Episode 13:
A Man's Fight for Girls' Education: Chernor Bah on Poverty, Ebola and Political Turmoil in Sierra Leone
As Chernor Bah likes to say "out of misery there is opportunity" and this has definitely been true in his life. Despite extreme poverty, war, displacement and an epidemic, he has been able to advance his vision for a better world. As a girls' rights advocate, Chernor has dedicated his life to strengthening the voices of youth in emergency settings in his home country Sierra Leone, as well as in Liberia, Lebanon, Haiti and Uganda.
with Chernor Bah, Dr. Zoe Marks and Justine Sass

As a teenager, Chernor traveled the country listening to children's stories, including those from former child soldiers. His drive was simple: to include children's voices in Sierra Leone's peacebuilding process. In this episode, we talk about the civil war in Sierra Leone, issues surrounding girls' education, the Ebola outbreak and how Chernor is fighting to rebuild his country and advance girl's rights.

In this episode:
  • Chernor Bah Global Girls Activist; Co-Founder of Purposeful; Member of the Global Partnership for Education
Expert voices:
  • Dr. Zoe Marks Lecturer in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Justine Sass Chief of Section Education for Inclusion and Gender Equality at UNESCO

Key themes: Overcoming poverty, gender equality, girls education, youth in peacebuilding, social justice, Sierra Leone, African development

Also available on:

Episode 12:
Out of the Shadows: Roya Mahboob on Defying the Taliban to Advance Women in Technology
Roya Mahboob was born into a society where, under the tyrannical rule of the Taliban, women were increasingly invisible in public life. As a young girl, she lost her baby sister because her mother couldn't take her to a doctor without a male escort. Roya grew up in an environment where women were made to believe that they could never reach their full potential. Roya's life dramatically changed when she discovered computer technology, or what she called "the magic box that connected you to the world." She is now a tech entrepreneur and women's education advocate, becoming one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People at the age of 25.
with Roya Mahboob, Heather Barr, Farangies Shah and Mina Sharif

In this episode, we learn how Afghan women and girls are defying the odds of a patriarchal society, and the transformative power of STEM education to gain a foothold in one of the most conservative regimes in history.

In this episode:
  • Roya Mahboob Serial entrepreneur, CEO and President of Digital Citizen Fund
Expert voices:
  • Heather Barr Acting Co-Director of Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch
  • Farangies Shah Policy Advisor at Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
  • Mina Sharif Civil Society Activist, TV and Radio Producer.

Key themes: Afghanistan, Taliban and Womens' Rights under The Taliban, Religious Extremism, Robotics & STEM Education, Women's Empowerment, Entrepreneurship

Also available on:

Episode 11:
Riding the Waves: Syrian Swimmer Sarah Mardini on the Perils and Triumphs of a Humanitarian Refugee
Swimming was a family legacy for Sarah Mardini, but she never imagined her skills would save her from violence and death. The war in Syria — that displaced over half of the country's population— pushed Sarah and her sister to flee to Greece by water and, in desperation, to plunge into the sea to pull their boat to safety.
with Sarah Mardini, Sara Kayyali, Dr. Steven Heydemann and Bill Frelick.

Once settled in Europe, Sarah's efforts to provide emergency response and humanitarian aid for refugees resulted in charges against her. She spent 107 days inside a high-security Greek prison for alleged crimes including people-smuggling, spying, violation of state secrecy laws and money laundering. Large-scale social media campaigns and demands from European Government officials and leading human rights organizations advocated for Sarah's innocence, under the slogan "humanitarian action is not a crime." In this episode, we learn about the Syrian refugee crisis, the harrowing journey that many refugees take to find safety, misconceptions about migrants, and the complexity of humanitarian action.

In this episode:
  • Sarah Mardini Elite Swimmer and Refugee Advocate, Time 100 Next List 2019
Expert voices:
  • Sara Kayyali Syria Researcher, Middle East North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
  • Dr. Steven Heydemann Janet W. Ketcham Chair and Professor, Middle East Studies, Smith College; Senior Nonresident Fellow, Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy
  • Bill Frelick Director, Refugee Rights Program, Human Rights Watch

Key themes: Refugees, humanitarian action, Europe migration, crimes against humanity, humanitarian activism and advocacy.

Also available on:

Episode 10:
A Social Entrepreneur's Tale: Mokhtar Alkhanshali on Coffee and Human Connection Amid Yemen's War
Mokhtar Alkhanshali likes to say that the shortest distance between two people is a cup of coffee. In grappling with his identity as an American-Yemeni, Mokhtar went back to his homeland and developed a passion for coffee cultivation, eventually turning his newfound knowledge into a company called "Port of Mokha".
with Mokhtar Alkhanshali, Kate Kizer, Kristine Beckerle, Iona Craig and Annabel Symington.

In this episode, we learn about the colonial history of Yemen and the civil war that broke in 2015. We also talk about what Arab Spring meant for Yemen, the massive food insecurity caused by the country's ongoing conflict, and through Mokhtar's lens, how coffee and responsible farming practices can be used as a tool to unite and heal a population.

In this episode:
  • Mokhtar Alkhanshali
Expert voices:
  • Kate Kizer Policy Director, Win Without War; Former Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Yemen Peace Project
  • Kristine Beckerle Legal Director on Accountability and Redress, Mwatana
  • Iona Craig Journalist
  • Annabel Symington Yemen Head of Communications, World Food Programme

Key themes: Entrepreneurship and social innovation, Agriculture, Yemen War, Famine & Food insecurity, Coffee Culture.

Also available on:

Episode 9: (Special edition episode with The Elders)
Global Governance: Former World Leaders on Collective Responsibility, The Future of Multilateralism and The United Nations
The United Nations was established 75 years ago in June 1945 out of the ashes of the Second World War. It was set up to prevent global atrocities from happening ever again, yet existential threats still remain.
with Mary Robinson, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Hazami Barmada.

In this episode, two former world leaders discuss multilateralism and why effective global partnerships are the best defense against existential threats, including the pandemic that we are facing today. We unpack the reasons for the diminishing levels of trust in public leadership and the paralysis that some believe is affecting the UN's ability to respond effectively to COVID-19 and other global threats. Why is an effective multilateral system and principled leadership the world's best defence against existential threats from pandemics to climate change; from cyberattacks to war? Is the United Nations Security Council effective? What does collective responsibility look like?

In this episode:
  • Mary Robinson Former President of Ireland; Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of The Elders
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland Former Prime Minister of Norway; Former Director General of World Health Organization
  • Hazami Barmada Host & Executive Producer, Finding Humanity Podcast; Founder, Humanity Lab Foundation

Key themes: International affairs, multilateralism, the United Nations, UN Security Council, COVID-19 global response, and how to curb existential threats including climate change and the threat of nuclear war.

Also available on:

Episode 8:
We Are Just Like You: Nujeen Mustafa on Disability and Difference While Fleeing Syria's War
Born to a Kurdish family, Nujeen was an earnest young woman who loved football and enriched her mind through documentaries. But unlike most teens her age, she didn't go to school because of her disability.
with Nujeen Mustafa, Boram Lee and Dr. Steven Heydemann.

In spite of the cards she was dealt, Nujeen was defiant and fought for a better future — eventually going on a 3,500 mile journey to escape the war in Syria on a wheelchair. In this episode, we'll hear about how Nujeen resettled as a student and activist in Germany, gaining global visibility as one BBC's 100 most influential and inspiring women for her refugee rights and disabilities advocacy. Through her story, we explore the migration of communities impacted by war and turmoil, as well as the grit needed to start a life in a new culture and community.

In this episode:
  • Nujeen Mustafa Disability and Refugee Rights Activist; BBC's 100 Women 2018
Expert voices:
  • Boram Lee Disability advisor from the Women's Refugee Commission
  • Dr. Steven Heydemann Director of Middle East Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

Key themes: War in Syria, Disabilities, Humanitarian Action, Refugees, Migration.

Also available on:

Episode 7: (Special edition episode with The Elders)
Women On The Frontlines: Ireland and Africa's First Female Heads of State on Empathetic Leadership, Feminism & Global Development
As of today, less than 6% of the heads of government globally are women. Yet, as we look at how the world is fairing with the immediate COVID-19 response, we recognize the power of feminist leadership, and acknowledge the need for more of it. Through leadership lessons from Africa and Ireland's first female heads of states, we will unpack ‘feminist leadership', look at the critical role of women in policy making, and attempt to understand the challenges women face in the fight to create a more equitable and just world.
with Mary Robinson, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Hazami Barmada.

How has the urgency of action needed for the Covid-19 response impacted our ability to focus on the climate agenda and development in the African context? How do female leaders deal with the demands of pressing global issues? Does women's leadership differ from leadership of male leaders?

In this episode:
  • Mary Robinson Former President of Ireland; Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of The Elders
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Former President of Liberia and Africa's first elected female head of state; Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Hazami Barmada Host & Executive Producer, Finding Humanity Podcast; Founder, Humanity Lab Foundation

Key themes: Women's leadership, women in policy making, feminism, COVID-19 response, and the progress of development in Africa and on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Also available on:

Episode 6:
Holding onto the Mangroves: Marinel Ubaldo on Climate Justice After Philippines' Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, robbed Marinel Ubaldo of her childhood and took away her family's means to live. Marinel struggled to finish high school because her father, a fisherman, could no longer provide for his family. Marinel's vulnerability, however, became her greatest strength. She found her voice in global climate activism. Now in her 20s, Marinel shares her story of resilience and even got involved in the world's first human rights investigation into corporate responsibility for climate change.
with Marinel Ubaldo, Shyla Raghav and May Boeve.

In this episode, we talk about key concepts and the impact of climate change on natural disasters, the responsibility of fossil fuel companies and what each of us can do to save our planet.

In this episode:
  • Marinel Ubaldo Founder, Youth Leaders for Environmental Action Federation
Expert voices:
  • Shyla Raghav Vice President of Climate Change and Global Strategy at Conservation International
  • May Boeve Executive Director of 350.org

Key themes: Climate Change, Youth Activism, Climate Action.

Also available on:

Episode 5: (Special edition episode with The Elders)
Existential Threats: Former Presidents on COVID-19, Justice, War and the Climate Crisis
Over 70 million people in the world today are forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, violence, human rights violations, or climate disaster. The injustices of conflict and the climate crisis hit the most vulnerable hardest - and COVID19 could make such catastrophes even worse.
with Mary Robinson, Juan Manuel Santos and Hazami Barmada

In this episode, two former presidents discuss conflict, climate, and the search for justice in the time of coronavirus. We will unpack ethics in times of war, the role of women in peace building, and what can be done to ensure vulnerable populations are not disproportionately impacted by disasters.

In this episode:
  • Mary Robinson Former President of Ireland; Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of The Elders
  • Juan Manuel Santos Former President of Colombia; Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Hazami Barmada Founder & CEO, Humanity Lab Foundation

Key themes: Ethics and war, the role of women in peace building, how to ensure vulnerable populations are not disproportionately impacted by disasters and covid-19.

Also available on:

Episode 4:
Always a Girl: Abby Stein on Gender Identity and Belonging Inside Brooklyn's Hasidic Community
Until she was about 20 years old, Abby Stein didn't know the term "transgender", let alone know that other transgender people existed. In this episode, we dive in the life of Abby Stein, a transgender author, activist and former rabbi. Abby takes listeners into her home in a conservative Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York. Engaged by the age of 18 to a woman she barely knew, Abby's raw and impassioned account helps us understand the complexity of living as one's authentic self.
with Abby Stein, Idit Klein and Zhan Chiam

In this episode we discuss LGBTQ+ advocacy, human rights abuses and violations based on sexual orientation, and the importance of asking questions and creating spaces to discuss diversity and inclusion.

In this episode:
  • Abby Stein Award-winning transgender rabbi, activist, speaker, and author
Expert voices:
  • Idit Klein President & CEO, Keshet, a national organization for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life
  • Zhan Chiam Coordinator of the Gender Identity and Gender Expression Programme At at ILGA World (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Key themes: The episode dives into topics including LGBTQI rights, human rights, gender quality, hate crimes

Also available on:

Episode 3: (Special edition episode with The Elders)
Leaving No One Behind: Former UN High Commissioners For Human Rights Discuss Shared Humanity, Ethics and COVID-19
COVID-19 has unearthed a global recognition that "we must do things differently." The uncertainty has called into question our shared vulnerabilities and shared humanity. What progress have we made on global human rights? What lessons can history teach us about our failure to prioritize human rights in moments of crisis?
with Mary Robinson, Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein and Hazami Barmada

In this episode, we'll discuss justice, intersectionality and the COVID-19 response with two leaders at the forefront of defending human rights. We explore our responsibility toward the world's most vulnerable populations and how to ensure the COVID-19 response does not set back human rights trends globally.

In this episode:
  • Mary Robinson Former President of Ireland; former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of The Elders
  • Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Hazami Barmada Founder & CEO, Humanity Lab Foundation

Key themes: The episode dives into topics including Human Rights, Ethical Leadership & COVID 19.

Also available on:

Episode 2:
Life of a Child Soldier: Loung Ung on Turning Trauma into Activism After Cambodia's Genocide
There's one day that is remembered across Cambodia — a tragedy that continues to haunt people like Loung Ung. The genocide that began on April 17, 1975, in the city of Phnom Penh, left agonizing wounds that the promise of a new life couldn't fully heal.
with Loung Ung, Ben Kiernan and Brad Adams

We follow the story of Loung Ung, a human rights activist and author of the best-selling book "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers," which decades later was turned into a film by actor and filmmaker Angelina Jolie.

In this episode, Loung recounts her harrowing escape from terror and political instability as a child soldier, and how ultimately turned her trauma into activism.

In this episode:
  • Loung Ung Author, Activist, Spokeswoman for the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World
Expert voices:
  • Ben Kiernan Founding Director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale
  • Brad Adams Executive Director of Humans Rights Watch Asia Division

Key themes: The episode dives into topics including forced displacement, war in Vietnam, crimes against humanity, and activism.

Also available on:

Episode 1:
Path to Peace: Victor Ochen on Facing the Lord's Resistance Army and Rebuilding Lives Post-Conflict
A childhood shaped by one of the most cruel rebel groups in history. Rape, killings and an abducted brother who was never found. If these defined decades of your life, the last thing you would want to talk about is peace — unless you are Victor Ochen.
with Victor Ochen, Kristof Titeca and Sasha Lezhnev

Our first episode takes us to Uganda, which has been plagued by civil unrest and rebellion since the 1980s. We dive into Victor's life, a young man, wise beyond his years, who refused to be enlisted as a child soldier. Growing up in between refugee camps, Victor was forced to confront his inner demons for survival, and won. Victor was hailed a hero for peace in his country, becoming the youngest ever African nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

The episode dives into topics including genocide, mass atrocities, child soldiers, peace and reconciliation.

In this episode:
  • Victor Ochen Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Founder and Executive Director for African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Justice
Expert voices:
  • Kristof Titeca PhD Professor of International Development at the University of Antwerp
  • Sasha Lezhnev Deputy Director of Policy at Enough Project, a nonprofit organization aimed at countering genocide and crimes against humanity

Key themes: The episode dives into topics including genocide, mass atrocities, child soldiers, peace and reconciliation.

Also available on:

More episodes coming soon Sign up to the newsletter to receive a message when new episodes are live. Sign up to the newsletter

The Podcast

Through real-life stories of courage and purpose, Finding Humanity takes listeners into the heart of the most complex social and political issues facing our world. By bringing you voices from the front lines of war and injustice, host Hazami Barmada peels back the layers that surround today's massive challenges.

Each episode puts a human face on a global topic that is overwhelming and difficult to grasp— be it the refugee crisis, climate change, or LGBTQ discrimination. While set in unfamiliar places, Finding Humanity tackles recognizable themes: love of family, finding hope, and overcoming personal struggles. Our podcast weaves insights from human rights and development experts at the United Nations and leading institutions, while providing listeners with tangible steps to make a difference.

Finding Humanity is a joint production of the Humanity Lab Foundation and Hueman Group Media. Our inaugural season is made possible in part by our collaborating partner, The Elders.

Finding Humanity inspires the activist in each of us, to create a better tomorrow, today.

About us

Humanity Lab Foundation
About Humanity Lab Foundation

The Humanity Lab Foundation is an innovative non-profit movement-building organization that harnesses the power of empathy and people to drive social change. The Humanity Lab works to realize the untapped capacity and passion of every-day people to be partners in solving complex global issues. Through the 3 pillars of it's work (creative, education, engagement), the Humanity Lab aims to disrupt the status quo in global development to catalyze sustainable change.

By leveraging technology, in partnership with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Humanity Lab hosted the first ever virtual Summit during the United Nations General Assembly (Global People's Summit) with the mission of "democratizing access to convesations that shape the world".


Hueman Group Media
About Hueman Group Media

Hueman Group Media ("HGM") is an award-winning podcast company for social change. HGM produces impactful and high-caliber podcasts for leading nonprofit organizations, purpose-driven companies and thought leaders, amplifying conversations around today's most important causes and issues — including gender inequality, climate change and mental health. HGM podcasts cater to diverse, socially conscious and deeply curious audiences. With the power of storytelling and riveting conversations, HGM activates listeners to take action and make a positive impact in their communities.


The Elders
About The Elders

Founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights. Currently chaired by Mary Robinson, a former President of Ireland and UN Human Rights Commissioner, their vision is of a world where people live in peace, conscious of their common humanity and their shared responsibilities for each other, for the planet and for future generations.

They work both publicly and through private diplomacy to engage with global leaders and civil society at all levels to resolve conflict and address its root causes, to challenge injustice, and to promote ethical leadership and good governance. Their key areas of work include Climate Change, Nuclear Non-Proliferation & Disarmament, Conflict, Universal Health Coverage, Access to Justice and Refugee & Migration.


Hazami Barmada
About Host

Hazami Barmada is a thought-leader, seasoned global strategy consultant, social innovator, and international public speaker. Hazami advises governments, businesses and organizations on design and implement effective social impact strategy, public-private partnerships, public affairs strategy. Prior to founding the Humanity Lab Foundation, she held several positions at the United Nations, including the Coordinator for the United Nations Secretary General's World Humanitarian Summit, global engagement and communications head for the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, and innovation advisor to United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Hazami has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University where she was also a Fellow in Public Policy and Management at The Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a Presidential Leadership Scholar and was described in Forbes as an "inspirational change agent".

How This Woman Is Mobilizing Millions Of Global Change Makers

Support us

Help us inspire the activist in each of us, to create a better tomorrow, today! Every contribution helps!

Support the podcast on Give Lively


Please reach out to us if you want to get involved, to support the project, for sponsorship, advertising opportunities or guest pitches.

Send us an email Download the press release You can also find us on: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter