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Founder & Executive Director


Samira Harnish is the Founder and Executive Director of Women of the World. Women of the World is a women refugee, asylum seeker, and immigrant service and capacity building nonprofit that has been in operation in Salt Lake City since 2010.

After getting her degree in Civil Engineering, she worked for nearly 20 years as an R&D engineer at the largest domestic manufacturer of semiconductor memory.

Samira founded Women of the World to fulfill a lifelong dream of helping women achieve self-sufficiency and her leadership has enabled WoW to become the preeminent women’s refugee service organization in Utah.  

Samira has received local, national, and international recognition for her service leadership including: The Enlightened 50 Award from the Utah Community Foundation, the 2014 Salt Lake City Human Rights Award, the 2016 Ruby Award from the Soroptomists of Utah, and the 2017 Emerald Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement. In 2018, she was awarded the America’s Region Nansen Award from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, she was chosen from over 450 international nominees. In April 2019 she was awarded the 2019 American Red Cross Hero for her extraordinary Heroic act of Global Citizenship. In 2021 she was selected as the Woman of the Year by the Utah Business Magazine. In she was one of Utah’s 40 over 40, which honors women who have significantly impacted their fields and communities, showcasing their wisdom, expertise, and dedication. In December 2023, the Salt Lake City Mayor again recognized Samira with the Salt Lake City Human Right Award.

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