Alaa Murabit

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Alaa Murabit

Dr. Murabit.jpg
Dr. Alaa Murabit at the European Development Days 2016
Born (1989-10-26) 26 October 1989 (age 30)
Alma materLondon School of Economics and Political Science
Al Zawiya University
OccupationMedical Doctor
Security Expert
Women's rights activist
Known forVoice of Libyan Women Founder
TED Speaker
The Omnis Institute Founder
Sustainable Development Goal Global Advocate
United Nations High Level Commissioner
UN Security Council Advisor
MIT Media Lab Fellow
Harvard Fellow
Ashoka Fellow
AwardsCanadian Meritorious Service Cross
James Joyce Award
Harvard Law Woman Inspiring Change
The New York Times TrustWomen Hero
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Forbes 30 Under 30
(See full list)

Alaa Murabit MSC (Arabic: آلاء المرابط‎; born 26 October 1989) is a Libyan-Canadian physician, Meritorious Service Cross recipient, one of 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals Advocates appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic growth. In 2019 Murabit was selected as one of the Top 20 of the World's 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy alongside Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Melinda Gates, and Michelle Obama.[1] Murabit is the co-founder of The Omnis Institute,[2] an independent non-profit organization that aims to work on critical global issues through the empowerment of emerging local leaders. She previously founded and spearheaded Voice of Libyan Women at the age of 21.[3]

Her TED Talk, released in July 2015, "What my religion really says about women" has been viewed over five million times on and YouTube combined,[4] was selected as the TED Talk of the Day and one of four moving TED Talks you should watch right now by The New York Times[5] and one of 12 TED Talks That Define the Future of Feminism [6]

She is a Forbes 30 Under 30, a UCD James Joyce Award recipient, one of Canada's 100 most impactful women in history,[7] and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Her leadership in global policy and security was recognized by Harvard Law who named her the youngest 2017 Woman Inspiring Change.[8] She has previously been named the Marisa Bellisario International Humanitarian by the Italian Government, the 2014 International TrustWomen Hero by The New York Times, one of 25 women under 25 to watch by Newsweek, a 100 Top Woman by the BBC and the SAFE Global Hero.

Murabit received her Medical Doctorate from Al Zawiya University in 2013 and a Masters in International Strategy and Diplomacy with Distinction from the London School of Economics in 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Murabit was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, the sixth of ten children in her family. Her father is a doctor.[9] She has stated that, although she initially had no plans on advocating women's rights, her parents' equal treatment of her and her brothers played an extremely important role in the way she viewed the world, "I know I have a duty to every child to recognize and cultivate their own sense of leadership, because had it not been for my mother, I would not have recognized or claimed my own space to lead."[10]

After completing high school at age fifteen, she moved with members of her family to Zawiya, Libya in 2005.

She studied at the College of Medicine at Al Zawiya University in Libya from 2006 to 2013, and worked at Zawiya Teaching Hospital and at various makeshift clinics during the 2011 civil war.[11][12] When the war began, her father became involved almost immediately with the rebels, providing medical care for rebel soldiers, appearing in SkyNews footage with Alex Crawford under the name "Dr. M", creating insecurity for her family.[13][14][15]

Murabit received her Doctor of Medicine from Al Zawiya University in 2013. She went on to receive a Masters in International Strategy and Diplomacy with Distinction from the London School of Economics in 2016 with research focused on inclusive security[16] and securitization.


2011–2015: VLW, Women, Peace and Security, United Nations[edit]

Murabit founded Voice of Libyan Women in August 2011 and acted as president until 2015. VLW was founded following the 2011 Libyan Revolution while in her final year of medical school."[17] The organization pushes for inclusive peace processes and conflict mediation by shifting the paradigm of women's role in society at both the grassroots and policy level and is best known for researching women's security, advocating against gender violence, training women to participate in government and ensure women are recognized in national policies.

Dr. Alaa Murabit addresses the United Nations Security Council in October 2015

VLW's Noor Campaign was the focus of Murabit's 2015 TED talk. The campaign aimed to challenge the misrepresentation and misuse of religion to negate women's rights. The Noor Campaign is based on community leaders and "brought together over 600 local community leaders, including those who had never worked in civil society before". Working with a network of hundreds of community organizations throughout Libya, including Ayadina Charity in Benghazi, Mothers for Martyrs and The Southern Women's Forum, the campaign reached over 35 cities and communities, as far south as Ghat, Libya on the southern Libyan border, Tobruk and Bayda on the Eastern border and Nalut and Ghadames in the west. The campaign and methodology were later replicated internationally.[18]

In 2013, she spoke at the Women in the World summit. "During the revolution, I saw phenomenally brave women taking a leading role," Murabit told Lesley Stahl. "Often when violence happens, people excuse it with religion," Murabit said. "Young girls need to know that they can fight fire with fire and say, 'No, my religion is not why you are doing this.'"[9]

She has maintained that peace is only achievable through communities, "The only real solution, the only way to get that grenade or gun put down safely is by filling his hands and head with something else. A pencil, a paycheck, a diploma, a dream – by building up people, by creating institutions we break down wars. By strengthening local peacebuilders we give them the tools to change their communities from within."[19]

In July 2014 Murabit was appointed a member of the United Nations 1325 Advisory Board, which monitors the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. She has been an Ashoka Fellow since September 2014 and has been an Advisor to UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group since October 2014.[12] She is also a founding coalition member of Harvard University's "Everywoman, Everywhere" initiative.[20]

2015–present: Omnis Institute, Emerging Leaders Lab, UN[edit]

In May 2015, Murabit addressed an official TED audience, released in July 2015 as an official "Ted Talk of the Day".[21] The New York Times selected it as one of "4 moving TED Talks you should watch right now."[22]

In October 2015, Murabit was selected as the Civil Society Speaker for the 15th Anniversary Open Debate of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325[23] and in January 2016 she became the youngest appointee of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Global Advocates[24] and later that year she was named a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth.[25]

In 2016, she founded a global Mentorship Programme for emerging leaders and co-founded The Omnis Institute. In 2017 she became an International Deliver for Good Influencer.[26] She is a board member of International Alert, Keeping Children Safe, Malaria No More, and the Malala Fund and was named a member of the Helena Group. She was renamed a UN Sustainable Development Goal Advocate in 2019 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Murabit has spoken at leading international conferences including TED, World Economic Forum, WIRED, Munich Security Conference and Hilton Foundation Symposium.

Honours and awards[edit]

Murabit has received the following national and international honors (awards and nominations):


Murabit has written articles for The Boston Globe,[58] Wired, the Carter Center,[59] NewAmerica,[60] Chime for Change,[61] Huffington Post,[62] The Christian Science Monitor[63] and Impakter.[64] She is a contributing writer for the bestselling feminist anthology Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies).[65]


  1. ^ "THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN GLOBAL POLICY 2019". Apolitical. Apolitical.
  2. ^ "Team". Omnis Institute. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Entretien entre W4 et Alaa Murabit, fondatrice de The Voice of Lybian Women". Women's World Wide Web (in French). 17 April 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  4. ^ Murabit, Alaa, What my religion really says about women, retrieved 28 January 2020
  5. ^ Perry, Jennifer (23 July 2015). "4 moving TED Talks you should watch right now". Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  6. ^ "12 TED Talks That Define the Future of Feminism – Ms. Magazine". Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Women of Impact". Status of Women Canada.
  8. ^ "2017 Honorees". Women Inspiring Change. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b Dickson, Caitlin (5 April 2013). "Alaa Murabit on Fighting for Women in Libya". The Daily Beast.
  10. ^ Murabit, Alaa (9 May 2016). "How My Mother Raised Me to be a Global Advocate for Girls and Women". Global Moms Challenge. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Giving a Voice to Women in Libya: Five Minutes with Alaa Murabit". Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. 6 August 2014. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  12. ^ Crawford, Alex (9 March 2011). "Special Report: Rebel-Held Town Under Siege". Sky News. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015.
  13. ^ Crawford, Alex (8 May 2012). "Colonel Gaddafi's Hat: The Real Story of the Libyan Uprising". Collins – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "Environmentalists Against War".
  15. ^ "Making Peace Matter: Toward a Concept of Inclusive Security". Crisis Group. 7 July 2008.
  16. ^ |access-date=13 August 2015 |archive-url=
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Human Rights Foundation". Human Rights Foundation.
  19. ^ "Alaa Murabit". Oslo Freedom Forum.
  20. ^ Murabit, Alaa. "What my religion really says about women". TED Talks.
  21. ^ Perry, Jennifer (23 July 2015). "4 Moving talks". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Alaa Murabit (NGO Voice of Libyan Women) on Women, Peace and Security – Security Council, 7533rd meeting. UN Web TV. 13 October 2015.
  23. ^ "SDG Advocates". SDG Advocates.
  24. ^ "UN Secretary-General appoints High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth" (Press release). World Health Organization. 2 March 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Partners". Women Deliver.
  26. ^ "» Libyan Network Member Alaa Murabit Named Trust Women Hero Award Finalist".
  27. ^ "» What Libyan Women Want".
  28. ^ "Libyan women's rights activist wins second international award". Libya Herald. 6 December 2013.
  29. ^ "TrustWomen Hero Award Winners". Thomson Reuters.
  30. ^ "In the words of: Alaa Murabit". UN Women.
  31. ^ "Safe issue 2". Issuu.
  32. ^ "Ashoka Fellow". Ashoka. 2014. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015.
  33. ^ "Who are the 100 Women 2014?". BBC TOP 100. BBC. 26 October 2014.
  34. ^ "4 moving TED Talks you should watch right now". Women in the World. 23 July 2015.
  35. ^ "Statement by Dr. Alaa Murabit UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security" (PDF).
  36. ^ "Alaa Murabit | Helena Member".
  37. ^ "Homepage". MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows.
  38. ^
  39. ^ Hub, IISD's SDG Knowledge. "UN Secretary-General Appoints 17 SDG Advocates".
  40. ^ "Opening academic year 2017/18 & Events – Maastricht University".
  41. ^ "Towards an Inclusive Peace: Three Dangerous Assumptions about Security". The Aspen Institute. 5 March 2019.
  42. ^ "The 2017 Bay Street Bull 30x30 Guide". 11 April 2017.
  43. ^ "2017 Honorees". 27 February 2017.
  44. ^ "Alaa Murabit". Forbes.
  45. ^ "#MoreWomenMorePeace: Alaa Murabit | Swedish Foreign Policy Stories".
  46. ^ "News | 2018 Global Citizen Award Honourees: Partners for a Better World". Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation.
  47. ^ Yuko, Elizabeth (10 August 2018). "Tamron Hall & Amy Schumer Present 2018 Voices of the Year Awards".
  48. ^ Canada, Status of Women. "Minister Monsef launches Women of Impact in Canada gallery to mark Women's History Month".
  49. ^ Harris, Teresa (6 September 2018). "Top 25 Women of Influence 2018: Dr. Alaa Murabit".
  50. ^ "PTTOW! posted on LinkedIn".
  51. ^ Blazhevska, Vesna (31 October 2018). "Alaa Murabit to Receive Prestigious Canadian Award".
  52. ^ "The WIRED World in 2019 news and features". Wired.
  53. ^ "Wonder Women: 3 Canadians Championing Female Empowerment On the Global Stage". FASHION Magazine. 14 October 2019.
  54. ^ "James Joyce award presented to UN commissioner and SDG advocate Dr Alaa Murabit".
  55. ^ "The World's 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy". Apolitical.
  56. ^ Canada, Women and Gender Equality (24 February 2020). "Government of Canada launches #BecauseOfYou campaign for International Women's Day to honour trailblazers in women's rights". gcnws.
  57. ^ Murabit, Alaa (11 October 2018). "The secret to inclusive societies: Women's reproductive freedom". Boston Globe.
  58. ^ Murabit, Alaa (5 February 2015). "Reclaiming Faith". Carter Center Forum on Women.
  59. ^ Murabit, Alaa (18 December 2014). "THE POWER OF LIBYA'S FEMALE ARMS DEALERS". NewAmerica. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015.
  60. ^ Murabit, Alaa (9 July 2013). "FROM THE GROUND UP". Chime For Change. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  61. ^ Murabit, Alaa (10 November 2014). "The Key to Countering Violent Extremism". HuffPost.
  62. ^ Murabit, Alaa (14 March 2013). "In Libya, Islam – and a purple hijab – help spurn domestic violence against women". The Christian Science Monitor.
  63. ^ Murabit, Alaa (23 October 2017). "Gender Equality: The Foundation for Achieving the Global Goals". Impakter. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  64. ^ Curtis, Scarlett, ed. (2 October 2018). Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies: Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them. Ballantine Books. ISBN 9781984819178.

External links[edit]