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Sakena Yacoobi

song written by Sara Colman

honored in partnership with United Nations Decade of Women and University of Wolverhampton

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), which she founded in 1995 in response to the lack of education and health care that the Afghan people were facing after decades of war and strife. Since its founding, AIL has either directly or indirectly impacted the lives of millions of Afghans. Under her leadership, AIL continues as an innovative organization working at the grassroots level helping communities and individuals.

She is also co- founder and Vice President of Creating Hope International (CHI). In addition, Sakena has established private facilities in Afghanistan: 4 schools, a hospital and a radio station.

Dr. Yacoobi has 6 honorary doctorates from institutions, including Princeton University. Dr. Yacoobi was honored in 2017 with the Sunhak Peace Prize and in 2016 as the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education awardee, the 2015 WISE Prize for Education Laureate and the 2013 recipient of the Opus Prize. She is both a Kravis Prize and  Gruber Prize awardee. Sakena is a Skoll Social Entrepreneur, Schwab Social Entrepreneur, Ashoka fellow and was nominated as one of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize.

She serves on a number of boards and panels including, New Global Citizens, the Advisory Council for the Center for Social Impact Learning at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and is a former board member for the Global Fund for Women. She is an advisor to the Fetzer Institute, and is a member of the US - Afghan Women’s Council. Before founding AIL, Dr. Yacoobi was a professor at D’Etre University in Detroit, MI and was Coordinator of the Women’s Programs for the International Rescue Committee in the Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan.