girls. She believes women’s leadership is the strongest vehicle for peace and sustainable development. Her piece I Hate International Women’s Day has resonated with women’s rights activists worldwide.

Lina is among the Gender Equality Top 100 worldwide in 2018 and 2019. She was awarded a Vital Voices fellowship for 2021 for outstanding women leaders and was recognized by the Women’s Media Center as one of their Progressive Women’s Voices for 2021 and is featured in their database of experts.