Mrs. Nadwa Qaragholi

Mrs. Nadwa Qaragholi - Iraq

Humanitarian and Civic Services - 2013

Nadwa Qaragholi is the founder and president of Living Light International (LLI), a non-profit organization with the mission of providing medical support and education to nurture and empower Iraqi orphans and vulnerable children to become productive and emphatic world citizens. She founded LLI as a tribute to her father who had lost his own father at an early age, and to focus her grief to benefit others.

Since LLI’s inception, Qaragholi has dedicated her life to help the children of Iraq, specifically those tested by challenging misfortunes, wars, poverty and lack of education and parental guidance. She succeeded through LLI’s social and medical projects, as well as computer classes, photography, healing through the arts, etc. She has recently completed the production of a short musical film, "I am the Hope",  performed by orphans and children living in dumpsites to draw attention to their unfortunate situation and the environmental disaster unfolding in Iraq, as well as building their self-esteem through the arts. 

On the medical end, LLI’s goal has been to provide specialized pediatric know-how and delivery of hundreds of life saving pediatric cardiac surgical missions, saving in excess of 600 children to date.

LLI was founded on the principle of zero financial contribution and is solely based on volunteers and service providers. This is how Qaragholi has ensured that LLI’s mission is achieved without incurring overheads and, more importantly, without being mired inprevalent corruption in Iraq. As a result, LLI has gained the reputation and respect to achieve its goals. 

Nadwa Qaragholi’s professional background is in real estate development, interior design and fine arts.  She is Vice President of CCC, a real estate development company based in Washington, D.C.; co-owner of Solemar Interiors, an international interior design and architecture firm; and owner of M.A.C. Company for general trade and construction. Along with her various business ventures, she independently pursued philanthropic initiatives, including two community service projects that she both founded and funded in Northeast Washington, D.C. - one for recovering drug addicts and the other for residents of a "half-way" house.  The goal of both projects is to give individuals the opportunity to build a new life for themselves and their families.

Qaragholi was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. She studied both at the University of Baghdad and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.  She holds a Bachelor Degree in English Literature and a Post-Graduate Degree in Library Science.  In 1980, Qaragholi left her native Iraq to live in London and the United States where she pursued her education in Interior Design at Santa Monica College and UCLA. She finally settled in Washington D.C. where she worked on large-scale development projects, including multi-million dollar high-rise buildings, supervising all stages of design and construction. 

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