Raya Barazanji is a senior program officer for the Middle East programs focusing on Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Previously she managed the Institute’s grantmaking program related to the Middle East and Africa regions. Before joining the Institute in 2010, Barazanji worked on counterterrorism programs relating to Iraq and the broader 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 as supporting USAID initiatives to revitalize Iraq’s education system, and to develop the capacity of civil society organizations and independent media.
Additionally she managed a community organization and integration program for Iraqi refugees in the U.S. in the late 90s. 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 the 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.