Semhar Araia is founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to develop and support talented women and girls of the African diaspora focused on African affairs. DAWN currently has 180 members representing 28 African countries, the United States, Caribbean, South America, Europe and the Middle East. With over ten years of experience working in public policy, US-Africa foreign policy, conflict resolution and international humanitarian law, Semhar's primary focus is on promoting the role of the diaspora in Africa's development. She spends about half her time on the continent and is a frequent guest speaker on US-Africa policy, effective advocacy strategies and community organizing. Semhar earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota and her law degree from Marquette University Law School. She was born in New York City to Eritrean parents and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.