Yasmin Kayali

Co-founder Syrian refugee NGO

Region(s): Middle East
Country of focus: Lebanon, Syria

Yasmin Kayali Sabra (@KayaliYasmin) is a co-founder and the chief communications and fundraising officer of Basmeh & Zeitooneh (@basmehzeitooneh), a Lebanon-based NGO that provides aid as well as educational, therapeutic, and vocational services for Syrian refugees and their host communities. Now one of the largest refugee-led organizations in the world, Basmeh & Zeitooneh provides services in Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.

Yasmin also serves as Director for The Studio, a partner organization of Basmeh & Zeitooneh that trains refugee women in artisanal craft work and supports their development as independent entrepreneurs. A Syrian woman by origin, Yasmin brings her experience in philanthropy, communication, advocacy, and non-profit management to humanitarian work in support of displaced and refugee populations. 

Prior to founding Basmeh & Zeitooneh, Yasmin worked in marketing and was the founder of Jasmine Marketing Services, an Aleppo-based company that provided localized services to major international consumer goods companies. Yasmin’s background in marketing and business administration serves the operational functioning of Basmeh & Zeitooneh. Her fundraising efforts for the organization secure programmatic support from international donors. Her advocacy work engages major governmental and non-governmental actors to bring attention to vulnerable Syrian refugee populations, with a particular focus on women and at-risk youths.

Yasmin served as a rapporteur at the 2020 and 2021 Brussels Conferences on Syria, representing Lebanese civil society actors in the ministerial meetings and delivering statements on their behalf. She was selected as a judge for the 2020 Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award and was a 2020 honoree of the Women Refugee Commission’s Voices of Courage Award.

Yasmin holds a BA in Political Science and Public Administration and an MBA with a marketing emphasis from the American University of Beirut. 

In Arabic “basmeh,” means smile and “zeitooneh,” means olive, a symbol of peace and nourishment.