Semhar Araia is Founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization supporting Africa’s next generation of women diaspora leaders. DAWN seeks to empower and amplify the contributions of African diaspora women inAfrica’s growth, security and prosperity.
With over ten years experience as a U.S. policy analyst and advocate on the Horn of Africa and Sudan, Semhar specializes in conflict resolution, development and the diaspora. A lawyer by training, she previously served as Oxfam International’s Horn of Africa Regional Policy Advisor, a congressional foreign policy staffer, and anAfrica analyst for The Elders. She also served as an attorney on the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission hearings.
In addition to DAWN, Semhar spends about half her time in Africa and is a frequent guest speaker on US-Africa policy, effective advocacy strategies and civic engagement. She has been featured on various media outlets and was recognized in The Root’s Top 100, which recognizes emerging and established African-American leaders making extraordinary contributions.
She is a 2012 White House Champion of Change and was commended by President Barack Obama for her diaspora leadership. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Universityof Saint Thomas and her juris doctor fromMarquette University Law School. Semhar was born in New York City to Eritrean immigrant parents and currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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