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 partnerships strategy with diaspora individuals, organizations and communities in the United States in support of UNICEF's mission.
With over fifteen years of experience, Ms. Araia specializes in global diaspora engagement, humanitarian affairs, and international development. Prior to UNICEF USA, she served as a technical advisor to communities, governments, international organizations, and non-profit organizations, including the African Union and the United Nations, on diaspora engagement. Ms. Araia began her career as an attorney for the implementation of the 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia peace agreement, and as a policy advisor at Oxfam International, The Elders, and the United States House of Representatives.
Ms. Araia is also the founder of DAWN, the Diaspora African Women’s Network, an organization whose mission is to support and help develop the next generation of African diaspora professional women focused on African affairs. She has been recognized for her work by President Barack Obama, and is 2012 White House Champion of Change and a 2014 African Union Diaspora Awardee of the Year for her leadership in diaspora engagement.
Ms. Araia has been featured in the Financial Times, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Ventures Africa and other media outlets. She received her juris doctor from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 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.