Saba Ismail

Saba Ismail

Saba Ismail

Activist, Founder | Aware Girls

Saba Ismail is a feminist, peace activist and is working for the empowerment of young women. At the age of 15, with other young women fellows She co-founded “Aware Girls”; a young-women-led organization working for empowering young women by strengthening the leadership capacity of young women enabling them to work for social change and women empowerment, and advocate for equal access of women to health, education, governance, political participation, and other social services. The organization is active in a context of militancy and religious extremism, complicated by poor governance, poverty and low literacy. The young women of Aware Girls engage in CVE programs in which young people are prevented to join militant groups, create open spaces for dialogue, revitalize indigenous culture destroyed by militants and promote nonviolence and pluralism in the community. She supported the idea of strengthening girls voices to bring prosperity in her community and firmly believes that change has to come through younger generation.

She has been appointed by the UN General Secretary as a member of the Advisory Group for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security because of her expertise and work on youth, peace and countering/ preventing violent extremism.

Her work has been mentioned by Scott Atran in a debate in UN Security Council as a successful example and also in different media including Science, The Guardian, BBC, The Hill, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Newsdeeply, The Ferret, The Independent and others.

Saba is the advisor to the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. She is a co-founder of the South Asian Regional Feminists Forum on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is an alumna of the International Visitors Leadership Program USA and Hurford Youth Fellow.

Saba has been awarded “2017 Red Bangle Award” in recognition of her work on women’s rights, “Chirac Prize for Conflict prevention” in recognition of her work for peace, non-violence and conflict Prevention in Pakistan. Foreign Policy Magazine acknowledged her bravery and activism by recognizing her as one of 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 and has been acknowledged in the “30 under 30 Campaign by the “National Endowment for Democracy” for her long struggle for democracy, peace and women’s rights.


“Young Women are Peacebuilding’s Most Excluded”: Q&A with Saba Ismail, IPI Global Observatory
From Where I Stand: Saba Ismail On Promoting Gender Equality And Peacebuilding In Pakistan, Women You Should Know
Gulali and Saba Ismail for Empowering Pakistani Girls, Foreign Policy
Living in the shadow of Pakistan’s suicide bombers, The Ferret
’Being a woman human rights defender in Pakistan is “risky”s northwest, young women buck tradition to monitor historic vote, In Pakistan’s northwest, young women buck tradition to monitor historic vote, The Washington Post
Being a woman human rights defender in Pakistan is “risky”, UN News
The Peshawar women fighting the Taliban: ‘We cannot trust anyone’, The Guardian
Pakistan’s women face battle for the right to vote, The Guardian
Aware Girls, ImpactMania
“Young Women are Peacebuilding’s Most Excluded”: Q&A with Saba Ismail, IPI Global Observatory
The Future is Bright: Young Women’s Leadership in Pakistan, EdWeb.NET
A Family of Fighters for Human Rights, BBC World Service
Envisioning a Brighter Future for Pakistan’s Girls, News Deeply
Saba Ismail, CSPAN
Scott Atran on Youth, Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace, PLOS
Address to UN Security Council (Scott Atran, 23 April 2015), Ministerial Debate on: “The Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace”