Diaspora and Multicultural Partnerships
Semhar Araia is the Managing Director for Diaspora & Multicultural Partnerships at UNICEF USA, where she is responsible for developing and leading the organization’s overall philanthropic partnerships strategy with diaspora individuals, organizations and communities in the United States in support of UNICEF’s mission. For two decades, Ms. Araia has focused on US-Africa relations, international development and the powerful role of women and diasporas in development. To date, she has worked with over 90 diaspora and multicultural communities in the United States, with a focus on community organizing, women’s leadership and effective leadership.
Ms. Araia is also the founder of DAWN, the Diaspora African Women’s Network, a global Black women’s network whose mission is to support and help develop the next generation of African diaspora professional women focused on African affairs. She previously served as a global diaspora engagement and policy advisor to communities, governments, international organizations and non-profit organizations, including Nelson Mandela’s organization, The Elders. Ms. Araia began as an attorney for the implementation of the 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia peace agreement.
Ms. Araia has been recognized for her work by United States Former President Barack Obama as a White House Champion of Change and is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC, as one of the five profiles in the Next-Generation Voices exhibit. She has also been named as one of The Roots’ Top100, OkayAfrica’s Top100 Women and is listed in Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Women on Twitter. Her work has been featured in the Financial Times, BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Root, Ventures Africa and other media outlets.
She received her juris doctor from Marquette University Law School and her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Economics from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Araia was born in New York City to Eritrean immigrant parents and resides in New York City.