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Yanar Mohammed

Co-founder and President of OWFI

Yanar Mohammed is a prominent Iraqi feminist who was born in Baghdad. She is a co-founder and president of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), a national women’s organization dedicated to rebuilding Iraq on the basis of secular democracy and human rights for all. Ms. Mohammed established the Defense of Iraqi Women's Rights (DIWR) in 1998. She is one of the most prominent women's rights campaigners in Iraq, and received the Gruber Foundation Women’s Rights Prize in 2008. Ms. Mohammed is also Editor-in-Chief of OWFI’s newspaper, Al-Mousawaat (Equality), and is a passionate speaker and advocate on behalf of Iraqi women and other marginalized and at-risk Iraqis. OWFI works to help serve vulnerable women including women with disabilities, Afro-Iraqis and Turkmen and Yazidi families displaced by the conflict. 

Under Ms. Mohammed’s leadership, OWFI’s work to meet the needs of survivors of gender-based violence has included providing shelter, psychosocial support and counseling, civic and human rights education, and life and job skills training. OWFI programs also include broadcasting about peace and respect for human rights to combat societal discrimination and negative attitudes via the radio and OWFI’s newspaper, and staging weekly protests advocating political participation for women. OWFI advocates on behalf of the most marginalized populations in Iraq, including those who are incarcerated, widowed, displaced, battered, or victims or at risk of honor crimes.