Semhar Araia is the CEO of Semai Consulting, a trained lawyer, social entrepreneur and faculty member at George Washington University. With a background in African affairs, humanitarian crises, diasporas and development, Semhar provides guidance, analysis and training to clients focused on international affairs, civic leadership and development. She is the founder of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to support and help develop the next generation of African diaspora professional women focused on African affairs.
Ms. Araia has fifteen years of experience working with governments, international organizations, humanitarian groups, non-profit organizations, and diaspora actors. She also served as an attorney for the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, as part of the implementation of the 2000 peace agreement.
Ms. Araia is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a White House Champion of Change and an African Union Diaspora Awardee of the Year recognized for her diaspora engagement and civic leadership. She is a frequent guest speaker, avid Twitter user (@Semhar) and one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Foreign Policy Women on Twitter. She has been featured in the Financial Times, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Ventures Africa and other media outlets.
Ms. Araia earned her juris doctor degree from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Semhar was born in New York City to Eritrean immigrant parents and resides in Washington, DC.
- Term Member, Council on Foreign Relations, 2014
- Applause Africa Leadership Award, 2014
- White House Champion of Change, 2012
- African Union Diaspora Awardee, 2012
- Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Foreign Policy Women on Twitter, 2012
- The Root’s Top 100, 2009