Shadia Marhaban came to the US as a political refugee in 2003, having worked as a journalist and an interpreter for foreign journalists in Aceh until fleeing the country. She graduated from University in Jakarta with a degree in Political Science.
Ms. Marhaban has been involved with SIRA (Central Information for Referendum in Aceh) since 1999. She organized a peaceful mass rally in Banda Aceh in 1999 where 2 million people demanded a referendum with Chairman Muhammad Nazar (currently in prison in East Java). She is involved in Humanitarian Pause, the first peace movement in Aceh representing women activists from civil society. She acts as a media representative for the people of Aceh through her involvement in another peace movement, Moratorium on Dialogue.
Ms. Marhaban works with the Srikandi Foundation distributing aid to the refugee camps in Aceh that resulted from the brutality of the Indonesian military during 2000-2001. She is currently on a speaking tour throughout the United States, Europe and Australia organized by TAPOL, Amnesty International, ETAN and SIRA International Network.