In a world filled with injustice, war and misogyny, Zainab Salbi has dedicated her life to hearing and telling the stories of those who have been silenced. 

The Iraqi-American is an author, human rights activist, founder and former CEO, and a media commentator.  

From referring to former dictator Saddam Hussein as 'uncle',  to being sent to America for an arranged marriage that ended in abuse, Salbi rose above all odds to build a career that changed the lives of women across the world.

Through multiple endeavors, Salbi fearlessly dives into war-torn countries and aims to empower women in the Middle East and abroad. 

1. She didn't allow her first-hand experience with tyranny to silence her

Zainab Salbi, Saddam Hussein, Women for Women International, Iraq, Dictatorship
Source: HuffPost

Although many Iraqi's feared the dictator from a distance, Salbi feared him up close. Her father was Saddam Hussein's personal pilot, resulting in a close yet turbulent relationship between the families. 

Salbi refers to life within Saddam's inner circle as living in an 'invisible cage' and was ordered by her mother to not look at him in the eye and smile when he did so. 

This fear prompted her mother to arrange a marriage for Salbi in America when she was only 19 years-old. 

Once Salbi told her story, she was empowered to hear the stories of other women living under tyranny and fear. 

2. She travelled to a war zone for her honeymoon

Instead of heading to a relaxing getaway for her honeymoon with her second husband, Salbi was inclined to travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war in 1993, where an estimated 100,000 people were killed. 

After reading about rape camps and the horrific tragedies women were experiencing in Bosnia, Salbi and her husband knocked on survivors' doors and offered a helping hand.

3. Salbi founded Women for Women International

At the mere age of 23, Salbi founded an organization that would soon aid 462,000 women in 8 conflict countries across the globe. 

The development and humanitarian organization focuses on providing female survivors of war with life, business and vocational skills in order to become self-sufficient. This is done by pairing individual women with a sponsor through the mutual exchange of letters.

Women for Women International believes that stronger women allow for stronger families and communities. 

4. She was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize on behalf of Women for Women International

In 2006, Salbi's organisation was awarded with the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, which is the largest humanitarian award gifted to charities judged to have made tremendous efforts towards reducing human crises. 

5. Salbi appeared on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday

The human rights activist sat with the queen of daytime TV for Super Soul Sunday to discuss her past, women in war and the Middle East. 

6. She was named as one of the most influential women on Twitter

Fortune named Salbi as one of its 55 most influential women on Twitter. 

She currently has 34.1k followers on the social media outlet and produces content on a daily basis. 

7. She started a talk show about women in the Arab world

Salbi launched the talk show, 'Nida'a', which translates to 'The Calling of Women' on OSN's TLC. The show aims to offer a platform for Arab women who are making extraordinary contributions to society. 

Since the show's debut in October 2015, prominent figures have been featured including Zaha Hadid, Bill Clinton, and Mohammad Assaf. 

Oh, and Oprah Winfrey was her first guest. No big deal. 

8. Her words of wisdom will make you want to change the world

9. She is an accomplished author

Between Two Worlds, Book, Zainab Salbi, Saddam Hussein
Source: Zainab Salbi

Salbi is the author of several bestseller books, including her first memoir, Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of SaddamThe Other Side of War: Women's Stories of Survival and Hope, and If You Knew Me You Would Care.   

10. She continues to fearlessly travel the world

In a collaboration with the Huffington Post and AOL, Salbi launched the Zainab Salbi Project, which aims to tell the remarkable stories of people less fortunate. 

The humanitarian aims to 'explore the uncomfortable questions, shatter stereotypes, and courageously reveal our shared humanity.'

The original series has tackled heavy topics including the radicalization of youth in France, India's gender movement, and Iraq under ISIS occupation.