Cara Elizabeth Yar Khan, born in India and raised in Canada, began her international career in 2001 Quito, Ecuador in with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) during which time she also served on the Board of the Canadian Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce. Cara’s international career then reached into the private sector for three years as a senior manager of corporate communications and government relations for Dell Inc. in Panama and then as a private consultant in China.
In 2007 Cara joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Angola as a Fundraising Officer who specialized in working with the Extractive Industries. Cara’s experience with multi-million corporate partnerships led to a year with UNICEF China to support the Sichuan Earthquake Emergency Response, followed by UNICEF assignments in Madagascar, Mozambique, Thailand and finally Haiti where she served as the Resource Mobilization Specialist and Disability Focal Point for two years after the devastating 2010 Earthquake.
In 2013 Cara moved to the USA as a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist spending most of her time as a spokesperson and international program advisor to the US Fund for UNICEF. Today Cara is the founder of her own consulting firm that serves local and international charities and corporations striving for sustainable and impactful social responsibility.
With a B.A. in International Development from the University of Guelph, Canada and a Masters in International Public Policy (MIPP) from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Bologna, Italy, Cara is also accomplished in languages, fluent in Spanish and working knowledge of French, Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese.
Porsche North America and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, awarded Cara the 2015 Driving Force Award which recognizes women who exemplify the spirit of activism and community engagement at the local and/ or global level.
Cara was most recently honored by Atlanta Magazine, as a 2018 Women Making a Mark honoree for her contributions to making a difference in the community and moving the great city forward!
To build a lasting legacy to make a difference in the world Cara, in April 2018, traveled 200 miles through Grand Canyon, 4 days on horseback ride, on a wild Mustang no less, and another 8 days on raft through one of the most remote places in the world to create the documentary film “HIBM: Her Inescapable Brave Mission”.
The Driving Force Award is presented by Porsche of North America in collaboration with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, to recognize women who exemplify the spirit of activism and community engagement at the local and/ or global level.
In today’s conversation, we dive into Cara’s extraordinary life to date. We explore how being of service became her driving purpose, and how her condition at once changed everything, but also changed nothing. And we talk about the critical difference between struggle and suffering, and how choice dances between the two.
After 13 years working for the United Nations and UNICEF as a spokesperson for children with disabilities in nine countries, Cara Elizabeth Yar Khan was forced to leave the field due to the deterioration of her rare and progressive muscle wasting disease HIBM. Watch Cara tell her story in this MSNBC feature.