- Age: 28
- | She/her/hers
Country of Origin:
Country of Residence:
Eight years into the Syria conflict, I visited around ten countries to voice women's concerns. I realized that when women are put in leadership, they thrive. The creativity and bravery of women’s actions in their communities should be recognized as part of a larger strategy. I believe gender equality, entrepreneurship, and technology are fundamental to the prosperity of the world.
- Salam Al-Nukta
Salam Al-Nukta is originally from Syria and currently lives in the Netherlands. She is working toward a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration at Tillburg University. As Founder and CEO of ChangeMakers, Salam looks for and establishes meaningful partnerships with like-minded organizations that have the same mission, oversees operations, and ensures professional representation of the youth-led initiative at global conferences. Additionally, Salam is member of the Youth Task Force established by the UN Women and member of Gender Innovation Agora established by UN Women Arab States.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
Conflicts and crises, regardless of their dramatic destructive results, ignite new innovative approaches in driven individuals like myself. When the crisis hit Syria, I was forced to drop out of university and look for a job to support my family. When conflict erupts, the impact on girls may be worse because of social standards and priorities distributed by gender. Being a witness to the impact on female friends and in my family ignited a strong sense of responsibility to build a better world for my extended network and myself.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
When I founded ChangeMakers, I was driven by an ambition to make all opportunities equally available to all young people regardless of their civil status, age, gender, and geography. The challenges that I faced to bring in more young girl participants were major. Parents didn't want their girls to dream big, and they refused to equip them with tools to do so. I realized it was necessary to earn families' trust before starting to work with young people, and that's when I organized the first opening ceremony for ChangeMakers coding boot camps. Parents were invited along with their children to attend a day-long event where we explained the course's pathway, content taught, and introduced coaches, the team, and founders. Parents were not only invited to this event. I also organized graduation ceremonies to showcase youth's achievements and their learning journey. After the first boot camp, parents became advocates on our behalf. They didn't only understand the importance of technology in their daughters' lives, they recommended us to other families as one the most trusted youth-led initiative in Damascus, Syria.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I love reading, cycling, and meeting new people. I'm very passionate about cultures, and I love to explore how other cultures are different from mine and others. I also love to notice human behavior.
- Arabic (Advanced/Native)
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Dutch (Elementary)
- women's engagement in economic prosperity
- how entrepreneurship can scale up economy in crisis-affected regions
- women's engagement in information and communications technology
- empowering young people with technology as tools for change and innovation
- girls' education and informal educational pathways
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- One Young World Ambassador to The Hague (2018)
- One of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Syria (2017)
- Building a Better Response from Humanitarian Academy at Harvard
- Women, Leadership, and Peacebuilding from UNITAR
- Blogging Internship with UNICEF
- Leadership and Peace-Building by UNESCO
- Leadership, Team, and Self-Management in Conflict Settings from UNITAR
- Recognition from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Leading the Best Startup (ChangeMakers) in a Conflict-Affected Area (Syria)
- Beijing+25 Youth Task Force by UN Women