ExpertiseConflict Resolution and Peace-building
Refugees, Migration, IDPs
Local Organizations Contribute to Rebuilding Lives After the Earthquake Enheduanna Wilson Center Jun 20, 2023
Making an impact in the Middle East by raising the voices of people on the ground profile Harvard Kennedy School May 22, 2023
Syrian refugees in Lebanon need help and protection, not more pressure to leave Opinion New Humanitarian Jan 18, 2022
In crippled Lebanon, are refugees being left behind? Middle East Monitor Dec 1, 2020
Online Event: Supporting Marginalized Groups amid Lebanon’s Cascading Crises Centre for Strategic & International Studies Oct 6, 2020
Pain and poverty in Beirut one month on from fateful explosion Middle East Eye Sep 4, 2020
The suffering of Syrians from the war to the explosion of Beirut In Arabic Interview You Tube Aug 18, 2020
Being a refugee in Lebanon: Beirut blast makes life harder for Syrian refugees France 24 Jul 10, 2020
Refugee Week 2020: ‘Lebanon’s pandemic has abated, but refugees face new dangers’ Marie Claire Jun 16, 2020
Yasmin Kayali 2020 Voices of Courage Honoree Women’s Refugee Commission You Tube May 14, 2020
It’s time to fund organizations led by refugees Opinion in Amnesty International Aug 19, 2020
Yasmin Kayali Sabra (@KayaliYasmin) is a co-founder 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.
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.
Yasmin’s background in marketing and business administration served the operational functioning of Basmeh & Zeitooneh. Her fundraising efforts for the organization secured programmatic support from international donors. Her advocacy work engaged 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 also served 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.
She stepped away from daily operations to study at the Harvard Kennedy School, graduating with a Master in Public Administration (MPA) in Spring, 2023. In addition to being an Emirates Leadership Initiative fellow at the Center for Public Leadership she was president of the Harvard Arab Students Association, served on the leadership teams for a Women in Power Conference and Arab Conference at Harvard, spoke at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, and headed a Harvard Kennedy School student delegation to the World Government Summit in Dubai.
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. She won the 2020 Women Refugee Commission’s Voices of Courage Award and received the 2022 Leaders for Peace Award in recognition for her work.
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 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.