#143: Escape from Iraq- The True Story of Awfa Mustafa


Awfa Mustafa is the Founder and CEO of Najahi Events. For the first time ever, Awfa shares the incredible story of her escape from Iraq and how it turned her into the leader and business woman she is today. She details the incredible strength of her father and how his integrity led her to take risks to escape Iraq and begin a life dedicated to her family and those around her.

Awfa’s inspiring story explains why she is so dedicated to providing accessible education to the world. In todays episode, she discusses her family’s story, her business journey and Najahi’s online learning platform IKew.

Show Notes

Awfa joins the show by discussing her name and its meaning. [0:51]

Starting and running an events business is discussed. [2:22]

The first few events that were held by Najahi Events are detailed. [7:00]

Awfa discusses the people that they have had speak at their events [10:56]

The goal of the events, which is to educate individuals, is touched on. [12:56]

Awfa begins the story of her childhood and life in Iraq. [11:42]

The story of Awfa’s father is told. [16:50]

Awfa discusses her work for the United Nations, being told to spy for the Iraqi Government and obtaining an American Visa. [21:21]

After escaping to America, Awfa describes what happened to her family. [29:26]

Awfa’s move to Jordan, after escaping to America, is explored. [31:38]

The moment in her career when Awfa started her journey as a leader is explained. [35:25]

After the Iraqi Regime collapse in 2003, Awfa takes the journey to see her family and gains a new perspective. [39:17]

Awfa recalls when her father passed away and the beginning of a new journey in her life. [45:37]

The mindset and paths of successful individuals are touched on. [54:06]

The new online learning platform, IKew, and plans for the future are described. [59:59]


“It was foolish, you know when Steve Jobs says ‘stay foolish, stay hungry’. There was no business plan.” [5:41- 5:47]

“They pulled him off the stage, into a prison, into a dungeon and tortured him until he lost his memory and could not talk at all, he couldn’t write his name. I was in Uni that day, and then I was kicked out and I came home, everything was gone. They had taken everything.” [17:46-18:07]

“Until the Iraqi people came back to me and they said you know what we want you to be a spy – I don’t want to be a spy.” [22:43- 22:52]

“For the first time he talked and he said to me, in Arabic of course: ‘You made me proud, you did the right thing and I’ll go to jail for you for a thousand days.’ You made me proud, till now I had never heard that, and then he told me never ever come back, as long as I’m alive never put your foot back in Iraq and I didn’t.” [30:09-30:37]

“I love growing, I love growth, I love learning, and I want to make it accessible. Really, I genuinely do want to make options and learning accessible, something that I never had and had to seek.” [52:53- 53:14]

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