Team

Nadia Murad
President

Nadia Murad, co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. Nadia’s peaceful life was brutally interrupted in 2014 when Daesh attacked her homeland in Sinjar - to ethnically cleanse Iraq of all Yazidis. Like many minority groups, the Yazidis, have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women, in particular, have suffered much, as they have been, and continue to be victims of sexual violence.

Much of Murad’s advocacy work is focused on meeting with global leaders to raise awareness about Daesh and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidi people. Nadia is the President and Chairman of Nadia’s Initiative which actively works to persuade governments and other organizations to support efforts to rebuild the Yazidi homeland financially.

 

Abid Shamdeen
Executive Director

Abid Shamdeen is a global development specialist.  Born and raised in Sinjar, Iraq, Shamdeen co-founded Yazda, a leading Yazidi non-profit organization formed to assist victims of the Yazidi genocide.  He was responsible for managing, implementing, and evaluating large-scale redevelopment projects in Sinjar.  He was a key member of the Yazda management team that established strategic priorities and determined emergency response initiatives.  Shamdeen worked for the US Army in Iraq as a cultural advisor and translator.  He has a BA in Political Science from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Shamdeen is a co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative.

 

Olivia Wells
Director of Programs

Olivia Wells is a human rights advocate with a master’s degree in human rights law. Her expertise is in women’s rights, international criminal law, and genocide prevention with a regional focus on the Middle East. Over the past six years, she has worked with several European and American NGOs, conducting policy research, promoting civic mobilization, managing donor relations, and establishing and maintaining partnerships. She has worked on the ground with marginalized communities in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Southern Africa to help implement community led development. She has also worked with refugee aid programs in Southern Europe and is responsible for initiating several psychological support projects for refugees in Athens, Greece.

 

Kerry Propper
Strategic Advisor

Kerry Propper is the co-founder and Managing Partner of ATW Partner and co-founder and Chairman of Chardan Capital. He was the producer of the award winning film, Watchers of the Sky - a documentary chronicling the life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who believed the law could protect the world from mass atrocities. Kerry was also part of the original team that initiated the campaign to bring ISIS before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. He co-founded Yazda’s Genocide Documentation Project which has been collecting evidence of Human Rights violations committed against the Yazidis. Kerry sits on the board of Voices of Rwanda, an organization focused on taking and archiving testimonies from Rwandan genocide survivors testimonies. He is a co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative.

Elizabeth Bohart
Strategic Advisor

Elizabeth Bohart is a social impact strategist and founder of the Antelope Foundation.  Bohart works internationally with start-up organizations and organizations in transition to build community driven initiatives that focus on addressing the critical needs of highly vulnerable communities.  She was Executive Producer and Director of Outreach for the Sundance award winning film – Watchers of the Sky – where she developed genocide education, community engagement and advocacy programs for high school and middle school students.  She was a 2016 Nantucket Project Scholar. Bohart is a co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative.

 

Alison Anderson
Finance Director

Alison Anderson is an agile, highly-skilled nonprofit sector consultant with over ten years of experience working in the management of nonprofit organizations. She helps nonprofit organizations thrive internally so that they can deliver on mission. She holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School of Public Policy and a B.A. from Davidson College. In addition to Nadia's Initiative, Alison’s clients include a diverse pool of amazing nonprofits in a variety of sectors.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown
Special Advisor

Elizabeth is a community-minded entrepreneur, with experience in communications and campaign development. She has been instrumental in bringing together celebrities, governments, businesses, and nonprofits around global issues for over a decade; with a focus on the rights of women and girls. This work included supporting the Yazidi community in initiating the campaign to bring ISIS before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide.  She helped launch Yazda’s Genocide Documentation Project which collects evidence of Human Rights violations committed against the Yazidis. She is a co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative and Uncommon Union.