Semhar Araia of DAWN to Meet with President Obama

(WASHINGTON, DC) – On Thursday, April 26, the White House will invite DAWN founder Semhar Araia along with eleven other past Champions of Change to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Champions of Change program with President Obama. The invitees will have an informal discussion with the President about the ongoing work they devote to their respective communities. This incredible honor will provide Araia the opportunity to discuss the diligent work of women in the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN), and the role the organization and its members play not just in Washington, DC but also throughout the country.

"DAWN is honored to be a part of this landmark celebration. It is an incredible opportunity to personally share our work with President Obama and highlight the contributions of African immigrant and diaspora communities in the United States. With more investment and support in the diaspora, DAWN is confident our next generation of women and girls will become tomorrow's great leaders, thinkers and changemakers." said Heather Cabral, DC Chapter Representative.

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

Semhar Araia is Founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to develop and support talented women and girls of the African diaspora focused on African affairs. DAWN currently has 180 members representing 28 African countries, the United States, Caribbean, South America, Europe and the Middle East. Araia was most recently listed as the Top Twenty Women on Twitter discussing Africa, social good and the diaspora.




Semhar Araia, Founder &  Executive Director
Semhar is Founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN). A lawyer by training, she previously served as Oxfam International's Horn of Africa Regional Policy Advisor, a congressional foreign policy staffer, and an Africa analyst for The Elders, an organization created by Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and eleven other world leaders. She also served as an attorney on the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission hearings.   

Semhar is a frequent guest speaker on US-Africa policy, diaspora engagement, effective advocacy strategies and community organizing. She was listed in The Root's Top 100, which recognizes emerging and established African-American leaders making extraordinary contributions. In 2008, she founded African Diaspora for Obama, a grassroots coalition of African diaspora communities and organizations united in support for Barack Obama, and later served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. She has been featured on various media outlets including National Public Radio, Voice of America, Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post, and The Michael Eric Dyson Show. Semhar earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota and her law degree from Marquette University Law School, with studies at American University’s Washington College of Law and Tel Aviv University. She was born in New York City to Eritrean immigrant parents and currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   


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