Tanya Gilly Khailany
Vice-President SEED Foundation of Kurdistan
Tanya Gilly Khailany is the Vice President and co-founder of the SEED Foundation. She is originally from the city of Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan but having lived in many countries, she considers herself to be a world citizen.
From 2006-2010, Tanya served as a representative in the Iraqi Parliament, representing the people of Kirkuk, advocating for the interests of a multi-ethnic and religious society. She was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and was known for speaking out against the injustices Iraqi Kurds faced in the past and still face today. She was one of the leading voices demanding representation for women in the political arena; her work with other leading women activists helped legislate a quota for women in the Iraqi Constitution.
Tanya also worked in the think tank community in Washington, DC. As Director of Democracy Programs at the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, she did advocacy work and worked closely with policy makers in Washington to help give voice to the under-represented in the Middle East and North Africa region. She has served on the board of various non-governmental organizations in Iraq and Kurdistan, and is one of the founders of the Ashti (Peace) Women’s Movement, which played an instrumental role in bringing together the opposition and government.
Tanya studied Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and currently resides in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.