CEO, Semai Consulting
Semhar Araia is the CEO of Semai Consulting, a consulting firm whose mission is to help clients connect, strengthen and advance global partnerships, investments and ideas.
She is also the founder of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and help develop the next generation of African diaspora professional women focused on African affairs, and part-time faculty at George Washington University’s Elliott School on International Affairs. Ms. Araia has worked in the public and private sectors, and began her career as an attorney for the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, as part of the implementation of the 2000 peace agreement.
With a background in law, African affairs, diaspora engagement and international development, Ms. Araia’s personal mission is to help amplify the contributions of underrepresented people, help them discover their best selves and offer pathways for greater inclusion and participation. To date, she has worked with over 75 diaspora organizations representing nearly 60 countries, providing guidance, analysis and training on strategic planning, organizational leadership, and professional development.
Ms. Araia is 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 Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Member of USAID’s Advisory Committee for Foreign Voluntary Aid (ACFVA).
A frequent guest speaker, Ms. Araia is an avid Twitter user (@Semhar) and was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Foreign Policy Women on Twitter. Her work has been featured in the Financial Times, BBC Africa, BBC Radio, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Africa 24, Arise, Voice of America, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, 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.
In 2010, President Obama launched Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) to support and invest in the next generation of African leaders. Through the YALI program, over 2,000 dynamic young African leaders from Sub-Sharan Africa have gained leadership training, gained professional experience in the United States, and networked with fellow emerging leaders from the continent. These […]