Raya Barazanji is a senior program officer responsible for the Institute’s grantmaking program focusing on the Middle East and Africa region. Prior to joining the Institute in 2010, she managed a counterterrorism program relating to Iraq and the Middle East for a private sector corporation. Prior to that, and for eight years, she served as the chief operating officer of the Iraq Foundation, a non-profit organization working for democracy and human rights in Iraq. In that capacity, she led the organization's team in implementing democracy-building and human rights training projects, as well the revitalization of Iraq’s education system, building the capacity of local civil society organizations and independent media in partnership with USAID. She has over 20 years of experience in the design and management of democracy and peacebuilding programs with NGOs, and is an avid advocate for women’s rights and gender equality in the Middle East and Muslim World.
Barazanji holds a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, and a bachelor’s from the College of Arts, Al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad.