At the age of 19, Nadia Murad and some members of her family were kidnapped from their village of Kocho in northern Iraq. In 2014, ISIS attacked her village and killed thousands of Yazidis, including her beloved mother and several of her brothers.
Nadia was held as a sex slave by fighters of the Islamic State, she was beaten, tortured, and repeatedly raped. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into sexual slavery. After escaping captivity, Nadia relocated to Germany as a refugee and began raising awareness of the ongoing plight of the Yazidi community and the need to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Once in Germany, she received medical treatment before being reunited with other survivors. Of her family, six of her nine brothers and her mother were killed the day she and her two sisters were taken by ISIS.
Nadia is the Founder and President of Nadia’s Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding communities in crisis and advocating for survivors of sexual violence. Nadia’s Initiative’s current work is focused on the sustainable re-development of the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar, Iraq, and pursuing holistic justice for survivors of ISIS atrocities.
Prior to founding Nadia’s Initiative, in 2016, Nadia became the first United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. That year, she was also awarded the Council of Europe Václav Havel Award for Human Rights and Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In 2018, she won the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege. Together, they founded the Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. In 2019, Nadia was appointed as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate.
In her capacity as a member of France’s Gender Advisory Council, Nadia has also advocated for G7 member states to adopt legislation that protects and promotes women’s rights. Nadia worked with the German Mission to the United Nations to pass UN Security Council Resolution 2467, which expands the UN’s commitments to end sexual violence in conflict. Nadia was also a driving force behind the drafting and passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2379, which established the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD). Since 2015, Nadia has been working with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to bring ISIS before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Nadia’s New York Times bestselling memoir, ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State’ is a harrowing account of the genocide against the Yazidi people of Iraq and Nadia’s imprisonment by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
Nadia wishes to advocate for human rights and the condemnation of extremism, especially that which is aimed at women and children.
A survivor, Nadia wants to spread her message, standing up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
She had been interviewed a number of times, telling her story and bringing the world’s attention to a plight so few report on.
'Being a survivor of genocide comes with great responsibility --for I am the lucky one. Having lost my brothers, mother and many more family members and friends it is a responsibility I embrace fully and take very seriously. My role as an activist is not just about my suffering -- it is about a collective suffering. Telling my story and reliving the horrors I encountered is no easy task, but the world must know. The world must feel a moral responsibility to act and if my story can influence world leaders to act then it must be told.'