Yara Salem 

Director General @ Taawon (Welfare Association)

“Overcoming donor-dependency: How can philanthropy tackle the root-cause?”


Panel: Overcoming donor-dependency: How can philanthropy tackle the root-cause?

Palestine has long been deemed a ‘donor-dependent economy’ with international aid arguably doing more harm than good in the post-Oslo era. Despite this, there continues to be an important role for aid and philanthropy in supporting and empowering impact-driven initiatives.

How can we redirect philanthropic giving so that it tackles the root cause? What is the vision of impact we have for our community, and what is the role of the Diaspora in achieving this?

Yara Salem's Bio

Ms. Yara Salem is a well-recognized global development expert with more than twenty-three years of high-level international experience.

Yara brings in technical expertise, strategic vision, development insights, organization and people managerial talents as well as energy, passion and integrity. She has led works in multiple countries and sectors and with clients from government, private sector, civil society, diplomatic community and donor countries.

Over the past thirteen years, Ms. Salem has served at World Bank Group (WBG) taking upon key sectoral, operational, and strategical assignments in the areas of Private Sector Development, Infrastructure, Public Sector Reform, Trade Facilitation, Doing Business, Portfolio management, Operations policies and Country Management.

Ms. Salem has worked for both WB and IFC with focus on Africa (Zambia, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia), Latin America (Caribbean Islands), East and South Asia (Nepal, Singapore, ASEAN), East & Central Europe (Serbia, Kosovo) and Middle East and North Africa (GCC, Mashreq).

Ms. Salem’s most recent assignment was the World Bank Special Representative to Iraq, based in Baghdad, leading a country team with a portfolio of about US$ 2.5 billion and a large program of infrastructure and social development projects, technical assistance and analytical works. Ms. Salem is the First Arab female Country Manager in the WBG.

Prior to joining the WBG, Ms. Salem has served at the UNDP and UNIDO in Africa and Middle East and North Africa managing a wide range of economic development engagements with governments, local communities and private sectors and was based in Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

Ms. Salem has started her career as an entrepreneur, establishing the first life insurance company in Palestine. Prior to her International career, Ms. Salem has worked as a Director at the Palestinian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and an Advisor at the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy.

Ms. Salem was born and raised in Nablus, Palestine. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Commerce and Trade from Middlebury Institute of International Studies, United States; a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Birzeit University, Palestine; and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Sociology from University of Jordan, Jordan.

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