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Sakena Yacoobi

Founder & CEO, Afghan Institute of Learning

Skoll Awardee

Biography

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), which she founded in 1995 in response to the lack of education and healthcare that the Afghan people were facing after years of war and strife. Using a community-based approach, AIL has greatly increased access to quality education and health for women and children through its innovative Learning Centers, its mobile literacy and fast track classes and student-centered teacher training programs. A leader in providing human rights, leadership, peace and health training for women and youth, AIL has impacted the lives of more than 15 million Afghans and its programs have been replicated throughout Afghanistan. In addition, Dr. Yacoobi has established four private schools, one private hospital and a radio station in Afghanistan. She is the recipient of six honorary doctorates from institutions including Princeton University. In 2017, Dr. Yacoobi was named as one of the Sunhak Peace Prize Laureates; was chosen to be on the citizenship wall in the Afghan Presidential Palace as one of the top civilian and cultural women in Afghanistan; was named by BBC as one of 100 inspirational and innovative women; and received the Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence in Education. Other of her many awards include the 2015 WISE Prize for Education and the 2013 Opus Prize. Dr. Yacoobi is a Skoll Social Entrepreneur, Schwab Social Entrepreneur and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is Vice President of Creating Hope International (CHI) and is a former board member for the Global Fund for Women. She is an advisor for the Fetzer Institute, an Ashoka fellow, Kravis Prize Awardee, a Gruber Prize Awardee and is a member of the US - Afghan Women’s Council. Before founding AIL, Dr. Yacoobi was a professor at D’Etre University in Detroit, MI and was Coordinator of the Women’s Programs for the International Rescue Committee in the Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan.