The Arab Institute for Women


Dr. Lina Abi Rafeh

Lina AbiRafeh, PhD is a global women’s rights expert and gender equality advocate with decades of experience worldwide. Lina worked for over 20 years in development and humanitarian contexts in Afghanistan, Haiti, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, and others. Her experience spans global organizations such as the World Bank and various United Nations agencies. Lina advises several organizations and companies at a senior level. In addition, she is also the Senior Advisor for Global Women’s Rights at the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University, where she served as Executive Director for seven years.      

Lina has shared her passion and experience in ending violence against women on global stages including her TEDx talk, WomenDeliver PowerTalkkeynote address for Swedish International Development Agency annual meeting, amongst others.

Lina completed her doctoral work from the London School of Economics and published “Gender and International Aid in Afghanistan: The Politics and Effects of Intervention” in 2009, based on her PhD research. Her second book “Freedom on the Frontlines: Afghan Women and the Fallacy of Liberation” was released in February 2022.

Lina speaks and publishes frequently on a range of gender issues, such as the need for a feminist response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Arab women and girls. She believes women’s leadership is the strongest vehicle for peace and sustainable development.

Her work in support of women in Afghanistan was featured on CNN, leading to a live CNN interview on this topic. She continues to advocate for women’s rights worldwide, with appearances on France24, CNN Greece, BBC, Good Morning America, and others.

Lina  sits on the board of numerous global women’s rights organizations including SheDecides, Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Forced Migration Review, Society of Gender Professionals, Global Women’s Institute, and others. Lina has received various awards and recognitions including the Gender Equality Top 100 worldwide in 2018 and 2019 and a Vital Voices fellowship for 2021 for outstanding women leaders. She was recognized by the Women’s Media Center as one of their Progressive Women’s Voices for 2021 and is featured in their database of experts. Lina is also a Women inPower fellow for 2022.