Nina Smart / USA

Dr. Nina Smart is a human rights activist, sociologist, and author who educates people about female genital mutilation (FGM) and works to eradicate the practice in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Dr. Smart’s passion for human rights, her academic expertise and unique biography, places her inside and outside of Sierra Leonean culture, allowing her to make important inroads in Sierra Leone. In 2004, Dr. Smart founded Servicing Wild Flowers –SWF International, a Los Angeles based non-profit NGO that raises awareness about FGM through lectures and presentations for students and socially conscious groups. She works directly in rural areas of Sierra Leone, together with SWF partners, who facilitate community meetings, operate the only safe house for FGM survivors and educate women and children about human rights. Her organization supports projects that protect girls and women from FGM. SWF also provided assistance during the Ebola crisis.

Women Empowerment Initiative at the University of California, Irvine, where she completed her doctoral studies, launched her memoir, Wild Flower – the True Story of a Romanian Girl in Africa, in November 2014. Dr. Smart’s book is used at numerous Universities across the US to teach courses in the social sciences, peace and conflict studies, literary composition, media, law and society, education and women’s studies.

Dr. Smart straddles many cultures—Romanian, American, West African, academia and activism. She has built bridges between these worlds and through her tireless efforts is educating people, unveiling the systemic causes of FGM in Sierra Leone, and is creating a safer space for women in the communities she works and lives in.

A proud Soroptimist and enthusiastic volunteer in both African and Romanian communities, Dr. Nina Smart was chosen as 2016 ‘Woman of the Year’ for her non-profit work by Senator Mendoza of California and honored by the United States Congress. In 2018, the City of Downey recognized Dr. Smart’s contributions by presenting her with the Coordinating Council Volunteer Award. Dr. Smart inspires and moves others to action by offering opportunities to collaborate on effective solutions to end FGM in a non-violent way.
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