President and Chairman
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 savagely 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 Shamden is a global development specialist. Born and raised in Sinjar, Iraq, Shamden 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. Shamden 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. Shamden is a co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative.
Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown
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.
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.
Iraq Country Manager
Silvia Croll is an architect who has worked for several years in both the private and humanitarian sectors. In 1999, Silvia worked in Kosovo, renovating schools and a local hospital. In 2003, she worked as a field coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Tanzania on a cholera management project. From 2017 to 2018, Silvia lived in Dohuk in the Kurdistan region of Iraq where she worked as country director for the non-profit organization Yazda. As country director, she implemented humanitarian projects in the health, education, and livelihood sectors. She also supported the documentation of genocide through the collection of testimonies. In 2019, Silvia joined the Nadia’s Initiative team and is responsible for implementing NI projects in Iraq.
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.
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.
Saad Bapir is a Yazidi journalist and human rights advocate with a special interest in minority rights. Saad lost his brother and two cousins during ISIS’s 2014 genocidal campaign against the Yazidis. Saad completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan. After graduating, he worked as a journalist for a number of local news agencies in Iraq. He is fluent in English, Kurdish, and Arabic and has over four years of professional translation and interpretation experience. Before joining the Nadia’s Initiative team, Saad worked with the Yazidi nonprofit organization Yazda as their media director.
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.