Manal Omar is the founder of Across Red Lines, dedicated to women’s leadership through accessing life force energy and deeper understanding of rights through a faith lens. She designed and led multiple development and training projects in the Middle East and Africa, and provided media and policy support on youth and gender programming on a global scale. She served as the Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa Center at US Institute of Peace under the Obama Administration. Omar served on the board of directors for the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and AltMuslimah. She has also served on the advisory board of Peaceful Families Project, Prosperity Catalyst, Women’s Voices Now, and Sisters Against Violent Extremism in Austria. Her experience includes working as an international advisor for the Libya Stabilization Team in Benghazi in 2011; working as the OXFAM-UK regional program manager for the Middle East. Manal uses her 20+ years of global experience with a special focus in the Middle East and Africa -including the frontlines across region including Iraq, South Sudan, and Nigeria – and her skills as a negotiator to approach religious communities, government, and civil societies to advocate for women’s rights through a faith-based approach, breaking new ground and changing the narrative for women to have access to justice, secure rights, and leadership that is part of the decision making process to ensure sustainable peace.
As part of her work with Women for Women International as regional coordinator for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan, Omar lived in Baghdad from 2003 to 2005. She set up programmatic operations in Iraq. Omar was named among “Top 500 World’s Most Influential Arabs” by Arabia Business Power in 2011 and 2012. She was also recognized among the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by Georgetown University and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in 2009. In 2007, Islamic Magazine named Omar one of the ten young visionaries shaping Islam in America. She was honored by her alma mater as one of the top 50 Exemplars in 2018.
Omar holds a master’s degree in Arab studies with a concentration in Economics and Development from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from George Mason University. Manal has a certification in Global Mental Health – Trauma and Recovery from Harvard Medical school. She is a Truman National Security Fellow and an inaugural Foreign Policy Interrupted fellow dedicated to including women in foreign policy and peacebuilding.
All Sessions by Manal Omar