Yazda USA


Yazda Mission in Lincoln, Nebraska

Yazda-Lincoln is a US-based, sub-branch led by four co-founders and board members along with ten volunteer staff. Yazda’s Lincoln branch is responsible for advocacy work in the local community and across the nation,. Yazda is in the process of opening a Yazidi cultural center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Through federal grants and private donations, Yazda’s team is establishing projects in the local community by providing cultural classes and English as a second language (ESL) classes to those who have recently arrived in the US.

Yazda is partnering with existing agencies and organizations to expand on its local work. Currently, the team is in the process of partnering with Nebraska Historical Museum to take the first step in preserving Yazidi cultural artifacts and traditions by having an exhibit in the museum. In addition, the team plans to provide future activities and events related to the Yazidi culture as a way to introduce their rich culture to the larger Nebraskan community.

Yazda has also been sponsoring Yazidi annual holidays and occasions such as the Yazidi fasting holiday and the Yazidi New Year, among other events. Yazda’s Lincoln team participates in any activities that promote the interests of Yazidis in general. As such, the team has always been part of peaceful local and interstate demonstrations to demand Yazidi rights everywhere in the world.

To get in touch with our US Team, please email us on Jolene@yazda.org 

Yazda Team in USA

Program Manager for the Yazidi Cultural Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Jolene McCulley is currently working on obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Nebraska, and has extensive experience in Non-Profit program management, case-management, grant reporting, and working with refugee resettlement.

Email: Jolene@yazda.org 

Coordinator Assistant

Hatim D Ido is currently enrolled as an undergraduate student for Adult Cardiac and Vascular Sonography program in Bryan college of Health Science in Lincoln, NE. Prior to this, he was an AmeriCorps member with the Non-Profit organization of Center for People in Need, serving as an immigration case worker and social adjustment instructor. Hatim has worked as an interpreter and cultural advisor for the U.S. Army for four years during the Operation of Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2003.

Currently, Hatim is serving as a volunteer coordinator assistant for Yazda, and he has been assisting with English & Arabic translation for Yazda statements and some of Nadia Murad’s speeches. He is currently volunteering in Yazda-Yazidi Cultural Center in Lincoln, NE as Yazda staff member.


Farhan Khanasori, is a volunteer at Yazda and brings attention to the plight of the Yazidis. Farhan completed associate degree in Pharmacy in Iraq and student at Community College in Lincoln, NE. Farhan moved to the United States in 2012 and had three years of experience working with the US Army as interpreter during war in Iraq.

Kurmanji Instructor

Salema Merza, Kurmanji Instructor at the Yazidi Cultural Center in Lincoln. Has a Bachelor’s degree in Scientific math and work experience in a Non-Profit setting. Salema previously worked as an instructor for high school and elementary level children and worked as a social worker with Women that suffered from trauma, and as coordinator and manager program of Jiyan Center.

Khalaf M. Smoqi

Natively from Sinjar. He moved to the United States in 2012. Khalaf worked as a linguist and a cultural advisor for the US armed forces and the Reconstruction Team in Iraq.  Khalaf got involved in the humanitarian and advocacy field after the Islamic State’s genocidal attack against the Yazidis and other minority groups in Iraq in summer of 2014.  Khalaf’s motivation is to reduce the suffering of the genocide victims; raise awareness, bring attention to the plight of the Yazidis and make a positive impact in lives of others through working in a field that aligns with his personal values. Khalaf is seeking an Engineering degree from the University of NebraskaLincoln (UNL).

Media Director

Saad B Murad, Communication Manager. Has a bachelor`s degree in Nursing at the University of Duhok, Iraq Kurdistan Region, Saad worked previously as a journalist and human rights activist in Iraq and he was a member of Iraqi union for journalists. Saad lost his brother and two of his cousins in the attacks against the Yazidi people and became involved in helping the victims with the goal of preventing future genocides against minorities.

Email: saad@yazda.org 


Asinja Badeel is an advisor at Yazda women affairs committee, she has a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and working on her Mat in the University of Houston. Have done many fundraising events to support refugees and minorities. Have a tremendous passion to support Yezidi women who have been subject to a systematic rape. Currently working as a women’s Rights activists and a Case Manager at Humanitarian organizations in Houston.


Advocacy Officer/IT Advisor

Hazim Avdal is a former Yazda full-time volunteer and staff member who served as an IT Specialist for two years in Iraq. After Hazim moved to the United States, he focused on raising awareness about the Yazidi genocide, especially in the city of Chicago where he lives.

Hazim currently attends the University of Chicago where he studies computer science and machine learning.

Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chicagoinc/ct-ent-george-clooney-iraqi-refugee-hazim-avdal-20180212-story.html

Theguardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/10/iraqi-refugee-sponsored-by-clooneys

Email: hazim@uchicago.edu