Hajer Sharief

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Hajer Sharief
Hajer Sharief, 2017.jpg
OccupationPeace activist
OrganizationTogether We Build It
Known forNobel Peace Prize Nominee, 2019
AwardsStudent Peace Award, 2017

Hajer Sharief (Arabic: هاجر الشريف Hajer al-Sharief), is a Libyan peace and human rights activist. She co-leads the work of the Together We Build It (TWBI) organization in Libya. In 2011 and at the age of 19, Sharief co-founded TWBI to build peace in Libya and promote human rights. She is one of UN Women's 12 Champions on Women, Peace and Security, and Human Rights; and a member of the Extremely Together young leaders initiative, begun by Kofi Annan and the Kofi Annan Foundation. In 2020, Forbes named Sharief as one of "Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women", and she was listed by Avanec Media among their "100 Most Influential African Women" for 2020. A winner of the Student Peace Prize in 2017, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.


Sharief was born in Libya in 1994.[1] She is a graduate of Tripoli Law School.[2] In 2011, as a response to the violence of the Libyan civil war, Sharief founded the organization 'Together We Build It'.[3][1] The organisation aims to support a peaceful transition for Libya, building on intergenerational understanding.[4] Alongside co-leading the organization, she manages the various projects of the organisation on, including: human rights, women and youth peace and security, and international human rights law.[5]

In 2013 Sharief established the 1325 Network in Libya.[2] This network connects thirty cities across Libya in order to strengthen civic ties, as well as promoting the role of women in peace building and in society more widely.[2] As a co-leader of the 1325 Network, she helped organize training, workshops, and other activities on how peace and security actions differ for women across Libya.[6]

As a young peace activist, Sharief joined the United Network of Young Peacebuilders advocacy team to advocate the United Nations Security Council to adopt a Resolution recognizing the vital role of youth in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.[7] Sharief was appointed by the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, to work within a group of experts in order to further develop Resolution 2250, the first thematic resolution on youth, peace and security.[8] She is also part of the network, 'Extremely Together', supported by the Kofi Annan Foundation, which is a program that brings together ten young innovators from around the world, whose mission is to find positive preventive measures against violent extremism among young people.[9][10][11] Sharief was tasked with drafting a chapter on human rights and young people.[12]

In 2017, Sharief was announced by UN Women as one of their 12 Champions on Women, Peace and Security and Human Rights. According to UN Women, the selected Champions “will advise UN Women on emerging issues for peace and security, and advocate for gender equality and women’s human rights in conflict-affected settings”.[9][13]

In 2018, Sharief briefed the UN Security Council during a session on Libya to become the first Libyan women to brief the Council during a country session on Libya. In her briefing, Hajer advised the UN Security Council and the UN mission to Libya on how they should ensure that women and young people are included in the UN's formal peace processes.[14]

In 2019 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Ilwad Elman, a fellow member of 'Extremely Together'. Both of them were selected by Henrik Urdal for his personal nomination shortlist.[15]

Public engagement[edit]

As a peace activist, Sharief has delivered several keynote speeches on peace and security and human rights. In 2017, Sharief gave a speech titled "What do I do for a living? I'm a full-time war survivor", in this speech, she reflected on her experience as a witness to the 2011 war in Libya and encouraged people, especially young people, to play an active role in peacebuilding. In 2019, she delivered a peace talk at the Oxford Peace Talks titled "As a full-time war survivor. What is missing in conflict zones?".[16] Sharief argued that peacebuilding in conflict areas wouldn't be successful without women and young people's full participation. In 2020, Sharief gave the keynote address of the Torino Peace Forum. Her address was titled "Intergenerational peace: the need to re-design the peace table."[17]

Alongside her activism for peace and human rights, Sharief is an advocate for political rights and political participation. In 2019, she gave a Ted talk titled “How to use family dinners to teach politics” and in it she introduced the Family Democracy Meetings concept.[18] This is a system her parents used when she was a child. She argued that parents should teach their children about political agency by giving them a say in how their households are run. Through the use of weekly meetings where everyone can express their opinions, compromise, and negotiate.[18] In an interview with Forbes India, Sharief argued that “politics should be the lifestyle of every single person”. In the same interview, she stated: “The political systems, especially with the recent wave of polarisation, seem to be focussed on putting one group or community against another. People are pushed into corners where they need to take sides. That’s where one must prioritise moral values.”[19]


  • In 2017, Sharief was awarded the Student Peace Prize.[20]
  • In 2019, Sharief was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.[15]
  • In 2020, Sharief was listed by Avanec Media amongst the 100 Most Influential African Women.[21]
  • In 2020, Sharief was named by Forbes as one of Africa's 50 most powerful women.[22]


  • Intergenerational peace: the need to redesign the peace table.[17]
  • The international community alone won’t defeat violent extremism.[23]
  • Affecting power structures: Gender and youth perspectives.[24]


  1. ^ a b "La Libyenne Hajer Sharief et la Somalienne Ilwad Elman en lice pour le Nobel de la paix". Franceinfo (in French). 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  2. ^ a b c "Hajer Sharief: Young Libyan Woman and Peace-Building Activist". Inside Arabia. 2019-11-24. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  3. ^ "More about Hajer Sharief and Ilwad Elman". October 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Sharief, Hajer. "Hajer Sharief | Speaker | TED". www.ted.com. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  5. ^ "Hajer Sharief – Together We Build It".
  6. ^ "1325 Network in Libya – Together We Build It".
  7. ^ "Moving forward the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 – unoy".
  8. ^ d'afrique, AfriPulse-l'information des états unis. "A la rencontre des deux africaines nominées pour le prix Nobel de la Paix 2019". AfriPulse (in French). Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  9. ^ a b "UN Women convenes Champions group to support Women, Peace and Security agenda". UN Women.
  10. ^ "Hajer Sharief". Kofi Annan Foundation. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  11. ^ "Geneva Tribute to Kofi Annan by Extremely Together's Hajer Sharief". Kofi Annan Foundation. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  12. ^ "Human Rights – Extremely Together Guide". www.extremelytogether-theguide.org.
  13. ^ "Hajer Sharief | IofC". www.iofc.ch. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  14. ^ International, WILPF. "Hajer Sharief, WILPF Partner and Peace Activist from Libya, Briefs UNSC on Libya".
  15. ^ a b "Hajer Sharief and Ilwad Elman proposed as Nobel Peace Prize contenders". Kofi Annan Foundation. 2019-09-28. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  16. ^ "Hajer Sharief". Peace Talks.
  17. ^ a b Sharief, Hajer (December 1, 2020). "Intergenerational Peace: The Need to Redesign The Peace Table". UNSSC | United Nations System Staff College.
  18. ^ a b Sharief, Hajer. "How to use family dinner to teach politics" – via www.ted.com.
  19. ^ "'Politics Should Be The Lifestyle Of Every Single Person': Hajer Sharief | Forbes India Blog". Forbes India.
  20. ^ Duong, Kim. "Hajer Sharief – The Student Peace Prize". Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  21. ^ "100Women | Avance Media | Hajer Sharief".
  22. ^ Africa, Forbes (March 6, 2020). "Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women".
  23. ^ "Hajer Sharief - Extremely Together". May 18, 2016.
  24. ^ "Affecting Power Structures: Gender and Youth Perspectives – unoy".

External links[edit]