President, World Uyghur Congress
Rebiya Kadeer was born in 1947 in China. Married twice and the mother of 11 children, Ms. Kadeer is one of China's most prominent advocators for the rights of women and the Uyghur community, a Muslim-majority ethnic group in China. She is the president of the World Uyghur Congress, which represents the Uyghur community in exile. As a laundress, Ms. Kadeer founded and directed a large trading company in Xinjiang. She used her resources to provide fellow Uyghurs with training and employment. In 1999 she was arrested by the Chinese government on charges of "providing secret information to foreigners." Before her arrest, Ms. Kadeer was running the program "1,000 Families Mother's Project," which helped Uyghur women start businesses. After spending five years in prison, Ms. Kadeer was released. She currently resides in Virginia, USA.