At the age of 23, Zainab Salbi founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of wars by offering support, tools, and access to the life-changing skills necessary to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency. Under her leadership as the organization’s CEO (1993-2011), the organization grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to more than 478,000 marginalized women in 8 conflict areas. It also distributed more than $120 million in direct aid and micro credit loans that impacted more than 1.7 million family members.
Salbi is also the host and creator of several TV shows including: #MeToo, Now What? on PBS (2018); The Zainab Salbi Project, original series on Huffington Post (2016); The Nidaa Show with TLC Arabic, where she started with the historic first interview of Oprah Winfrey in the Arab world; and a new original series with Yahoo News! Through Her Eyes with Zainab Salbi, exploring contemporary issues from a female perspective. She frequently appears on Morning Joe.
Salbi is the author of several books including the national bestseller Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam, If You Knew Me You Would Care, and her latest, Freedom is an Inside Job: Owning Our Darkness and Our Light to Heal Ourselves and the World.
Salbi has been consistently identified as one of the women impacting the world. People magazine named her as one of the “25 Women Changing The World” in 2016, Foreign Policy magazine named her as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers, Fast Company identified her as one of "100 Most Creative People in Business", and The Guardian has listed her on their "Top 100 Women of Activists and Campaigners.” In 2017, Arabian Business named Salbi as the “#1 Most Influential Arab Woman in the World” and has since been joined by Gulf Business to consistently name her as one of the World’s Most Influential Arabs. Most recently, she was identified as one of the "100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2019" by Watkins.
Salbi was recently selected as a jury of The Hilton Humanitarian Prize - the biggest award for humanitarian work throughout the world. Salbi sits on the Board of Directors of Synergos and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP).