Shazia Z. Rafi

I am a leader with over twenty-five years experience in diplomacy and international relations, working to build a more representative, accountable and effective international political system.


Shazia Z. Rafi is the Managing Director, Global Parliamentary Services, LLC. Ms. Rafi also the UN Representative for the All Pakistan Women’s Association, the oldest and largest women’s organization in the country.

From 1996 to 2013, she was the Secretary-General of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). PGA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of elected legislators from over 100 countries that leverages parliamentary processes to promote peace, international law, gender equality and reproductive health. PGA was founded in Washington D.C. in 1978 with a focus on nuclear non-proliferation and negotiation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Under Shazia Z. Rafi’s leadership, PGA has successfully promoted the Rome Statute  establishing the International Criminal Court; played a critical role in the passage of the Arms Trade Treaty to regulate conventional weapons trade; built international consensus for progressive legislation on gender equality and reproductive health at the Cairo Conference and the Beijing Conference; clean air/clean water legislation focused on urban environmental health and mediated in conflict zones from Azerbaijan to Cote d’Ivoire and Haiti.

Shazia Z. Rafi has been PGA’s first female Secretary-General, the first Secretary-General from the developing world and from an Islamic country, and the organization’s longest-serving chief executive. Under her tenure, PGA has been transformed from an organization facing bankruptcy to a stable, growing and influential player in the worlds of diplomacy, international law and development; with established relations with the United Nations system, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and leading International NGOs.

Ms. Rafi joined Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) in 1993 as Director, Democracy and Development Programs. She was appointed Deputy Secretary-General in June 1995 and Secretary General in June 1996. At PGA, Ms. Rafi has developed projects on the Role of Parliamentarians in Conflict Management and Political mediation; the Role of Parliamentary Committees in Rule of Law and Good Governance; the Role of Parliamentary Leadership in gender equality and women’s empowerment; and the Role of Foreign Aid Committees of Donor parliaments in Development Assistance. Ms. Rafi has published as a journalist in Ms. Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Daily News,, and Pakistani publications.

Prior to joining PGA, Ms. Rafi served for five years as the United Nations Representative for the All Pakistan Women’s Association, as a consultant to the UN Center for Transnational Corporations and the Women’s Action Alliance.

Ms. Rafi has a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (1983) and she graduated Magna cum Laude from Bryn Mawr College (1979) in Political Science, with junior year in International Relations from the London School of Economics. She is bilingual in English, Urdu; proficient in French, Hindi and Punjabi.

Ms. Rafi has been appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to serve on the Advisory Board of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), in an individual capacity, for the period of 2012 – 2013. She also serves as founding Board member WomanSG, inaugural advisory board member for the Asian Women’s University, Malaysia; Senior Advisor, Transparency International Defense and Security Program. and advisor/annual speaker to Women in Public Service Summer Institute of the Wilson Center, Washington D.C.